20 August 2018, 12:27

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 13-19, 2018

Nomination of candidates for the posts of Dagestani and Ingush leaders; new detention of a top-ranking official in Dagestan; explosion at a mine in the Rostov Region; mass poisoning of children in a health camp in Dagestan; release of oppositionist Ilgar Mamedov from the Azerbaijani prison, ‑ see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 13-19, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Nomination of candidates for posts of Dagestani and Ingush leaders

On August 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted for consideration to the parliaments of Dagestan and Ingushetia the lists of candidates for the posts of leaders in those regions. The number of candidates includes acting Dagestani leader Vladimir Vasiliev and acting Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Evkurov.

In Dagestan, in addition to Vladimir Vasiliev, the People's Assembly is to consider the candidacies of Kamil Davdiev and Makhmud Makhmudov, the deputy chairs of the Dagestan parliament. In Ingushetia, in addition to Yunus-Bek Evkurov, the Russian President submitted for consideration to the People's Assembly the candidacies of Ilyas Bogatyryov, the deputy chair of the Ingush parliamentary committee on health and social policy, and Uruskhan Evloev, a member of the city council of Nazran. In both republics, the elections of regional leaders will take place on the single day of voting on September 9, and the regional leaders will be elected by delegates of the Dagestani and Ingush parliaments. In Dagestan, journalists claimed there would be in fact only one candidate at the election of the republic's leader.

New detention of a top-ranking official in Dagestan

On August 17, Magomed Suleimanov, the chief of the Dagestani Mandatory Health Insurance Fund (MHIF), was detained at the airport of Makhachkala. On August 18, the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) reported that the official was suspected of organizing a criminal community and fraud with insurance payments. During the period from 2010 to 2018, in preliminary agreement with private medical institutions, members of the criminal community embezzled more than 210 million roubles, the investigators believe. On August 19, the court arrested Magomed Suleimanov for two months. Let us remind you that in Dagestan, various criminal cases already involve Magomed Makhachev, the head of the Dagestani bureau of medical and social expertise, Abdusamad Gamidov, the acting Prime Minister of Dagestan, several of his deputies, and former ministers. Sagid Murtazaliev, the former head of the Dagestani branch of the Pension Fund of Russia, was put on the wanted list.

Explosion at a mine in Rostov Region

On August 16, one miner was killed and five others were injured as a result of an explosion at the "Obukhovskaya" mine in the city of Zverevo in the Rostov Region. The operation of the mine was suspended to verify the circumstances of the incident. The Ministry for Public Health reported that two miners stayed in severe condition, and one of them underwent surgery. On August 17, it was reported that coal mining was resumed at the mine, but drilling and blasting operations were stopped. A special commission works at the mine to investigate the reasons of the incident. It should be noted that the explosion of August 16 became the second fatal incident at the mines operated by the Ukrainian "DTEK" energy holding in the Rostov Region. On April 15, in the Krasnosulinsky District, a collapse occurred at the "Dalnyaya" mine, as a result of which a tunneling man was killed.

Mass poisoning of children at a health camp in Dagestan

Starting from August 12, children and employees of the "Spartak" health camp began to enter the Shamil District Hospital with signs of poisoning. On August 13, the district administration reported that 83 children and three employees of the health camp were hospitalized. In total, 115 children stayed at the health camp. According to the preliminary information, the disease was provoked by causative agent of salmonellosis. By August 17, 49 patients stayed at the hospital for inpatient treatment, while the others were discharged. Meanwhile, doctors estimated the health state of the hospitalized persons as satisfactory. According to experts, the poisoning was caused by chicken meat infected with salmonella, which was delivered from the Stavropol Territory, reported the Department for Dagestan of the "Rospotrebnadzor" (Russian Federal Agency for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection). On August 15, Djamaludin Gadjiibragimov, Dagestani Minister for Public Health, dismissed the head physician of the Shamil District Hospital for poor organizational management during an outbreak of infection at the children's health camp.

Release of oppositionist Ilgar Mamedov from Azerbaijani prison

On August 13, in Azerbaijan, the Sheki Court of Appeal replaced the remaining sentence term for Ilgar Mamedov, the leader of the "Republican Alternative Party" (ReAl), with conditional imprisonment. Meanwhile, the Court did not acquit the oppositionist. According to an advocate, the defence intends to file a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court (SC) of Azerbaijan. Ilgar Mamedov himself has stated that he will "continue the political activity for the reign of republican values with even greater force and more confidence." In 2014, the oppositionist was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment on the charge of organizing protests of residents in the city of Ismayilli. On November 16, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found violation of the Ilgar Mamedov's right to a fair trial and obliged the country to pay him compensation in the amount of 10,000 euros. The ECtHR's decision came into force. However, on June 30, at the plenum meeting, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan returned the Ilgar Mamedov's case to the Court of Appeal for consideration. The US, the European Union, and the Council of Europe welcomed the release of Ilgar Mamedov and urged Baku to release all the persons arrested for implementation of fundamental freedoms.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 20, 2018 at 09:15 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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