05 March 2018, 09:10
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 26-March 4
Election of the President of Armenia by delegates to the country's parliament; rallies in Boris Nemtsov's memory in Southern Russia; deaths of 25 people in fire in a narcological dispensary in Baku; special operation against militants; detention of the head for the Derbent District of Dagestan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of February 26-March 4, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Armenian Parliament elects president
Following the secret voting of Armenian MPs, on March 2, Armen Sargsyan, Armenian Ambassador to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, nominated by the ruling coalition, was elected the president of the country by majority vote. Armen Sargsyan was supported by 90 MPs, while 10 other MPs voted against him, and one ballot was declared invalid. MP Artak Zeinalyan, whose candidacy was proposed by the opposition faction "Elk", failed to collect the necessary number of votes to be nominated as a presidential candidate. In connection with the constitutional changes in Armenia, after the expiry of the presidential term of Serzh Sargsyan, the first official of the country will be not the President, but the Prime Minister. The term of the Serzh Sargsyan's presidency expires on April 9, 2018. On the same day, the Parliament will transfer powers to the new President and the Prime Minister and the government will resign. It should be noted that the majority of Yerevan residents interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" on the eve of the presidential election in Armenia were not aware of the fact that they had been deprived of the right to elect the leader of the state and were going to go to vote at the presidential election.
Several cities of Southern Russia host rallies in Boris Nemtsov's memory
On February 27, on the third anniversary of the Boris Nemtsov's murder, activists held rallies in his memory. In particular, two journalists held pickets in Elista. In the centre of Krasnodar, activist Yana Antonova started a picket, but was detained by the police. She told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that the law enforcers refused to explain the reasons for her detention and seized from her two posters with photographs of Boris Nemtsov. The activist was charged with violating the rules of holding a public action. In Sochi, rally in Boris Nemtsov's memory was organized by the local office of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, and it was also attended by members of other parties and social movements. On February 25, many cities of Russia also hosted rallies in memory of Boris Nemtsov. In Moscow, about 30,000 people took part in a march in memory of the oppositionist, and a small rally in the local "Hyde Park" was held in Astrakhan. About fifty people took part in the rally in Boris Nemtsov's memory in Volgograd, and about 100 in the Rostov Region.
In Baku, 25 people perish in fire
On March 2, the fire occurred in the narcological dispensary in the Khatai District of Baku. Initially, the Ministry for Public Health reported victims without specifying their number and evacuation of 30 people from the building. Later, the General Prosecutor's Office, the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Azerbaijan reported that bodies of 25 deceased people were found on the place of the fire. Four persons were hospitalized, and two of them were already discharged from hospitals. The General Prosecutor's Office instituted criminal proceedings. According to the results of the preliminary investigation, the fire occurred because of a malfunction in the building's electrical network. The burned down building was wooden and was not designed for treating people, reported the former head physician of the medical institution. The Azerbaijani Ministry for Public Health promised to put into operation in the near future a new building of the narcological dispensary, the opening of which was announced before the fire.
Special operation against militants, and detention of head for Derbent District of Dagestan
Early in the morning on March 4, the counterterrorist operation (CTO) legal regime was introduced in the Tsumada District in the south-east of Dagestan. Law enforcers reported a search for militants and their accomplices, but refused to disclose other details. According to the calculations run by the "Caucasian Knot", the CTO introduced in the Tsumada District has become the second in Dagestan in early 2018 and the second in the region for 13 months.
On March 2, searches were conducted in the administration for the Derbent District of Dagestan, after which Magomed Djelilov, the head of the Derbent District, was detained. According to the investigators, Magomed Djelilov is suspected of illegal allocation of land plots, and the damage of his activities is estimated at 2.2 million roubles. On March 4, it became known that Magomed Djelilov had been dismissed from the post of the head for the Derbent District of Dagestan and placed under house arrest by the decision of the Soviet District Court of Makhachkala.