02 November 2009, 15:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 26-November 1

Anniversaries of resonant terror acts; actions in memory of victims of political repressions in regions of Northern and Southern Caucasus; struggle of residents of the capital of North Ossetia for the right to favourable environment; new kidnappings and murders in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan, - look up these and other events in the review of the week of October 26-November 1 in the Caucasian regions prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Farewell to Maksharip Aushev

On October 26, Ingushetia buried its well-known public figure Maksharip Aushev, killed on October 25 in Kabardino-Balkaria.

Human rights activists expressed their extreme concern of Aushev's murder. The Human Rights Watch believes that this murder puts under doubt the competence of the power of President Evkurov, who has failed, for a year in command of Ingushetia, to radically change the situation in the republic.

On October 30, Moscow hosted a press conference with participation of the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Liudmila Alekseeva, assistant of the President of Ingushetia Musa Pliev and the leader of the Ingush opposition Magomed Khazbiev, dedicated to the situations in Ingushetia in the context of Aushev's murder. After the press conference, its participants saw that they were shadowed.

On October 29, Tauzela Dzeitova, the main witness of Maksharip Aushev's murder, who was in his car at the moment of murder, regained consciousness; however, inspectors cannot interrogate her yet.

Anniversaries of resonant terror acts

On October 26, a rally took place in central Moscow in memory of victims of the terror act in the Dubrovka Theatrical Centre. The participants held posters: "Who will respond for the victims, which could be avoided?" and "We don't trust the authorities!" In total, about 30 persons came to the event; half of them were journalists. The participants explained their fewness by the fact that in the morning of the same day a requiem was held near the Dubrovka Theatrical Centre; and there were much more people there.

On October 27, Armenia marked 10 years after the terror act in the parliament, when five terrorists managed to rush into the session hall of the National Assembly and assassinated eight state and political figures.

Day of Political Prisoners: memorial and protest actions

On October 30, the Day of Political Prisoner, events were held in a number of regions of Northern and Southern Caucasus, commemorating the victims of political repressions, and protest rallies against political persecutions.

A protest action took place in the capital of Armenia at the building of the State Office of Public Prosecutor, where the participants demanded to release 17 political prisoners, who are still in custody.

In Abkhazia, according to the annual tradition, on October 30, people recollected the victims of Stalin repressions of the 1930-1940s. According to historians, thousands were repressed in this republic, mainly, intellectuals and the political elite.

The National Museum of Kabardino-Balkaria opened an exhibition dated to the Memorial Day of Victims of Repressions.

In Moscow, on the Day of Political Prisoners, a rally was held in defence of victims of political persecutions in Russia. Despite cold weather, over 200 persons came to take part in the event. The participants demanded an immediate release of the "prisoners of conscience", revision of the cases of all the political prisoners, convicted under the article of "kindling enmity", and cancellation of the article of "extremism". During the action, tickets were sold to the charity concert in support of political prisoners, which took place in the Russian capital on November 1. The "Caucasian Knot" presents a photo report from the rally.

Balkars bring pickets to Moscow

In Moscow, on October 26-29, a series of pickets was held by Balkar nationals, who arrived from Kabardino-Balkaria. The organizers of the pickets wanted to draw the attention of the public in the capital and federal authorities to the failure of their local authorities to enforce the Laws "On Rehabilitation of Repressed Nations" and "On General Principles of Local Self-Government in the Russian Federation".

Young Karachai nationals from Karachai-Circassia took an active part in the pickets. They stated that they were tracing the events in the neighbouring republic with great attention and would not stay aside from the Balkars' problems.

Mass detentions of Georgians in South Ossetia

In the morning on October 26, 16 citizens of Georgia were detained in the Leningor District of South Ossetia. They were accused of illegal crossing the border and illegal felling in the territory of South Ossetia. On October 28, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over to the Swiss embassy, which has a section in defence of Russia's interests, a protest note against detention of 16 Georgians and keeping them in the territory of South Ossetia. Representatives of the European Union joined the negotiations on releasing the Georgians. On October 30, all the 16 detainees were released.

