22 May 2017, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 15-21

Explosion of gas, which destroyed an apartment building in Volgograd; special operation in Dagestan, during which four suspected militants were killed; extradition to Russia of soldier Valery Permyakov, sentenced for the mass murder in Armenia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 15-21, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

In Volgograd, gas explosion destroys house and kills four people

On May 16, in the Sovietsky District of Volgograd, a section of a four-storey apartment building collapsed as a result of an explosion of domestic gas. Four people died, and other 11 were hospitalized. On May 17, Andrei Bocharov, Governor of the Volgograd Region, reported that the house was found unfit for living and would be demolished, and its tenants would be granted certificates for purchasing new housing. The house was built in 1958, and it had 45 apartments, in which 97 people were registered. According to the main version of investigators, the explosion occurred because of damage to a pipeline inflicted as a result of an illegal attempt to connect to the water supply pipeline. The Prosecutor's Office found no signs of negligence of the public services. In the criminal case, law enforcers arrested three suspects, including an owner of a trading pavilion, his father, and a worker, who tried to arrange a connection to the pipeline.

Four suspected militants from "Kadar" militant grouping killed during special operation in Dagestan

On May 18, within the counterterrorist operation (CTO) legal regime introduced in the Buynaksk District of Dagestan on April 20, law enforcers cordoned off a private house in the village of Karamakhi. They offered the armed people inside the house to surrender. However, the suspects opened fire. As a result, four people were killed. At the place of the armed clash, law enforcers discovered weapons, ammunition, and a bomb. One of the killed suspects was identified as Nasu Ataev, the 40-year-old leader of the "Kadar" militant grouping, who was involved in the assassination attempt on the head of the village of Karamakhi in 2015. Three of his subordinates were killed together with him, including Jafar Magomedov, Ibragim Nasuev, and Ibragim Djakhbarov, the "Kommersant" reports with reference to a source from the law enforcement agencies.

Valery Permyakov sentenced for mass murder in Armenia extradited to Russia

On May 17, the Armenian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) agreed to extradite soldier Valery Permyakov, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of seven Avetisyan family members in Gyumri. The Armenian MoJ has announced its consent to extradition after on May 4, the North-Caucasian District Military Court of Russia recognized the sentence of life imprisonment pronounced against Valery Permyakov to be fair and stated that the convict should serve his sentence in his homeland. On May 18, Valery Permyakov was transferred to the Russian side.

In Armenia, new Speaker of Parliament elected and Prime Minister reappointed

On May 18, in Armenia, the Parliament of the 6th convocation elected on the basis of the results of the voting held on April 2 organized its first meeting. However, it was boycotted by members of the "Elk" bloc who entered the hall only after President Serzh Sargsyan left the building of the National Assembly. Ara Babloyan, a candidate from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), was elected the Speaker of the Parliament. On May 19, Eduard Sharmazanov and Arpine Ovannisyan, members of the Republican Party of Armenia, and Mikael Melkumyan, a member of the "Tsarukyan" bloc, were elected the vice-speakers. Meanwhile, the Parliament also made the decision to reduce the number of standing parliamentary commissions from 12 to 9. In particular, the commission for protection of human rights was united with the commission on state and legal issues at the initiative of the RPA, while the "Elk" and "Tsarukyan" blocks voted against. Human rights defenders interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" criticized the decision of MPs. Besides, on May 18, Serzh Sargsyan signed a decree to reappoint Karen Karapetyan the Prime Minister after the government was dismissed.

In Georgia, opponents of new Draft Constitution disrupt its discussion in Tbilisi

On May 15, in Tbilisi, it was planned to hold a nationwide discussion of the Draft Constitution of Georgia, providing for major changes in the country, including, in particular, the fact that the president of the country would be elected by an electoral board. More than 2500 people gathered at the Great Concert Hall; however, the discussion did not begin because of the action in support of miners. At the hall, several dozen people were shouting and lifting helmets to protest against the deaths of four miners in the city of Tkibuli on May 9. As a result, organizers made a decision not to hold a meeting in Tbilisi, but promised to consider re-holding it. Besides, on May 15, the capital of Georgia and five other cities of the country, including Batumi, Gori, Zugdidi, Kutaisi, and Telavi, hosted the actions of the movement "Protect the Constitution" in protest against the Draft Constitution.

Rains flood houses and yards in Stavropol and a farm yard in Krasnodar Territory

Last week, heavy rains created problems for residents of the south of Russia. So, on May 15, after a downpour in Stavropol, Burmistrov and Prigorodnaya Streets in the Tashly area were flooded. At night of May 16, as a result of an accident, power supply was disrupted in a residential complex of three multi-storey houses with more than 2000 tenants. According to the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE), the rainfall caused an accident on an underground cable electric line. In Stavropol, a high-alert regime was announced. By May 17, electricity supply was restored.

On May 15, information was received on the flooding of about 40 houses in the Krupskoe farm in the Gulkevichsky District of the Krasnodar Territory. On May 16, the Ministry of Emergencies (MfE) reported that the consequences of the flooding in yards were almost eliminated, and the houses were not damaged. However, local residents reported about sowings, greenhouses with strawberries, orchards, and vineyards destroyed by water.

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