03 December 2018, 19:46
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 26-December 2, 2018
The second round of presidential election in Georgia; shootout between law enforcers and suspected militants in Kabardino-Balkaria; start of campaign before the parliamentary elections in Armenia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 26-December 2, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Second round of presidential election in Georgia
On November 28, residents of Georgia voted in the second round of the presidential election. The opposition announced large-scale violations, including bribing of voters. The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia reported 307 complaints about violations committed during the election. Salome Zurabishvili, an independent candidate, supported by the ruling "Georgian Dream" Party, won the presidential election. Her rival Grigol Vashadze from the alliance "Strength in Unity" refused to accept her victory and demanded to hold early parliamentary elections. Mikhail Saakashvili, the former president of the country, stated that he "would never recognize the results of the elections" and called on citizens of Georgia to "switch to the position of mass disobedience to the authorities" starting from November 29. However, the Grigol Vashadze's office refused to support the call voiced by Mikhail Saakashvili. On December 2, the alliance "Strength in Unity" held a rally in Tbilisi, at which it proposed to the Georgian authorities to create a working group before December 16 and discuss ways of overcoming the crisis with the opposition. Besides, Grigol Vashadze also said that he was preparing a lawsuit with the demand to recognize the election results as invalid.
Shootout between law enforcers and militants in Kabardino-Balkaria
On November 29, three persons were killed in a shootout with law enforcers in the Maisky District of Kabardino-Balkaria. According to the law enforcement bodies, policemen tried to stop a car and people inside it opened fire. According to the FSB, three religious extremists were killed and another attacker was detained. The killed attackers were residents of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR), and they were plotting attacks on law enforcers and kidnappings, sources reported. The shootout in the Maisky District became the second armed incident in the KBR this year. Meanwhile, the number of incidents in the republic decreased in recent years. In 2015, there were 17 incidents (with 47 killed and one wounded), and in 2016, seven incidents and one terror act (14 people were killed and another was wounded). In 2017, there was one incident with one victim.
Start of a campaign before parliamentary elections in Armenia
On November 26, Armenia launched a campaign before the parliamentary elections to be held on December 9. Nine parties and two blocs applied for participation in the elections. Members of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) have stated they intend to become the "main political force" in the opposition.
In matters of foreign policy, politicians of the party mainly supported balanced relations with Russia, the European Union, and the United States. They also pointed to the need to resolve the Karabakh conflict on the basis of the right of nations to self-determination, and some of the politicians called for the annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Political analysts believe that the majority of the mandates in the new parliament will be gained by the Nikol Pashinyan's "My Step" bloc.
Consideration of issue on Chechen-Ingush border by Constitutional Court of Russia and rally in Nazran
On November 27, in Saint Petersburg, the Constitutional Court of Russia held hearings on the issue of the Chechen-Ingush border. At the hearing, representatives of Ramzan Kadyrov and Yunus-Bek Evkurov voiced a request to recognize the border agreement as complying with the Constitution of Russia. Some Ingush activists were denied entry to the court building. Till present, the chair of the Constitutional Court has not yet announced the date of the verdict. The decision of the Court will create a precedent for verdicts to be pronounced in similar cases, advocates Igor Trunov and Yevgeny Chernousov noted.
Simultaneously with the hearing of the Constitutional Court of Russia, in Nazran, activists held a rally against the agreement on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya. The protesters adopted a resolution with the demands to cancel the border agreement, dismiss Yunus-Bek Evkurov, dissolve the Ingush parliament, and implement the law on the rehabilitation of repressed peoples in its territorial component.
Closure of roads in Southern Russia because of snowfall and blizzards
At the end of the week, heavy snowfall complicated the situation on roads in Southern Russia. On November 30, the motorway from Rostov-on-Don to Stavropol was partially closed. Passengers of a bus on the route from Stavropol to Moscow found themselves among those who had to wait on the way because of the bad weather. In the Krasnodar Territory, traffic on a number of tracks was complicated because of a blizzard. Many cars were blocked: according to the information as of the morning on December 1, there were about 750 of them. Drivers complained that they had to wait for the help of rescuers all night. In Krasnodar, the airport operation was also disrupted.