18 February 2019, 13:01

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 11-17, 2019

Attack on a Kuban journalist; strike of minibus drivers in Makhachkala; completion of the investigation into the "March 1" case and adoption of a new government programme in Armenia; events in Southern Russia on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of February 11-17, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Attack on Kuban journalist

At night on February 16, Dmitry Kosenko, the editor of the Tuapse newspaper "Vash Golos" (Your Voice), was attacked. Two unidentified men waited for the journalist in a park and started beating him. Dmitry Kosenko was hospitalized with bruises and fractures. He associated the incident with his professional activities. The journalist told the "Caucasian Knot" that before the attack in Tuapse he received threats with the demand to stop writing about corruption in the district administration. Dmitry Kosenko sees a motive for his beating in his journalistic investigations undesirable for the authorities. According to the journalist, the incident was captured by CCTV cameras; besides, there were witnesses who saw his beating.

Strike of minibus drivers in Makhachkala

Since early February, Makhachkala hosted a series of protests against an increase in the cost of travelling in local minibuses. The discontent was expressed both by passengers and drivers of minibuses. On February 11, about 200 minibus drivers declared a strike with the same demands. On that day, passengers felt the shortage of urban transport in the city. On February 12, the protest action was stopped after carriers promised to "freeze" prices.

Completion of investigation into "March 1" case and adoption of new government programme in Armenia

On February 15, the Special Investigating Service of Armenia reported the completion of the investigation into the case on riots on March 1-2, 2008 in Yerevan. The charges in the case were brought against Robert Kocharyan, the second President of Armenia, and other officials, including then Defence Minister Seiran Oganyan, CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, and Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan, who held their posts during the events of March 1-2, 2008. All of them are accused of overthrowing or facilitating the overthrow of the constitutional order in the country. Let us remind you that during the riots on March 1-2, ten people were killed in Yerevan. The clashes were provoked by the people's dissatisfaction with the victory of Serzh Sargsyan in the presidential election in Armenia. Then President Robert Kocharyan declared a state of emergency in Armenia. A criminal case against Robert Kocharyan was instituted soon after Nikol Pashinyan had come to power as a result of the victory of the "velvet revolution." Robert Kocharyan is being kept in custody. On February 12, he was also charged with taking bribes on a large scale.

On February 14, the Armenian Parliament approved a programme for development of the country for 2019-2023, worked out by the government of Nikol Pashinyan. 88 MPs voted for the programme, and 40 voted against it. While presenting the programme, the Prime Minister announced the "beginning of the economic revolution to be carried out by the people." According to the Prime Minister, the activities of the Cabinet of Ministers are aimed to create a competitive, export-oriented economy based on high-tech, industrial, and environmental standards. The document is based on the programme prepared by the "My Step" bloc for the parliamentary elections in December 2018, and it involves the creation of an inclusive economy to provide an average GDP growth of 5%. Opposition MPs criticized the programme: they believe it provides no specific measures and, contrary to the Nikol Pashinyan's statements, is not revolutionary.

Events in Southern Russia on occasion of 30th anniversary of withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan

On February 15, Russia marked the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. Regions of Southern Russia hosted rallies and meetings on the above occasion. For example, in the city of Kalach-on-Don, about 200 people gathered for a rally and demanded from the government and the State Duma of Russia to raise pensions for conscripts who served in Afghanistan. On February 15, residents of Volgograd for the first time held the action "Immortal Afghan Regiment": relatives marched with 180 flags of the armed units with photos of soldiers and officers killed in Afghanistan. Cherkessk held a solemn ceremony to open a monument with the names of 42 natives of Karachay-Cherkessia killed in Afghanistan. In Ingushetia, the memory of the soldiers and officers killed in Afghanistan was honoured with a minute of silence, collective prayer, and laying flowers at the Memorial of Memory and Glory in Nazran. On the anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the Stavropol State Museum of Local Lore opened the exhibition "The Territory of the Acts of Bravery: Afghanistan". At rallies and meetings, the authorities reported rendering assistance to participants of the military operation in Afghanistan and promised to continue supporting the soldiers and officers who served in Afghanistan.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 18, 2019 at 09:10 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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