Supporters of Nikol Pashinyan in Republic Square, May 1, 2018. Photo by Tigran Petrosyan for the Caucasian Knot.

07 May 2018, 09:25

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events from April 30 to May 6, 2018

Failed attempt of Nikol Pashinyan to take Armenian Premiership and preparations for a new parliamentary vote on the issue; campaign "He's not our tsar" of Navalny's supporters, and May Day demonstrations in Southern Russia; special operation and an attack on policemen in the Stavropol Territory; European Championships in wrestling in Dagestani Kaspiysk – read about this in the review of the main events in the Caucasus during the week from April 30 to May 6, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Pashinyan nominated for Armenia's Prime Minister for the second time

In Armenia, after the proclamation of the "velvet" revolution by the oppositional leader Nikol Pashinyan, the situation with the country's leader remains uncertain. After Serzh Sargsyan's resignation, Pashinyan was nominated for Premiership, but on May 1 he could not win the required number of MPs' votes. On the same evening, Pashinyan addressed the 200,000-strong rally and announced a "total strike". In the morning on May 2, his supporters blocked the motorways across the country, blocking, among other streets, the road to the Yerevan airport. The railway traffic was paralyzed, and the Yerevan subway was stopped.

In order to get re-nominated for the Prime Minister of Armenia, Pashinyan collected signatures of a third of the Armenian MPs, and on May 3, the factions of the "Elk" Party, "Tsarukyan" bloc and the ARF "Dashaktsutyun" officially re-nominated him for the Premier; he is still the only candidate. The voting will be held on May 8. The ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) assured that its MPs would support Pashinyan at voting. On May 4, Nikol Pashinyan threatened the RPA with new protests and warned his supporters of a possible counter-revolution. Under the street pressure, the RPA agreed to support Nikol Pashinyan, the political analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" believe. It should be noted that should the Premier not be appointed on May 8, the National Assembly (Parliament) will be dissolved, and the RPA will have a chance to preserve its presence there.

Navalny's supporters in Southern Russia support action "He's not our tsar"

On May 5, several cities of Russia, including those in the country's south, hosted actions of supporters of the oppositionist Alexei Navalny "He's not our tsar", on the eve of Putin's inauguration. About a thousand people took part in the action in Krasnodar; and up to 60 of them were detained. According to activists, minors were among the detainees. At a rally in Rostov-on-Don, activists expressed their discontent with blocking the Telegram messenger, supported the direct election of the city head and complained about low salaries. According to organizers, the oppositional rally gathered from 250 and 400 people.

In Astrakhan, the action of Putin's opponents was held at first in the form of a sanctioned rally, and then – as a walk in the direction of the Astrakhan Kremlin. 24 participants of the "walk" were detained, two of them complained about the use of force to them. The rally in Volgograd was, according to organizers, 400 people strong. They spoke in favour of power interchangeability at the federal and regional levels and complained about low living standards in the region. Participants in the oppositional rally in Stavropol expressed their disagreement with the outcomes of the Russian presidential election and expressed distrust of the regional governor Vladimir Vladimirov. In Makhachkala, participants of the opposition action told about the threats to the observers who monitored the presidential election. They demanded to return direct elections of heads of municipalities.

On May Day, residents of Southern Russia tell about problems in the labour market

On May 1, in cities of Southern Russia, various political forces and trade unions organized their actions, where participants told about employment problems and low salaries. Gukovo miners, who use their protest actions to receive wage arrears and their due ration coal, reminded of the unfulfilled authorities' promises. In Volgograd, participants in the May Day demonstration also complained about low wages and unemployment, treating the official celebratory rally as a formality. A local resident, who intended to hold a solo picket demanding the power interchangeability, was detained before the start of the march; he was released when the demonstration was over.

On May Day, residents of Makhachkala demanded to return direct elections and expressed nostalgia for Soviet times, while residents of Grozny treated the May Day rally as another routine event.

Law enforcers report killing of terrorists, who plotted terror acts, and the man, who attacked policemen

On May 4, in Nevinnomyssk, two men were killed in a shootout with security agents, the FSB reported. Law enforcers declared the casualties to be leaders of a religious extremist unit, who had plotted terror acts. According to the FSB, at the shootout venue, a laboratory for making explosives, a homemade bomb, weapons and ammunition were found. As reported by "Kommersant", the killed men were residents of Nevinnomyssk, and the special operation was conducted in the village of Rabochy, Kochubei District. On May 1, another armed incident occurred in another city of the Stavropol Territory – Neftekumsk. A man wounded two policemen with a knife and was shot dead. The responsibility for this attack was claimed by the "Islamic State", a terrorist organization banned in Russia by the court. However, on May 3, the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF), while commenting on the information published in social networks and the media that the killed man had been plotting terror acts, reported that law enforcer and investigators have no such information.

European Wrestling Championships passed in Kaspiysk under enhanced security measures

Last week, the Dagestani city of Kaspiysk hosted the European Championships in wrestling. It started on April 30 and ended on May 6, and passed under enhanced security measures, one of them being the blocking of the Makhachkala-Kaspiysk motorway, local residents reported, adding that it was a serious inconvenience for those who go to work in Kaspiysk. During the tournament, 150 people applied for help to doctors, the Ministry of Public Health of Dagestan reported on May 3, noting that there were no incidents during the championships. Among those injured, there were mostly athletes, but there were also some spectators, the Ministry said, mentioning one heart attack in one of the fans.

As for the outcome, the first place in the team event in Greco-Roman wrestling went to the Russian team, which won seven medals. The winners also include two Armenian wrestlers of the same style – Arthur Alexanyan and Maxim Manukyan. In freestyle wrestling, Russian wrestlers were also in the lead: six of them became champions; two gold medals were won by Azerbaijanis Giorgi Edisherashvili and Gadji Aliev.

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