16 January 2017, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 9-15

Resignation of the head of Adygea Aslan Tkhakushinov; clash in the Chechen village of Tsotsi-Yurt and subsequent special operation; attack on "Caucasian Knot" correspondent in Rostov-on-Don, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of January 9-15, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Interim head appointed in Adygea

On January 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the resignation of the head of Adygea Aslan Tkhakushinov, whose term of office had expired, and appointed Murat Kumpilov as an acting head of the republic. Tkhakushinov headed Adygea since October 2006. Kumpilov was elected the chairman of the parliament of Adygea on October 3, 2016, at the first sitting of the State Council-Khase of the sixth convocation, and earlier was the Prime Minister of Adygea. The head of the republic will be elected by the parliament from among the three candidates, who will be defined by President of Russia. On March 23, 2016, the State Council-Khase of Adygea voted to abolish the direct election of the head of the republic by the population.

Chechnya: in Tsotsi-Yurt, power agents enter clash with militants, and then detain many relatives of killed militants

On January 10, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced the detention in the village of Tsotsi-Yurt of the Kurchaloi District of young people who "had prepared a series of grave crimes." On January 11, an armed clash broke out in the village, in which four suspected militants and two soldiers of the Rosgvardiya were killed. One of the militants escaped; his search was held in the Kurchaloi District, and later – in the Shali District and the city of Argun. Locals reported mass detentions by power agents, comparing it with the "cleansings" of the Second Chechen War. The casualties have been identified; and power agents stated that they had been linked with the "Islamic State" (IS), a terrorist organization, banned in Russia. On January 14, the searched Imran Datsaev was detained in Grozny; and Kadyrov accused him of killing a policeman.

On January 12, in Tsotsi-Yurt, local residents held a rally and demanded to evict the family of one of the detainees, who was a relative of Isa Muskiev, a militant leader, killed in 2006, said a source of the administration of the Kurchaloi District of Chechnya. A new rally took place on January 13; and relatives of the detained suspected militants publicly repented for the actions of young people. As a result, it was decided not to evict relatives, but all the fellow villagers were warned that in future militants' families would be expel from the territory of the republic.

In Georgia, some UNM leaders quit the party and declare idea of new movement

On January 12, the Georgian opposition party "United National Movement" (UNM) was abandoned by 59 members headed by Gigi Bokeriya, David Bakradze and Gigi Ugulava. Thus, there was a final split of the UNM, which was stated by political analysts after on November 30, 2016, the members of the political council of the party refused to elect a new chairman, stating that Mikhail Saakashvili remains the de facto party leader. Those who left the UNM said that they would continue their activities within the "European Georgia" Party. However, as stated by political analysts, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", the separatists' chances to become a significant political force in Georgia are low. They account for 21 out of the 27 seats in the parliament, won by the UNM at the recent Georgian parliamentary elections. On January 13, the MPs, who quitted the UNM, renamed both factions, which they retained in the parliament. The UNM faction was renamed as the "European Georgia", it elected a new chairman; the faction "National Movement – for Georgia's Progress" will now be named as "European Georgia for Better Future". The MPs, who remained in the UNM, intend to create their own faction in the parliament.

Vladislav Ryazantsev, "Caucasian Knot" correspondent, beaten up in Rostov-on-Don

On January 10, at the building of the Rostov regional government, Vladislav Ryazantsev, who cooperates with the "Caucasian Knot", and earlier was the local coordinator of the coalition "Left-Wing Bloc", was beaten up. He was attacked by five men, who were stopped by passers-by. Doctors diagnosed a wrist fracture of the journalist. Ryazantsev did not rule out that the attack could be linked with his oppositional activities, but above all, he associated the incident with his journalistic activities. The responsibility for the attack was taken by the "Russian National Socialists", who said that it was "an educational action" in retaliation for his "active public activities." The police opened a criminal case under the article of "beating" on the fact of the incident.

Baku: after publishing series of journalistic investigations, blogger fined for disobeying police

On January 9, Baku policemen detained Mekhman Guseinov, a blogger and Chairman of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS). His friends have stated, with reference to eyewitnesses, that the detention was in fact kidnapping. On January 10, the Nasimi District Court of Baku fined Guseinov for disobeying the police and released him. Policemen claimed that Guseinov had insulted a man in the street and failed to react to their demands to observe the order. Guseinov himself told about torture at the police station; and the court obliged the prosecutor's office to investigate the beating up of Guseinov after detention, said the advocate Elchin Sadygov. The IRFS has treated the incident with Guseinov as pressure, caused by his journalistic investigations at the villas belonging to ministers and parliamentarians. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has accused the blogger of defaming the police.

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