27 November 2017, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 20-26
Special operation in Tbilisi; fire in Batumi hotel; detention of Suleiman Kerimov in France; shoot-out as a result of business partners' conflict in Dagestan; verdict to Umar Djabrailov accused of hooliganism; protest actions of defrauded housing co-investors in Krasnodar and Volgograd, – read these news storiesin the review of the main events in the Caucasus for the week of November 20-26, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Power agents conduct special operation in Tbilisi
For almost 24 hours – from the evening of November 21 until the evening of November 22 – a special operation was underway in the Isan District of Tbilisi, in Gabriel Salos street. Power agents reported that they had blocked suspected terrorists in an apartment of a high-rise residential building. During the special operation, a special troop's fighter was killed; four law enforcers were wounded; three suspected terrorists were liquidated, and one of them was detained, the Georgian State Security Service (SSS) has reported. Apart from shooting, the special operation was accompanied by explosions, which caused several fires in the apartments of the third and fourth levels. According to local residents, these apartments were inhabited by Chechen nationals. This information was also confirmed by Umar Idigov, the head of the "Caucasus Integration Foundation" but he denied the information that appeared in some media that Akhmed Chataev was killed during the special operation; Chataev is suspected of organizing a terror act in Istanbul. Idigov also said there were children in the blocked apartment and called the special operation a farce, stating that he was not allowed to take part in negotiations with alleged terrorists. On November 24, the person detained during the special operation was arrested till the end of the inquiry. However, so far, law enforcers have not disclosed his name and the details of the case against him. The killed terrorists have not been named either.
As a result of the special operation, at least eight apartments were damaged. The administration of the Isan District of Tbilisi has stated that if it turns out that these apartments are not fit for residence, other housing will be rented for the tenants.
After the special operation in Tbilisi, users of social networks reported that the entrance into the territory of Georgia was closed to residents of Dagestan and Chechnya.
Eleven perish in fire in Batumi hotel
In the evening on November 24, a fire broke out in the five-star "Leogrand" Hotel in Batumi, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara (ARA), which was extinguished at night. More than 100 people were evacuated from the building, however, there were casualties. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia, 11 people perished in the fire – ten Georgian citizens and one Iranian; 21 other persons were hospitalized. Giorgi Gakhariya, the head of the MIA, has promised that those guilty of the fire will be severely punished. According to his story, there was no fire escape in the building, which caused so many casualties. As it turned out, earlier the bosses of the hotel, which is one of luxurious in Batumi, had already been fined for non-compliance with fire regulations. November 27 was declared a day of mourning in Georgia.
Suleiman Kerimov accused in France of tax evasion
On November 20, Suleiman Kerimov, a Member (Senator) from Dagestan of the Russian Federation Council, one of the richest businessmen in Russia, was detained in Nice by officers of the French police. In the evening on November 21, the court extended his detention for another 24 hours. On November 23, it became known that the French court appointed a five million euro bail for Kerimov, accusing him of laundering the money obtained as a result of tax evasion. Immediately after his detention, the Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) declared his immunity, since the Senator has a diplomatic passport. However, as it turned out, Kerimov was in France not on a business trip and without his diplomatic passport. The Senator himself refuses to plead guilty, an informed source reports.
Two persons perish in shootout in Dagestan, presumably because of business conflict
On November 23, two people were shot dead in a shootout that occurred at a crushed stone factory near the village of Azadogly, Magaramkent District of Dagestan, including Eldar Yaraliev, a deputy of the local district assembly; two more persons were hospitalized with various wounds. According to investigators, the conflict involved at least 10 people. The six detainees after the incident include Rafik Yaraliev, a Deputy of the City Assembly of Derbent. Law enforcers assert that participants of the shootout were relatives of Imam Yaraliev, the former head of Derbent, and of Farid Ahmedov, the current head of the Magaramkent District. Investigators consider several versions of the shootout, including the one related to financial obligations of the conflicting parties. The shootout could also result from a business conflict, the local observers, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", believe.
Tver Court of Moscow fines Umar Djabrailov by 500,000 roubles
On November 22, the businessman Umar Djabrailov was sentenced to a fine of 500,000 roubles under the hooliganism case opened after his shooting in a Moscow hotel. The prosecutor asked for the former Senator from Chechnya and an ex-presidential candidate two years of conditional imprisonment. Djabrailov himself had confessed earlier that he indeed opened pistol fire; however, he explained the incident by his concussions received at the Chechen War and asked to consider his case under special order. At the trial, his advocate asked the court to resort to a fine only, stating that his client was a patron of arts and a public figure; that he had no intention to harm anyone, and repented. It should be noted here that on October 26 the Moscow City Court found Umar Djabrailov guilty of using drugs, and fined him by 4000 roubles.
Defrauded housing co-investors hold protests in Krasnodar and Volgograd
On November 25, in Krasnodar and Volgograd, defrauded housing co-investors held protest actions demanding from the authorities to take measures to complete the construction of their houses. In Krasnodar, near the building of the Territorial Administration, two solo pickets were held by co-investors of the Housing Cooperative "Luchisty". The completion of their seven-storey building was planned for 2014; however, in that year the construction was frozen; and about 160 families have not yet received their apartments, in which they had invested their money. In Volgograd, a rally of defrauded co-investors into five residential complexes was held in Lenin Square. The action was sanctioned for 200 protesters, but in fact there were 230 of them, said the organizers. The rally accused officials of inaction. It is noteworthy that officials of the regional construction supervision agency (Oblstroynadzor) and of the department of architecture and town planning of the Volgograd Administration had been invited to the action; however, they failed to appear.