12 March 2018, 09:05
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of March 5-11
Explosion of gas in a Krasnodar high-rise building; 74th anniversary of deportation of the Balkar people; crash of a border service helicopter in Chechnya, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of March 5-11, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
In Krasnodar, seven persons injured in a gas explosion in a high-rise building
On March 10, a gas explosion occurred in an apartment building in Krasnodar. The building was partially destroyed. A part of a wall, roof ceilings and three balconies collapsed. According to the authorities, two children and five adults were injured, and the rest of the tenants were evacuated. Apartments in three entrances remained suitable for living. The tenants of the seriously damaged fourth entrance will be provided with temporary residence at the "Kavkaz" Hotel.
Residents of Nalchik pay tribute to victims of Balkars' deportation
The day of March 8 marked the 74th anniversary of the deportation of the Balkar people to Central Asia in 1944. A meeting of memory was held in Nalchik. On the square near the memorial, actors of the theatre planted a tree to symbolize the return of the Balkar people. Participants of a memorial evening in Moscow also paid tribute to the memory of the victims of the deportation. Culturologist and journalist Sulieta Kusova-Chukho suggested restoring abandoned mountain villages to honour the memory of the ancestors. An attempt to rebuild a pedestal for Stalin is alarming, and therefore it is necessary to unite the victims of repression, stated Ilyas Bogatyryov, the president of the Elbrusoid Foundation.
Frontier helicopter crashes in Chechnya
On March 7, in the Itum-Kali District of Chechnya, a MI-8 helicopter of the FSB Border Service fell into abyss. There were nine persons on board. Of them, two were rescued, five others were killed, and the rest were injured, one of whom died in hospital. According to the preliminary version, the accident was caused by bad weather: it was snowing with rain in the area. It is possible that the helicopter hit the cliffs with its blades.
Armenia approves new government
On March 7, the Armenian Parliament approved a new composition of the government, which chair would become the first person of the state after the end of Serzh Sargsyan's presidential term. The government will include the Prime Minister, the First Vice Prime Minister and two Vice Prime Ministers. The Armenian Police and the National Security Service will be directly subordinate to the chair of the Cabinet of Ministers. MPs also adopted a bill, according to which the Security Council of Armenia will be headed by the Prime Minister. The Security Council will no longer include the General Prosecutor, the Speaker of the Parliament and the President, who headed the Security Council earlier. The opposition criticized the reforms and stated that they were returning the country to the communist past.
In Grozny, Court refuses to release rights defender Oyub Titiev under guarantees of two presidential candidates
On March 6, the Staropromyslovsky District Court of Chechnya refused to release Oyub Titiev, the head of the "Memorial" office in Grozny, and extended the term of his arrest until May 9. That happened despite the guarantees of two presidential candidates, one of whom, Grigory Yavlinsky, came to Grozny to voice his guarantee. Rights defenders from Moscow called the Court's decision absurd. The defence treats the extension of the Oyub Titiev's arrest as unlawful. It should be noted that since January 11, Oyub Titiev is being kept in custody on the charge of marijuana possession. He claims that the drugs were planted to him by a law enforcer, but investigators refused to institute a criminal case under his complaint.
Former Karachay-Cherkessian senator Vyacheslav Derev arrested on fraud charge
On March 6, Vyacheslav Derev, a former senator from Karachay-Cherkessia, was detained in his house in Psyzh village and sent to Moscow. The Basmanny Court of Moscow pronounced the decision to arrest the former senator on the charge of fraud in a particularly large amount. The criminal case is connected with an unreasonable refund of VAT in the amount of about 120 million roubles in favour of a company controlled by Vyacheslav Derev, a source reported.