On October 29, the authorities of South Ossetia also released five citizens of Georgia, detained on October 28 in the Karelian District of Georgia. After their release, they had a meeting with Vladimir Vardzelashvili, representative of President of Georgia in Shida Kartli region and told him about their stay in captivity.

Diplomats and experts check Pankisi

On October 29, the villages of the Pankisi Gorge located in the Georgian-Chechen border were visited by officials from the embassies, accredited in Georgia, and representatives of international organizations, experts and journalists. The visit took place in the context of statements of Russian sources about terrorist groupings present in the territory of Georgia. The delegation talked with local residents and inspected some villages of the Pankisi Gorge, including Duisi, Dzhokolo and Zibakhevi. The above statements made by the Russian party were not confirmed in the course of the monitoring.

Vladikavkaz residents are against "Electrozink"

On October 28, over 500 residents of the capital of North Ossetia held a non-authorized rally against pollution of the environment by emissions of the metalworking factory "Electrozink". Young men in gauze masks made a march in silence towards the republic's House of Government and, making a five-minute stop there, moved further along the central avenue of Vladikavkaz.

On the following day, head of the republic Taimuraz Mamsurov severely criticized the operation of the "Electrozink". The President treated the residents' protest as an "absolutely correct reaction." On that very day, October 29, Mr Mamsurov presented the new Director General of the "Electrozink" Pavel Avdeev.

Despite the change of the top management, a group of citizens named "Electrozink. What do we breathe in?" formed in the social Internet-based network "Odnoklassniki.Ru" plans to go on insisting on closing the factory. The group membership grows, exceeding 4000 persons already. The group plans to get registered as a public organization and hold an official rally thereafter.

New kidnappings and murders in Northern Caucasus

On October 29 In Ingushetia, Maskhud Makhloev, 28, a resident of Ordzhonikidzevskaya village, Sunzha District, was kidnapped from his house by unidentified persons. His relatives assert that some unidentified power agencies are involved in the kidnapping.

On October 29, Murad Salikhov, 24, disappeared in the capital of Dagestan. His friend told his wife - Zagra Kazimagomedova - that Murad was talking to him on mobile phone, when suddenly some noise could be heard, and Salikhov cried out into the phone: "Cops are taking me away!." On November 1, Ms Kazimagomedova told the "Caucasian Knot" that Murad was recognized among dead bodies in the city morgue. According to the woman, law enforcers told her that her husband had been found in a blown-up car near Dzhanga village, Karabudakhkent District of Dagestan. Near Murad's mutilate body, bodies of two other men, so far unidentified, were found.

On October 31, in the vicinity of the Chechnya-North Ossetia administrative border power agents killed brothers Adam, Aslan and Usman Shakhbiev. According to law enforcers, they were militants and intended to get away from Russia; and at attempt to check their documents they opened fire on militiamen and tried to disappear but were blocked. According to human rights activists only one of the liquidated Shakhbiev brothers - Adam - was a member of illegal armed formations and rendered resistance to militiamen, while his two brothers had nothing to do with militants and were not armed.

Law enforcement bodies of Chechnya also reported that on October 27 in a forest massif of the Vedeno District of the republic in a special operation Ramzan Dzhavatkhanov, 25, who rendered armed resistance at detention, was liquidated. It was then announced that in the beginning of this year Dzhavatkhanov joined militants and was a member of one of the groupings of the armed underground. However, his relatives and friends deny any sort of his affiliation with militants and report that a couple of days before his murder he had been kidnapped by unidentified persons.

Last week, two new messages on militants' self-explosions arrived from Chechnya. Thus, on October 27, in city centre a militant blew himself up with a grenade at an attempt to detain him. Two militiamen were wounded; and the militant was identified as Ibragim Kasumov. Another member of illegal armed formations, who, according to the militia, had planned a terror act in Grozny, blew himself up at an attempt to detain him on October 29. Nothing was reported about the victims.

On October 31 in Grozny, according to the Chechen militia, Ali Khasanov, Emir of the flatland Chechnya, was assassinated, a close ally of militants' leader Doku Umarov and one of the top commanders in the militants' hierarchy.

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