11 December 2017, 09:00
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of December 4-10
Verdict in the case against the gang of Rostov Amazons; special operation in Stavropol; detention of Mikhail Saakashvili in Ukraine; opening of a new airport near Rostov-on-Don; detention of Tuapse Mayor Alexander Chekhov, –see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of December 4-10, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Court pronounces verdict in case against gang of 'Rostov Amazons'
On December 5, on the basis of the verdict made by the jury, the Rostov Regional Court pronounced a verdict in the case against the gang of Rostov Amazons. In the case, the prisoners' dock contains four persons found guilty of killing 10 people, including law enforcers and members of their families. The Court sentenced Inessa Tarverdieva, a resident of the Stavropol Territory, and her daughter Victoria Tarverdieva to 21 years and 16 years of imprisonment in common-security penal colonies, respectively. Anastasia Sinelnik, a native of the Aksay town, was sentenced to 19 years of imprisonment in a common-security penal colony, and her husband Sergei Sinelnik was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment in a high-security penal colony. The Court also pronounced the decision to collect compensation from the convicts in favour of the victims for moral harm and material damage in the amount from one to four million roubles. The figurants of the criminal case and the victim Valentina Chudakova decided to challenge the verdict.
Three persons killed during special operation in Stavropol
At night on December 9, law enforcers conducted a counterterrorist operation (CTO) in the centre of Stavropol. An official of the FSB Department for the Stavropol Territory reported the CTO was carried out to prevent a terror act. Law enforcers cordoned off a private house with a yard. Three armed men blocked in the house refused to surrender and were killed when they tried to break through the cordon, the law enforcement bodies reported. According to their story, a man was killed in a bomb explosion. The killed suspects were identified as natives of Chechnya, Dagestan and Stavropol Territory. During the operation, the CTO legal regime was introduced in the city, and 30 people were evacuated. The shootout in the CTO area stopped very quickly, eyewitnesses reported.
Mikhail Saakashvili detained in Ukraine
During the whole past week, news related to former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili came from Ukraine. Mikhail Saakashvili worked for 1.5 years as the chief of the Odessa regional administration, then resigned and joined the opposition to the current government. On December 5, law enforcers who searched a Mikhail Saakashvili's apartment in Kiev detained him, despite the protests of politician's supporters. However, the supporters of Mikhail Saakashvili managed to take him away from the law enforcers. Mikhail Saakashvili called on the people for a protest against Ukrainian President Poroshenko. The Security Service of Ukraine (known as SBU) accused the former Odessa governor of aiding and abetting criminal organizations, an attempt of coup d'etat and in relations with Moscow. The Ukrainian law enforcement bodies put the former Georgian President in the wanted list. The Mikhail Saakashvili's defence called the charges unfounded. In the evening on December 8, Ukrainian law enforcers managed to detain Mikhail Saakashvili, and he was placed to a temporary detention facility. After the politician had been detained, his supporters began to conduct spontaneous rallies near the SBU building. On December 9, Ruslan Chernolutsky, an advocate of Mikhail Saakashvili, reported that the politician declared hunger strike in the SIZO (pre-trial prison) and called on his supporters to continue rallies for impeachment to the President of Ukraine.
Mikhail Saakashvili is also supported by his followers in Georgia. On December 6, participants of the action organized by the "United National Movement" (UNM) Party marched through Tbilisi to protest against the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and law enforcement bodies against the former Georgian President. On December 9, the UNM began collecting signatures with the demand to the authorities of Georgia and Ukraine to stop the political persecution of Mikhail Saakashvili.
New airport opened near Rostov-on-Don
On December 7, the "Platov" Airport, built in Rostov-on-Don for the FIFA World Cup, started servicing domestic and international flights. The first flight with arrival to the airport was performed by the "Pobeda" airlines. At the airport, all services are available to passengers, including parking, cafes, shops, a pharmacy, ATMs, baggage packing, automatic luggage storage, a mother-and-child room, and VIP lounges. Meanwhile, it is more difficult to get to the "Platov" Airport than to the old Rostov-on-Don airport because of the remoteness of the new airport: it is located about 30 kilometres from the city. There are two bus routes to the airport: from the railway station and from the suburban railway station. The old airport "Rostov-on-Don" is supposed to be closed already in the spring of 2018.
Tuapse Mayor Alexander Chekhov detained
In the evening on December 7, Alexander Chekhov, the chief of the Tuapse administration, was detained at the Krasnodar airport with a package containing a large amount of money. This was reported by a source from the law enforcement bodies on December 8. According to the law enforcers, Alexander Chekhov is suspected of taking a bribe. During the detention, the very Mayor of the resort city claimed he got a package as a gift for his birthday from his friend and he was not aware of the content of the package. Law enforcers registered that Alexander Chekhov got the money, and the Investigating Committee launched an investigation, reported on December 8 Natalia Smyatskaya, Senior Assistant to the chief of the Investigating Department for the Krasnodar Territory of the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF). According to a source from the field investigation services, Alexander Chekhov demanded from an entrepreneur to pay him seven million roubles to issue a resolution to recognize a building as dilapidated and demolish it. In the package that the official had with himself, law enforcers discovered two million roubles.