The "Immortal Regiment" march in Nalchik on May 9, 2018. Photo by Lyudmila Maratova for the "Caucasian Knot"

14 May 2018, 09:20

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 7-13, 2018

Election of Nikol Pashinyan as the Prime Minister of Armenia; bombing of the tomb of Sheikh of Chirkei in Dagestan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 7-13, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Residents of Southern Russia and countries of Southern Caucasus celebrate Victory Day

On May 9, Southern Russia held festive events in honour of the Victory Day, including the "Immortal Regiment" marches. The authorities of Dagestan reported 30,000 participants of the celebration on May 9, while public employees complained of being obliged to take part in official events. In Grozny, the authorities reported 15,000 participants in the "Immortal Regiment" march, and Grozny residents also claimed being forced to participate in it. In Kabardino-Balkaria, the authorities reported 80,000 participants of the "Immortal Regiment" march. In Nalchik, participants in the march reported they voluntarily came to the action and described the fate of their relatives who fought during World War II.

Residents of Southern Caucasus also celebrated the Victory Day. More than 500 people took part in the "Immortal Regiment" march in Baku. The action was also held in three Georgian cities, including Tbilisi, Batumi, and Gori.

Nikol Pashinyan elected Prime Minister of Armenia; a new government formed

On May 8, during the re-voting, Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the "Elk" bloc, was elected the Prime Minister of Armenia. 59 MPs supported him, while 42 voted against him. Nikol Pashinyan announced a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) declared itself an opposition and assured that its delegates would not work at the government to be formed by Nikol Pashinyan. Political analysts believe there is no shortage of candidacies for the Nikol Pashinyan's government.

The new Prime Minister of Armenia started introducing changes from the power block. On May 10, he requested the President to dismiss the heads of the law enforcement bodies. On May 12, President Armen Sargsyan signed decrees to appoint 13 ministers and one deputy prime minister, nominated by Nikol Pashinyan. The formation of the new government in Armenia is completed.

In Ingushetia, case of torture at police station brought to trial

In Ingushetia, an investigation into the case against seven agents of the Centre for Combating Extremism (CCE) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), accused of the murder of detainee Magomed Daliev and the torture of other residents of the republic, has been completed. The greatest number of crimes is attributed to CCE's chief Timur Khamkhoev. Nine residents of Ingushetia and a citizen of Azerbaijan are recognized as victims in the case. The first court session is scheduled for May 18.

Bidzina Ivanishvili returns to politics; mass protests take place in Tbilisi after a special operation

On May 11, participants in the congress of the ruling "Georgian Dream-Democratic Movement" Party elected businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, a founder of the party, to be its chairman. Experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" associate the Bidzina Ivanishvili's return to the post of the chairman with a crisis inside the Party.

Another political event in Georgia was a protest in Tbilisi after a special operation in nightclubs conducted at night on May 12. During the raids, eight people suspected of drug trafficking were detained. At the same night, several hundred Tbilisi residents gathered in front of the Georgian parliament building. The protestors expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the law enforcers conducted the special operation and claimed the force was used against visitors of the nightclubs. The police detained the protesters. On May 12, in Tbilisi, activists demanded the resignation of Giorgi Gakhariya, Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs, and Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia. Besides, the activists also demanded to punish the law enforcers who used force against people at the rally. On May 13, activists launched a new protest action, which ended after the Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs had publicly apologized to the protesters.

In Dagestan, tomb of Sheikh of Chirkei blown up

At night on May 9, in the Dagestani village of Chirkei, a room for ziyarat (worship) was blown up near the tomb of the Sufi Sheikh Said of Chirkei, who was killed in 2012 by a bomb activated by a suicide bomber. Suspects are detained, a source reports. Responsibility for the explosion of the tomb was claimed by the terrorist organization "Islamic State" (IS) banned in Russia. According to the calculations run by the "Caucasian Knot", the explosion became the 14th attack of the IS in Dagestan in 2015, when the information about the first attack was reported. Two attacks occurred in 2018, and both were committed against religious places, and that may prove the militants' desire to sow inter-religious strife in the region. The explosion near the tomb can be provoked by the desire of the militants to prove there is an active combat unit in the republic, analysts note.

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