22 October 2018, 20:04

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 15-21, 2018

Fire at the "Electrozinc" plant in Vladikavkaz; resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan; temporary pause in the Magas protest, - see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of October 15-21, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Fire at "Electrozinc" plant in Vladikavkaz

At night on October 21, in Vladikavkaz, a fire started in one of the workshops at the "Electrozinc" metallurgical plant. During extinguishing of the fire, a rescuer from the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) was killed and two of his colleagues were injured. The fire area reached 4500 square meters. The operation of the "Electrozinc" plant was suspended. Local residents expressed their concern about a dark cloud over Vladikavkaz caused by the fire at the "Electrozinc" plant. Social networks disseminated a call to leave the city. Residents of North Ossetia accused the authorities of silencing the problem. A petition has been created on the "change.org" to close the "Electrozinc" plant. MP Dzambolat Tedeev promised to bring the issue concerning the closure of the plant to a parliament session. It should be noted that residents of North Ossetia repeatedly held rallies with the demand to close the plant and claimed the harm for people from the "Electrozinc".

Resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

On October 16, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced his resignation and expressed the confidence that the factions would not interfere with his plans to dissolve the parliament. On the same day, the government of Armenia resigned. Nikol Pashinyan noted that the purpose of the resignation was to bring the "velvet revolution" to the end and transfer power to the people. According to the his plan, President Armen Sargsyan immediately accepts his resignation, then the parliament does not elect a new prime minister within 14 days and is dissolved for holding early elections. Nikol Pashinyan retains the control over the situation in the country, experts believe. The politician has launched the procedure of the early elections, since he is confident in their results, notes political analyst Alexander Markarov. The first round of voting in the elections of the Armenian Prime Minister is scheduled for October 24. It should be noted that on October 16, the Armenian government approved the draft amendments to the Electoral Code of Armenia, and on October 19, it was approved by the parliamentary commission.

Temporary pause in Magas protest

On October 17, in Magas, participants of the rally against the agreement on the new border between Ingushetia with Chechnya held since October 4 decided to interrupt the protest action until October 31 to prepare the World Congress of the Ingush People. However, on October 19, thousands of residents of Ingushetia gathered for a Friday prayer in Magas. The namaz (prayer) united both supporters of the Ingush Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) and the communities which imams were not members of the SAM. Residents of the republic noted such unity as an exceptional case. On October 16, in Pyatigorsk, delegation of the opponents to the border agreement met Alexander Matovnikov, the presidential envoy to the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD). The meeting was interrupted by the initiative of the Ingush delegation after Kremlin representatives announced "nothing could be changed, since the law on the border between the republics had come into force," said Malsag Uzhakhov, a co-organizer of the rally. On October 18, the Ingush Constitutional Court announced that on October 25, it would verify the constitutionality of the law on the border.

Verdict of guilty to Musa Musaev, former Mayor of Makhachkala

On October 15, the Soviet District Court of Makhachkala found Musa Musaev, the former Mayor of the city, guilty of abuse of power and sentenced him to four years of imprisonment. According to prosecutors, by allocating five plots of land, Musa Musaev caused the budget damage amounting to more than 48 million roubles. Earlier, the former Mayor pleaded not guilty, but on October 2, he accepted his guilt. On October 12, Musa Musaev delivered his final speech at the trial and said that he did not do anything intentionally. Users of social networks expressed different opinions concerning the sentence of Musa Musaev. Some users considered the court's decision was too soft, while others treated it as too severe and mentioned the Musa Musaev's good work as the head of the city.

Kuban victims to shooting and bombing at Kerch College

On October 17, a bombing and shooting occurred at the Kerch Polytechnic College. At least 20 people were killed, including students and college workers. More than 50 others were injured. Residents of Kuban were also among them. Nine students from the Krasnodar Territory were injured, and one was killed, reported the authorities. The day of October 19 was declared a day of mourning in the Krasnodar Territory. According to investigators, the attack was arranged by a fourth-year student.

Arrests of current and former Sochi Vice-Mayors in case of bribery

On October 17, law enforcers detained Sergey Yurin, Vice-Mayor of Sochi, and his predecessor Anatoly Rykov, currently the deputy director of the ANO (autonomous non-profit organization) "Rosgonki". Both men were arrested until December 15. The court also arrested other defendants in the case, including Andrei Leventyuk, the former deputy head of the legal department of the Sochi administration, and Alexander Ivanov, the deputy director of the strategic development department of the Sochi administration. According to investigators, in 2010, Anatoly Rykov, the then Vice-Mayor of Sochi, and advocate Alexei Litvinov created a grouping to receive bribes from house constructors in Sochi through intermediaries. According to the police, the grouping included Sergey Yurin, Andrei Leventyuk, Alexander Ivanov, and advocate Nikolai Grebenyuk. The bribes amounted to 145 million roubles.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 22, 2018 at 09:25 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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