13 August 2018, 15:24

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 6-12, 2018

Tenth anniversary of Five-Day War; departure of North-Caucasian pilgrims to Hajj – read about these and other event that happened in the Caucasus during the week of August 6-12, 2018, in the review prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Ten years after the start of Five-Day War

August 8 marked 10 years after the start of the Russian special operation of "forcing to peace in the peacekeepers' responsibility zone" – the so-called "Five-Day War". As a result of the 2008 war, about 80,000 residents of Georgian villages in South Ossetia left their homes. 20,000 people are still forced migrants. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), as a result of Georgia's attack, from 300 to 400 civilians of South Ossetia perished. According to official data, the overall Georgian death toll made 397 persons. According to various Russian sources, the losses of Russian militaries in the war made from 48 to 72 people.

On August 26, 2008, Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; after that, Georgia stopped its diplomatic relations with Russia.

European countries and the USA supported the territorial integrity of Georgia and called on Russia to withdraw the recognition of independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The authorities of Georgia and Russia rebuked each other of the start of the warfare. Thus, the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has accused Russia of separating Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In the opinion of Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, the war would not have happened if not for the behaviour of the then (in 2008) Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. In his turn, Mr Saakashvili is sure that the goal of the Russian Federation was "to change the power and liquidate Georgia as a state."

Let us note here that today, 10 years after the war, there is only one independent official document with its analysis – the report of the international commission under the aegis of the European Union (EU). According to the report, "the fights began with a large-scale Georgian operation against the city of Tskhinvali and adjacent territories at night on August 8, 2008, which was preceded by a massive artillery shelling." The report stressed that "all the parties – the Georgian Army, the Russian troops and the South-Ossetian forces – violated the international humanitarian law." Georgian experts have stated that the report left many questions unanswered; and its "diplomatic" nature allows the parties to interpret its conclusions differently.

Successes of athletes from Southern Russia

A number of athletes from Northern Caucasus achieved excellent results at competitions of various levels. Thus, on August 10, Maria Lasitskiene, a high-jumper from Kabardino-Balkaria, won the gold medal in high jump at the track and field athletics championships of Europe. Yulia Efimova, a swimmer and a native of Grozny, became the absolute champion of Europe. At the All-Russian Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships, brothers Zaur and Vitaly Kabaloev from North Ossetia were the winners, same as the wrestlers: Mingiyan Semyonov from Kalmykia; Stepan Maryanyan, a native of the Krasnodar Territory; the Chechen Abuyazid Mangtsigov and Alexander Chekhirkin from Rostov-on-Don. Three gold medals were won by Zaurbek Sidakov and Batyrbek Tsakulov from North Ossetia, and Anzor Khizriev from Chechnya at the recent world championships in free-style wrestling, where seven gold medals were won by Dagestani wrestlers Magomedrasul Idrisov, Magomedrasul Gazimagomedov, Akhmed Gadjimagomedov, Zavur Uguev, Akhmed Chakaev, Dauren Kurugliev and Abdulrashid Sadulaev.

Death of "Rosgvardia" fighters and a foreign tourist in KBR mountains

On August 8, in the Cherek District of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR), as a result of an avalanche on the Mezhergi glacier, four militaries of the "Rosgvardia" (Russian National Guard) perished. Two of them were natives of the Krasnodar Territory, and one lived in Grozny. The casualties had earlier participated in special operations to liquidate militants; and in the mountains they fulfilled some complicated special exercises. Besides, on August 10, a Moscow tourist got lost on Mount Elbrus and fell into a crack in the glacier. Rescuers helped him to descend from the mountain. On August 11, rescuers brought down from Elbrus the body of a tourist from Austria, whose heart stopped, when he was climbing the mountain.

Pilgrims from Northern Caucasus depart for Hajj

First groups of pilgrims from Southern Russia began to leave for their Hajj. On August 7, a group of 174 Chechen Muslims made a flight from Grozny to Medina. On the same day, 200 pilgrims flew from Nalchik to Saudi Arabia. This year, 2600 residents of Chechnya will commit their Hajj, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) has reported. The KBR's quota is about 400 people. Dagestan was granted the largest quota in Northern Caucasus – 9400 people.

Scandal with a kindergarten in Astrakhan

On August 8, a video appeared in social networks with children roped in their beds. Investigators began examining a private kindergarten in Astrakhan. "In the video, kindergarten children lie in their beds, tightly bound with diapers; children are two in a bed," the investigators have stated. The Prosecutor's Office found other violations in the kindergarten and ordered to close it. The married couple who owns the kindergarten is arrested. The kindergarten bosses have linked the scandal with a decrease in prices for services. According to investigators, there were no duly qualified educators and cooks in the kindergarten.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 13, 2018 at 09:03 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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