03 June 2019, 20:24

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 27-June 2, 2019

Decision of the ECtHR in the case on the disappearance of 12 residents of Chechnya; return of Ukrainian citizenship to Mikhail Saakashvili; detention of top-ranking law enforcers in Kabardino-Balkaria in the case on bribery, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 27-June 2, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

ECtHR decision in case on disappearance of 12 residents of Chechnya

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ordered the Russian authorities to pay 1.168 million euros in compensation to relatives of 12 people who disappeared during the second military campaign in Chechnya. The complaints "Kakhievs vs. Russia", "Shavanov and others vs. Russia", "Inalkaeva vs. Russia", "Umarov and others vs. Russia", "Sugatieva vs. Russia", and "Khamkhoev vs. Russia" concern disappearances of Chechnya residents in 2002-2005, the "Legal Initiative" reported. The ECtHR agreed that the right to life, liberty, personal integrity, and legal protection guaranteed by the European Convention had been violated. The ECtHR also awarded the plaintiffs compensation for the mental suffering caused by the loss of their relatives and friends and the indifference of the authorities.

Return of Ukrainian citizenship to Mikhail Saakashvili

On May 28, by his decree, President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky returned Ukrainian citizenship to former President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, who, being sentenced in absentia at home in several criminal cases, received Ukrainian citizenship in 2015. In July 2017, Mikhail Saakashvili was deprived of his Ukrainian citizenship for the alleged provision of false information to get a Ukrainian passport. Members of the "Georgian Dream" ruling party criticized the decision of Vladimir Zelensky. Roman Gotsiridze, an MP from the "United National Movement" (UNM), a former associate of Mikhail Saakashvili, believes that returning to Ukraine means his soon return to Georgia. Mikhail Saakashvili himself said that he would soon arrive in Georgia, but the General Prosecutor's Office reminded him of the threat of extradition.

Detention of top-ranking law enforcers in Kabardino-Balkaria in case on bribery

On May 30, in Kabardino-Balkaria, mass detention took place in the case on criminal activities of police officers, who, according to investigators, took bribes to turn a blind eye on trucks with illegal alcohol in the region. According to the preliminary information, in just two years, the police officers received about 42 million roubles. 12 active and former police officers were detained, including the deputy head of the GIBDD (road police) of Kabardino-Balkaria, and he was named the organizer of a criminal grouping. One suspect is put on the wanted list.

Transfer of presidential election in Abkhazia

On May 28, members of the Abkhaz parliament adopted a law allowing postponing the date of the presidential election from July 21 to August 25, as the opposition demanded. The five-year term of office of Abkhaz President Raul Khadjimba, who took office on September 25, 2014, expires on September 25, 2019. On May 21, after mass protests, the opposition agreed with Raul Khadjimba on postponing the elections to August. The opposition sought to postpone the presidential election because of the decease of oppositional candidate Aslan Bzhaniya, who was allegedly poisoned. On August 29, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Abkhazia approved a new plan for the election of the president, according to which, the nomination of candidates would be started on June 26 and finished on July 16. The opposition hopes that Aslan Bzhaniya will be able to take part in the presidential election in late August. The oppositional candidate's disease and the resulting resonance may increase the number of voters supporting Aslan Bzhaniya, believe journalists Anton Krivenyuk and Inal Khashig.

Attack on editorial staff of Stavropol newspaper

On May 27, in Stavropol, four employees of the newspaper "Rodina" were injured as a result of an attack on them. The newspaper "Rodina" is an edition of the Stavropol Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). Viktor Lozovoi, a member of the Stavropol Territory Duma, reported that the attacker demanded to publish his article about Stalin in the newspaper. On the other day, law enforcers detained a man suspected of the attack. They turned out to be a 72-year-old pensioner. He was arrested and placed in a psychiatric hospital for examination for his sanity.

Accident on railway in Adygea

On June 1, a passenger train on route from Adler to Nizhnevartovsk crashed into a truck in the Takhtamukaisky District of Adygea. As a result, the heavy truck caught fire, and the fire spread to one of the train cars. 189 passengers of the train were evacuated and sent by bus to Krasnodar. People ran out of the train without their things and had to wait for the buses, being on the track in the heat with their children. The driver of the truck, the locomotive driver and his assistant were injured. Other 13 passengers of the train addressed doctors for psychological help.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 3, 2019 at 09:10 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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