10 June 2019, 15:14

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 3-9, 2019

Celebration of Eid al-Fitr by Muslims of Southern Russia; parliamentary elections in South Ossetia; actions of activists in Southern Russia in defence of a journalist detained in Moscow; discussion of news about the reburial of the Hadji Murad's remains in Dagestan; ConIFA European Football Championship in Nagorno-Karabakh, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of June 3-9, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Celebration of Eid al-Fitr by Muslims of Southern Russia

This year, the first day of the fasting of the Muslim month of Ramadan fell on May 6, and the celebration of Eid al-Fitr ‑ on June 4-6. In majority of the republics of Northern Caucasus and Adygea, the authorities announced days off on the occasion of the holiday. Besides, Dagestan, Chechnya, and Ingushetia also rescheduled unified state exams at schools. Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr with paying zakyat, collective prayers, and visits to graves of their relatives. Every year, more and more people observe the fasting of Ramadan, note residents of Nalchik.

The celebration of Eid al-Fitr raised the question concerning the return to Muslims of the mosque in Krasnodar. There are no active mosques in the city, and the closest are in Adygea and are always crowded on holidays, report local imams. Some of the believers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" note that because of the above, they have to pray at home or leave for other regions during holidays. On June 4, about 15,000 people came to the festive prayer in the cathedral mosque in Rostov-on-Don. A second mosque should be built in the city, since many believers have to pray along the road, Rostov Muslims believe. In the Volgograd Region, there were also not enough places in mosques for participants in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr: according to the Muftiate for the Volgograd Region, at least 10,000 Muslims who lived and came to the Volgograd Region to visit their relatives or take seasonal work participated in collective prayer on June 4.

Parliamentary elections in South Ossetia

On June 9, in South Ossetia, there was a voting at the parliamentary elections organized by a mixed majority-proportional system. The voting took place at 77 polling stations in 17 districts. In the territory of South Ossetia, 73 polling stations were opened, one operated in Moscow, one in Sukhumi, and other two in the territory of the Consulate in Vladikavkaz. The Central Election Commission (CEC) of South Ossetia declared the elections valid. Meanwhile, some violations during the voting were reported. Thus, members of the "Nykhas" Party announced the bribing of voters near polling stations at the Consulate of South Ossetia in Vladikavkaz. According to the "Nykhas" Party, voters were given money in a tent for voting in favour of one of the political forces. The moment of transfer of money was shot on video. The law enforcement bodies of Russia will check the information on bribery at a polling station in Vladikavkaz, but the video recorded "no visible flagrant violation of the voting rights", reported the General Prosecutor of South Ossetia.

Actions of activists in Southern Russia in defence of journalist detained in Moscow

At the end of the week, in Southern Russia, several cities hosted actions in defence of Ivan Golunov, a journalist of the website "Medusa", detained in Moscow on June 6, who was accused of drug trafficking. According to the journalist himself, the drugs were planted on him, and his colleagues associated his persecution with his professional activities. On June 7, in Krasnodar, Artyom Besedin and Vlad Yanyushkin, editors-in-chief of the "Yuga.ru" and "Svobodnye Media", respectively, held solo pickets in support of Ivan Golunov. On June 8, the same pickets with the participation of local activists took place in Volgograd and Astrakhan. On June 9, in Makhachkala, activists and journalists also held a rally in support of Ivan Golunov and Circassian activist Martin Kochesoko, detained in Nalchik. In the capital of Dagestan, law enforcers brought the protesters to a police station, where they had to write letters to explain their protest action. It should be noted that some journalistic investigations conducted by Ivan Golunov are connected with the regions of the Caucasus and Southern Russia: he published materials about the assets of Ramzan Kadyrov's subordinates and the monopolization of the funeral services market in Volgograd. In Moscow, a court pronounced the decision to release Ivan Golunov from custody and send him under house arrest until August 7.

Discussion of news about reburial of Hadji Murad's remains in Dagestan

On June 3, the Dagestani mass media released photo and video evidence that the other day, the Dagestani village of Khunzakh held a burial ceremony for the Hadji Murad's remains that were at the cemetery in the village of Tangyt in the Gakh District of Azerbaijan. It should be noted that on May 30, Magomed Amirkhanov, the chairman of the organizing committee for the reburial of the Hadji Murad's remains, announced the ceremony of the reburial; however, the authorities of the Khunzakh District called the information fake. The ceremony of the reburial of the Hadji Murad's remains in Khunzakh did not correspond to the Sharia, believe advocate Ziyavudin Uvaisov and Imam Akhmad Anchikhsky. Historians Patimat Takhnaeva and Khadjimurad Donogo suggested that during the ceremony, the remains belonging not to Hadji Murad, but to one of his supporters who died with him, could have been reburied. On June 6, Arif Gadjily, the head of the "Musavat" Party, stated that he had found signs of opening on the Hadji Murad's grave in Azerbaijan and demanded to conduct an inspection on the matter.

ConIFA European Football Championship in Nagorno-Karabakh

Last week, Stepanakert hosted the matches of the ConIFA (Confederation of Independent Football Associations) European Football Championship. Eight teams took part in the Championship. The national team of Abkhazia won in its group, but lost in the semi-finals to the national team of Western Armenia and became the bronze medallist. The tournament hosts managed to take only the fifth place. The team of South Ossetia won the ConIFA Championship. All matches in Nagorno-Karabakh were held with crowded stands, and on June 1, the opening ceremony of the tournament was attended by about 10,000 spectators. The organizers called the ConIFA Championship in Nagorno-Karabakh one of the best. Before the Championship, local residents voiced their expectations that a tournament of such a magnitude would bring Nagorno-Karabakh closer to its recognition by the international community.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 10, 2019 at 09:18 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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