05 November 2018, 16:49

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events on October 29-November 4, 2018

Decision of the Constitutional Court of Ingushetia on the law on borders with Chechnya; outcomes of voting at presidential election in Georgia, – read about these and other events in the weekly review of the main events that happened in the Caucasus during the week from October 29 to November 4, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Decision of the Ingush CC on border law with Chechnya

On October 30, the Constitutional Court (CC) of Ingushetia declared the law on the border with Chechnya unconstitutional, noting that the issue of borders should be resolved by a referendum. The law was adopted by the republic's parliament and signed by the head of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Evkurov, despite the protests. Mr Evkurov said that CC's decision did not cancel the signed border agreement, since it had already entered into force. According to Evkurov, the issue should be resolved by the Russian CC. The latter may issue a different decision than the Ingush CC; and it can no longer be reconsidered, the lawyers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have stated. They noted that the decision taken by the Ingush CC is mandatory for the republic's authorities.

The transfer of the dispute about the Ingush-Chechen border into the legal plane with the tacit support of Evkurov by the Kremlin is a "Pyrrhic victory" of the head of Ingushetia over the opponents of his agreement with Kadyrov. The opposition will not give up its demands; and relations between the two nations are clouded by mutual discontent, Ali Magomadov, a political analyst, and Akhmed Gisaev, the head of the Human Rights Analysis Centre, have asserted.

On October 31, protesters gathered again in Magas for their protest, which had been sanctioned until November 2, but the organizers urged them to stop the action ahead of time and "act in the legal plane."

Outcomes of voting at presidential election in Georgia

On October 29, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia summed up the totals of the voting held on October 28 at the presidential election. The gap between the independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili, supported by the "Georgian Dream" Party, and Grigol Vashadze, the candidate of the United National Movement (UNM) Party, was less than 1%. Zurabishvili received 38.66% of all the votes; Vashadze – 37.70%. Since none of them managed to gain over 50% of votes, the CEC announced the second round. Opposition parties suggested creating a united office for combating possible frauds during the second round.

A possibility of UNM's return to power in Georgia is becoming the central issue of the presidential race in view of the equal chances for Zurabishvili and Vashadze to win, the political analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have noted.

Actions in memory of victims of political repressions

On October 30, the South of Russia held actions of the memory of the repressed nations. In Vladikavkaz, a restored memorial was opened with the names of 1620 executed persons. In Nalchik, the rally gathered 50 people; one of its participants said that repressions are impossible in a country with a strong civil society. In Makhachkala, activists reported that the authorities had allocated a place for the installation of a monument to the repressed people in a mini-park near Lake Ak-Gel. Residents of Sochi laid flowers at the monument to victims of repressions and honoured their memory by lighting candles. In Volgograd, some participants of the action came with portraits of their repressed relatives; and the head of the local "Association of Victims of Illegal Political Repressions" reported that the organization is at risk to stop its work because of absence of funds to rent an office.

Dissolution of parliament and adoption of law on mass amnesty in Armenia

On November 1, the Armenian parliament held the second round of elections of the country's Prime Minister after Nikol Pashinyan's resignation. He was again the only candidate, and, as it had been pre-planned by him, not a single MP voted for his appointment. This fact led to the dissolution of the National Assembly (Parliament); and Armen Sargsyan, the President of Armenia, appointed the parliamentary elections for December 9. Mr Pashinyan plans, by his resigning on October 16 from the post of the head of government, to bring the "velvet revolution" to the end and transfer the power to people through the early parliamentary elections.

On October 24, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) of Armenia brought a bill on mass amnesty into the Parliament; the draft law covers the convicted members of the "Sasna Tsrer" detachment and the "Constituent Parliament" movement. On November 1, the Parliament adopted the law, despite the position of a part of MPs, who were against the release of "Sasna Tsrer" members; and on November 3, the law was signed by President Armen Sargsyan. According to the law, 270 inmates will be released, and other 396 convicts will have their terms reduced. This amnesty is timed to the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan and the 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on November 5, 2018 at 09:05 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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