25 July 2011, 23:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 18-24
Eviction of South-Ossetian and Abkhazian refugees out of temporary accommodation centres (TACs) in Tbilisi; start of dialogue of Armenian authorities with opposition; attack on Circassian leader Ibragim Yaganov in Kabardino-Balkaria; start of trial on terror act at the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport, – look these and other events in the review of the week of July 18-24, 2011, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Georgia: authorities force out refugees who would not move from Tbilisi to countryside
On July 18, the police used force to evict South-Ossetian and Abkhazian refugees out of Tbilisi TACs, located in the building of the kindergarten No. 204 in micro-district No. 2 of the Varketili District, and in the religious residential school in the Lotkin District.
On the previous day refugees received official notifications about eviction; however, those who lived in the kindergarten in micro-district No. 2 of Varketili, rendered a resistance to the policemen – they barricaded the door, and when after two hours of talks the law enforcement agents broke in the door, the refugees poured gasoline on policemen; the latter used fire extinguishers; so, nobody was injured. According to refugees, at the same time the policemen used tear gas. Thus, the authorities have fulfilled their threats to forcibly evict refugees in case of their resistance.
On July 22 at the US Embassy in Georgia a rally in support of the evicted refugees was held; the participants of the rally appealed to the investors and the US Ambassador to assist in purchasing the building of the kindergarten and returning it back to the refugees.
According to the Ministry for Refugees' Matters and Accommodation, in 2010 22,000 refugee families in Georgia received their housing facilities: 10,000 persons received their own accommodation in Tbilisi, the rest of them – in the regions of the country. This year, the ministry has planned to build 32 residential blocks in the city of Poti, 10 – in Tskhaltubo, 52 – in Batumi; however, refugees are not willing to settle in rural areas where they are offered alternative residential facilities.
Armenia: authorities and opposition start dialogue on elections
On July 18 in Yerevan, the first meeting within the framework of the dialogue of authorities and the opposition was held. No topical issues were discussed, said David Arutyunyan, the member of the working group from the ruling coalition, after the meeting. However, according to David Shakhnazaryan, who represents the oppositional Armenian National Congress (ANC), an agreement was reached that the meetings would discuss any possible issues. Both delegates from the authorities and those from the opposition have indicated the need to continue such meetings. The next meeting is to be held on July 26 at the Reception Hall of the Armenian Government.
On May 31 at a rally, ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the leader of the ANC, announced the readiness of the opposition to start a dialog with the authorities at the level of delegations on the issue of early presidential and parliamentary elections. On June 2 the ANC announced the membership of the delegation for negotiations; on July 9 the parties of the ruling coalition appointed the members of their working group for negotiations with the opposition.
Kabardino-Balkaria: Circassian leader Ibragim Yaganov beaten
On June 19 in the evening, in a street in Nalchik, Ibragim Yaganov, Chairman of the Public Movement "Khase" of Kabardino-Balkaria, was attacked by the unidentified persons. The attackers were armed with iron bars and a pipe. Ibragim Yaganov received brain concussion, an open craneocerebrial injury and bruises. He said that this attack on him and two previous ones (on April 30, 2010, and on December 5, 2009, – note of the "Caucasian Knot") were links of one chain. According to his story, the incidents would not be investigated.
The attack on the Circassian leader caused a violent reaction. The Public Movement "Khase" associated the incident with the activities of its leader on preparation of a large-scale conference on the economic, social and legal problems in Kabardino-Balkaria. The Public Organization "Circassian Congress" is also convinced that the incident was a well-planned action aimed at stopping the public activities of Ibragim Yaganov. The members of the Public Council of the North Caucasus Federal District (NCFD) expressed their indignation with the fact of Yaganov's beating and urged the leader of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR) to take the investigation into the incident under his personal control. Politicians and public figures of Abkhazia have also reproved Yaganov's beating.
The Public Human Rights Centre of Kabardino-Balkaria sent a letter to Oleg Zharikov, Public Prosecutor of the Republic, with a demand to take the investigation into the attack on Ibragim Yaganov under special control and inform the society about the results. Alexandr Khloponin, Plenipotentiary Envoy of Russian President to the NCFD, also intends to personally supervise the investigation.
Moscow: first hearing on terror act at "Domodedovo" Airport
On July 20 the Basmanny Court of Moscow started hearings on the case on the explosion committed on January 24 at the Moscow "Domodedovo" Airport, where 37 persons were killed, making it the deadliest terror act ever at airports around the world. According to investigators, the terror act was committed by a suicide bomber – the 20-year-old Magomed Evloev, a resident of Ali-Yurt village, Nazran District of Ingushetia. Dokku Umarov, the leader of North-Caucasian militants, took responsibility for the terror act.
On July 20 the Court decided to hold the hearings behind closed doors and left the two suspects of the terror act – Ilez and Islam Yandiev – under arrest. On the same day the arrest of Akhmed Evloev was also extended.
According to investigators, Evloev is a relative of the suicide bomber Magomed Evloev, whom Yandiev brothers had met in Moscow and taken to the "Domodedovo" Airport.
On July 21 the Basmanny Court extended the arrest of Bashir Khamkhoev, the fourth figurant in the case. According to official information, he is one of the leaders of the armed underground in the Sunzha District of Ingushetia.