16 July 2018, 14:59

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 9-15, 2018

Mass riots in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja; resignation of the Mayor in Yerevan; the approval of the new Cabinet of Ministers in Georgia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of July 9-15, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Mass riots in Azerbaijani city of Ganja

On July 10, about 200 people gathered in front of the administration building in Ganja. They demanded to investigate an assassination attempt on Elmar Veliev, the head of the executive power in the city, committed on July 3. The activists also criticized the actions of Elmar Veliev himself, including, in particular, tough measures against his political opponents. The police stopped the action. Two policemen were killed in clashes, and 40 people were detained. Two local residents were put on the wanted list on suspicion of the killing. One of the suspects was detained, and the other was killed during detention. The policemen were killed during the protest action because of social tension in Ganja, one of the Shiite centres, believe the experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot". The experts note that the popularity of religious radicals, who raise social issues, grows amid the struggle of the authorities with secular opposition.

Repeated detention of former Minister for Public Health of Dagestan and sentence of a Makhachkala Mayor's son

In Dagestan, where several top-ranking officials, including Prime Minister Abdusamad Gamidov, have been brought under investigation, law enforcers continue to arrest former members of the government. Tanka Ibragimov, former Minister for Public Health of Dagestan, who was detained on July 7 on suspicion of embezzling funds from the budget and sent under house arrest, was again detained in Makhachkala on July 10. The official is suspected of creating a criminal grouping which stole 115 million roubles in supplying medicines to hospitals in Dagestan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reports. Tanka Ibragimov pleaded not guilty. Journalists believe the persecution of Tanka Ibragimov may be related to the struggle to control the market for the supply of medicines and medical equipment, where the former official and his relatives occupy serious positions. According to the journalists, the Dagestani Ministry for Public Health showed its inefficiency over many years, and Tanka Ibragimov did not differ at the post of the Minister.

On July 9, in Makhachkala, the court found Badrudin Musaev, a son of the former Mayor of Makhachkala, guilty of using violence against a public official and sentenced him to 2.5 years of imprisonment. A case was instituted against Badrudin Musaev after a traffic conflict on May 31, 2016. In September 2017, the Soviet District Court of Makhachkala acquitted the young man, but on January 16, the Supreme Court (SC) of Dagestan cancelled the verdict of acquittal. The son of the official under arrest will be put on the wanted list, a source from the court has reported.

Drought in Southern Russia

Last week, in Southern Russia, several regions have introduced an emergency regime because of a drought. In Astrakhan, the authorities reported that the extremely hot weather destroyed part of the harvest. On July 10, eight districts of Kalmykia introduced an emergency regime. In Adygea, where the emergency regime was introduced on July 13, the hot weather destroyed more than 100 hectares of crops. The Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) reported the extremely hot weather in eight regions of Southern Russia, including the Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Kalmykia, the Astrakhan Region, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and Kabardino-Balkaria. The air temperature above 38°C is dangerous even for healthy people, report medical officers.

Resignation of Yerevan Mayor

On July 9, Taron Margaryan, a member of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), reported leaving the post of the Yerevan Mayor. His resignation was demanded by activists. Protests intensified after the change of power in Armenia, when on May 8, opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan became the Prime Minister and the actual head of the country. On July 12, the Council of Elders of Yerevan scheduled the extraordinary mayoral election on July 16. With the resignation of Taron Margaryan, the RPA lost its control over Yerevan, believe the political analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot".

Approval of new Cabinet of Ministers in Georgia

On July 14, the Georgian Parliament approved the new composition of the government and the programme "Freedom, Rapid Development and Prosperity", presented by Mamuka Bakhtadze, who became the Prime Minister of Georgia on June 20. The government composition was approved amid the criticism voiced by opposition delegates who called the new persons in the government "the people out of place." New ministers are not known to the public and are selected for "comfortable work" of the Prime Minister, believe the political analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot".

"Golden Apricot" Film Festival in Armenia

On July 8-15, Yerevan hosted the 15th "Golden Apricot" International Film Festival, which got more than 600 applications from 83 countries of the world. The film festival programme included 110 films. The film festival supported the GAIFF Pro cinematography development platform to help young film directors from the countries of Southern Caucasus, Iran, and Turkey. The Grand Prix went to the film "Vulcan" shot by Ukrainian film director Roman Bondarchuk. For 15 years, the film festival has been adhering to the motto: "Crossroads of Cultures and Civilizations", emphasizes Armenian film director Arutyun Khachatryan, the founder of the "Golden Apricot" Film Festival. According to him, the film festival has become an important cultural event in the region and occupies a unique place in the world film market.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 15, 2018 at 09:45 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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