15 October 2018, 13:41

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 8-14, 2018

Protest action in Magas organized by opponents of the agreement on borders with Chechnya; special operation in Dagestan; Nikol Pashinyan's announcement of his resignation from the post of the Armenian Prime Minister; inauguration of the Mayor of Yerevan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of October 8-14, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Protest action in Magas against agreement on borders with Chechnya

Over the whole week, Magas, a capital of Ingushetia, hosted a protest rally started on October 4. Participants of the protest action demand the referendum on the border issue and the resignation of Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Evkurov, who signed the agreement with Chechnya. From October 8, the action was sanctioned by the Ingush government to be held in the daytime until October 15. On October 12, the organizers asked to extend the sanction of the rally for other ten days, but the republic's authorities sanctioned it only for two days, until October 17. Since the beginning of mass protests in Ingushetia, the mobile Internet has stopped working, although the neighbouring republics do not experience such problem. In that regard, in Ingushetia, activists announced collecting complaints against telecom operators for their restriction of the access to the Internet in the region.

Specialists in the cartography, who at the request of the "Caucasian Knot" analyzed a new line of the Chechen-Ingush border, came to the conclusion that the statement voiced by the authorities of Ingushetia about the "equal exchange of territories" did not correspond to reality. Ingushetia handed over to Chechnya the territories that were 26 times larger than those got from Chechnya as a result of the agreement on borders.

On October 8, in the presence of Magomed Daudov, Speaker of the Chechen parliament, Ingush activists held talks with Alexander Matovnikov, the plenipotentiary envoy of the Russian President in the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD). The meeting lasted five hours and "was quite fruitful," although at the beginning, the officials "tried to pressure" the Ingush delegation, reported activist Musa Abadiev. According to him, "top-ranking officials promised to prepare and submit before the end of the week an objective report to the President of the Russian Federation on the situation in the republic. On October 10, members of the Ingush parliament attempted to organize the second voting on the ratification of the agreement signed by Yunus-Bek Evkurov. However, out of 17 MPs required for the quorum, only 12 were registered to participate in the parliament session, and no voting took place.

On October 12, a group of Ingush residents sent two administrative claims to the Nazran District Court to challenge the actions of Yunus-Bek Evkurov at the conclusion of the border agreement and the results of the voting in the parliament held on October 4. A similar claim against Yunus-Bek Evkurov had entered the Magas District Court the day before. Besides, the organizing committee of the rally in Magas called on Russian President Putin to cancel the agreement on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya, signed by the leaders of the republics.

In Magas, the very protest action takes place peacefully, without any incidents. On Friday, October 12, residents of Ingushetia came to the place of the protest rally for a prayer. The namaz (prayer) gathered thousands of people.

Special operation in Dagestan

On October 13, a policeman was injured when law enforcers were checking one of the houses in the Endirei village in the Khasavyurt District of Dagestan. The law enforcers cordoned off the house from which the fire came. Two militants were killed during the special operation. According to a source from the law enforcement bodies, the militants who were hiding in the house were suspected members of the so-called "Kizilyurt bandit grouping." They are identified as 19-year-old Dagir Gadjiev and 29-year-old Musa Bilalov, both residents of the village. Already after the completion of the special operation, the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAC) reported that two fighters from the FSB special forces and a fighter of the "Rosgvardia" (National Guard of Russia) were wounded in the shootout in the village of Endirei.

Nikol Pashinyan's announcement of his resignation from post of Armenian Prime Minister

On October 11, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he would resign by October 16 in order to ensure the dissolution of the country's parliament and holding the early parliamentary elections approximately on December 9-10. The Nikol Pashinyan's announcement was preceded by the negotiations, as a result of which at least 55 members of the National Assembly of Armenia, including 16 delegates from the Republican Part of Armenia (RPA), supported the Nikol Pashinyan's intention to hold early parliamentary elections in December. Initially, out of four parties in the parliament, including the RPA, the "Dashnaktsutyun", and the "Prosperous Armenia", delegates of three parties opposed holding of the early elections. The opponents of Nikol Pashinyan decided not to aggravate the political crisis, and that let the Prime Minister of Armenia speed up the preparations for the early parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, Nikol Pashinyan drew a part of the RPA delegates to his side. Thanks to that fact, he will be able to prepare a "technical resignation" without fear that he will not be able to take the post of the Prime Minister again, said the political analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" when commenting on the situation in the country.

Inauguration of new Mayor of Yerevan

On October 10, comedian actor Hayk Marutyan, a protégé of Nikol Pashinyan, officially assumed the post of Yerevan Mayor. Hayk Marutyan got the post of the Mayor as a result of the elections to the Council of Elders in Yerevan, which took place on September 23. The "My Step" bloc, which list was headed by Hayk Marutyan, won the elections. In accordance with the Law "On local self-government in the city of Yerevan", the Mayor of the capital is to be elected by the Council of Elders, and if, following the election results, one of the parties gains more than 50% of the seats, the candidate who heads its list is considered the elected Mayor.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 15, 2018 at 09:00 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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