12 December 2016, 09:10
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of December 5-11
Press conference of rights defenders on force countering discussions of corruption in Chechnya; detention in Ingushetia of a high-ranking police officer; conviction in Azerbaijani of activist of "Nida" movement, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of December 5-11, 2016, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
At press conference in Moscow, rights defenders tell about power agents' counteraction to discussion of corruption in Chechnya
On December 9, Moscow hosted a press conference with the participation of rights defenders and Ramazan Djalaldinov, a resident of the village of Kenkhi, who was persecuted in Chechnya after his video appeal to President Vladimir Putin. The participants said that those who dare talking about corruption in Chechnya put their lives at risk. Elena Milashina, a journalist of the "Novaya Gazeta", expressed her confidence that Djalaldinov is persecuted because of fear before the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. It was also announced that Djalaldinov was preparing an application to the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) about the threats received by him from Chechen power agents, including a high-ranking official of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). Kadyrov and Russian authorities must respond to Djalaldinov's statements about received treats, said the participants of the press conference.
Senior police officer detained in Ingushetia on charges of robbery
On December 7, Ingushetia announced the detention of Timur Khamkhoev, the head of the Centre for Combating Extremism (CCE) under the Ingush MIA. According to the official version, he was involved in a robbery against a citizen of Azerbaijan, who was deprived of his car and telephone and from whom the robbers demanded 800,000 roubles. Five other employees of the CCE figure in the case as suspects. Under Khamkhoev, the CCE has become known because of detainees' complaints about torture; and, according to an unofficial version, Khamkhoev's detention may have to do with the death in June this year of the 50-year-old Magomed Daliev during interrogation. Daliev's relatives had declared that he was tortured.
Activist of Azerbaijani movement "Nida" sentenced to ten years in prison
On December 8, a court in Baku found Bairam Mamedov, an activist of the "Nida" movement, guilty of large-scale illegal drug dealing, and sentenced him to ten years in prison. On May 10, Mamedov and Giyas Ibragimov, a Facebook user (sentenced on October 25 to ten years of imprisonment), were detained in Baku. They argued that they were persecuted for a critical graffiti written by them on the pedestal of the monument to Geidar Aliev. The activists were included into the list of political prisoners, released by Azerbaijani rights defenders on October 17; and the Amnesty International announced both of them as "prisoners of conscience". Ali Kerimli, the leader of the oppositional Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) has treated the above verdicts as "execution." A concern about the conviction of Mamedov and Ibragimov was expressed by the US State Department and the Foreign Service of the European Union.
Resorts of Southern Russia open ski season
Last week, the mountain ski resorts of Southern Russia opened their winter season. Thus, on December 7, in Karachay-Cherkessia, they opened the ski season in the territory of the tourist village of "Lunnaya Polyana" (Moonglade) of the all-season resort "Arkhyz". On the same day, the resort "Gorki Gorod" (Hill City) announced the opening of the ski season at the "Krasnaya Polyana" health resort in Sochi. On December 10, in the Djeirakh District of Ingushetia, the winter tourist season was opened in the only republic's all-season resort "Armkhi". According to Beslan Khamkhoev, the Chairman of the Republic's Committee for Tourism, on the first day the resort was visited by about 500 people.
Servicemen of joint military police detachment sent from Chechnya to Syria
On December 6, a video appeared on the Internet, showing the departure of military policemen to Syria from a suburb of the city of Grozny. The soldiers grouped in their combat gear on the Khankala landing airfield. In Syria, the joint military detachment, composed of servicemen stationed in Chechnya, will perform the functions of military police and guard the Russian Khmeimim Air Base, said a source from the military base in Khankala. A total of 500 servicemen were sent from Chechnya to Syria as members of the joint detachment of military police, a law enforcement source told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
It is noteworthy that back in February, the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov already spoke about the work of Chechen special agents in Syria. According to his version, the commandos were operating in the rear of the terrorist organization "Islamic State" (IS), banned in Russia, by collecting information about the number of terrorists and identifying targets for bombing. Later, the Chechen authorities said that "self-organized groups of young people" were acting in the rear of Syrian militants.
Date of presidential election in South Ossetia announced
On December 8, Deputies of the Parliament of South Ossetia adopted amendments to the law on presidential election, in accordance with which they will be held on April 9, 2017. Anatoly Bibilov, the Speaker of the Parliament and the leader of the largest political party "United Ossetia", has expressed his intention to run for the post. Earlier, the incumbent President Leonid Tibilov, and his predecessor Eduard Kokoity had expressed the same intention.
Krasnodar elects new Mayor
On December 9, the Deputies of the Krasnodar City Duma unanimously elected Evgeny Pervyshov, who since November 14 worked as the Acting Head of the City, to be the Mayor. The contest for the post of the Mayor was announced after the previous Mayor Vladimir Evlanov resigned before term in connection with his election to the Russian State Duma. Mr Pervyshov has stated that the cost-effectiveness, transparency and openness of the Mayoralty's work will be his priorities.