29 May 2017, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 22-28

Start of Muslims' Ramadan fasting in the Caucasus; emergencies caused by flooding of about 2000 houses in the Stavropol Territory, Adygea, and the Krasnodar Territory; arrest of deputy chair of opposition party in Azerbaijan; session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Tbilisi; detention of Kuban's Vice Governor on suspicion of abuse of powers and fraud, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 22-28, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Muslims of Caucasus start Ramadan

On May 27, Muslims of the regions in Southern Russia, including in Chechnya and Dagestan, started the fasting – the Ramadan. During the whole month of Ramadan, Muslim believers are instructed to abstain from taking any food and water in the daylight, do as many good acts as possible, give alms and help those in need. The month of Ramadan will be completed with the holiday of Eid al-Fitr. On May 26, on the eve of the start of fasting, deputies of the People's Assembly of Ingushetia at once in three readings unanimously adopted a draft law banning the sale of alcoholic beverages during the month of Ramadan, the holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the Children's Day, and the Day of Knowledge. On May 22, several days before the start of Ramadan, in Sochi, the Islamic Cultural Centre was opened, with halls for prayers and classes for teaching the basics of Islam.

In Stavropol Territory, Adygea, and Krasnodar Territory, 2000 houses flooded as a result of heavy rains

In the Stavropol Territory and Adygea, the rains that began last week provoked the introduction of the emergency regime. On May 24, in the Stavropol Territory, in connection with the flooding, the emergency situation regime was introduced throughout the whole territory of the region. The Mineralnye Vody Urban District was most affected by the disaster. There, two persons were killed by the flooding. According to the information as of May 27, in nine municipalities, more than 1500 houses stayed flooded. For security reasons, the authorities decided to evacuate about 2500 people. In several flooded villages and towns, electricity and water supply were cut off, and roads were closed. In Mineralnye Vody, the damage from high water is estimated at the amount of 188 million roubles, and victims are promised to receive help from the federal centre.

The emergency regime has also been introduced in four flooded areas of Adygea, including the Koshekhabl, Shovgenov, Krasnogvardeisky and Giaginsky Districts. As of May 25, in the territory of the republic, 260 yards and 12 residential buildings of 14 villages and towns were flooded. And in the morning of May 26, in the area of the aul (village) of Khakurinokhabl of the Shovgenov District, a dam breakthrough occurred, as a result of which other 15 private houses with yards and farmsteads were flooded. Drinking water, food, medicine and disinfection means are transported to the villages and towns in the flooding area, and temporary accommodation points are arranges for local residents.

In the Krasnodar Territory, the situation has been also worsened because of heavy rains. On May 28, in Krasnodar, 13 houses with yards and six private houses found themselves in a zone of flooding as a result of heavy rains. On May 24, in the Krasnodar Territory, 11 residents of a number of villages and towns of the Mostov District were evacuated from the flooding zone. At night of May 25, 170 residents of the farm yards of Gorkaya Balka and Lyapino in the Novokuban District were also evacuated.

In Azerbaijan, deputy chair of opposition party arrested on charge of smuggling

In the evening of May 25, Gezyal Bairamly, the deputy chair of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA), was detained when she was returning from Georgia, where she received medical treatment. According to the State Border Service (SBS) of Azerbaijan, undeclared money in the amount of 12,000 US dollars was found and seized from her hand luggage. The Investigating Department of the Azerbaijani SBS initiated a criminal case against Gezyal Bairamly under Article 206.1 (smuggling). At night of May 27, the Sabail District Court of Baku chose against the detainee the pre-trial restriction measure in the form of a three-month arrest. Gezyal Bairamly denied the accusations and called them politically motivated. Law enforcers searched the apartments of the Gezyal Bairamly's residence and registration and seized documents. An advocate of the oppositionist treats the searches as illegal. The US Department of State condemned the arrest of Gezyal Bairamly and called on to release the oppositionist.

Tbilisi hosts session of NATO Parliamentary Assembly

On May 26, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) kicked off in Tbilisi. It will last until May 29. According to Georgian politicians, the NATO PA session is expected to adopt a resolution in support of the Georgia's territorial integrity and ongoing reforms. The session will not consider the issue of the Georgia's membership in NATO, but it will discuss everything which is important for Georgia. This was stated by political analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot". Irakli Sesiashvili, Chairman of the Committee for Defence and Security of the Parliament of Georgia and the head of the Permanent Delegation of Georgia in the NATO PA has called May 26 a historic day for the country. He has pointed out to the fact that in the history of NATO, the Parliamentary Assembly was held only in four countries that were not NATO members and they were shortly afterwards accepted into the Alliance. During the meeting with Irakli Kobakhidze, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Paolo Alli, President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, has stated that the situation in the region is in the focus of the NATO's attention and that Georgia plays an important role in ensuring not only the regional, but also global security. Paolo Alli has also noted that Georgia will be accepted into the Alliance.

In Kuban, Vice Governor detained and placed under house arrest

On May 24, in the Krasnodar Territory, Governor Veniamin Kondratiev signed a decree on the resignation of Yuri Gritsenko from the post of Vice Governor, who took it in October 2015. Yuri Gritsenko was detained at night. And in the afternoon, the Oktyabrsky District Court of Krasnodar pronounced the decision to take Yuri Gritsenko under house arrest for two months because of criminal proceedings instituted against him on abuse of power and fraud. On February 10, a source reported about a criminal case instituted against Yuri Gritsenko, and on February 1, it became known that the Vice Governor was questioned in the case of embezzlement of 200 million roubles. An advocate has clarified that Yuri Gritsenko and employees of the construction company "Kuban" were questioned in the criminal case on abuse of authority in the construction of a perinatal centre in Sochi.

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