09 September 2019, 18:29

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 2-8, 2019

Single voting day in Southern Russia; election of Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov as the leader of Ingushetia; the second round of the presidential election in Abkhazia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 2-8, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Single voting day in Southern Russia

In Southern Russia, the main event of the week was a single voting day on September 8. On that day, voters were electing governors of the Volgograd and Astrakhan Regions, the Stavropol Territory, and Kalmykia, as well as members to the legislative assemblies of Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and the Volgograd Region, heads of regions and municipal delegates. In those regions, the election campaign was not active. In contrast to the above regions, residents of Volgograd said the election campaign was active, but they also expressed their skepticism about the promises voiced by politicians.

There were some violations during the voting. In the Volgograd Region, observers from the office of oppositionist Alexei Navalny and members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) reported ballot stuffing and a ban on photographing at the polling stations. Meanwhile, the regional election commission reported on the legitimacy of the elections. Three complaints came from the Stavropol Territory, but the election commission reported that the checks did not confirm any violation.

On the election day, in Volgograd, public sector employees claimed that the administrative resources were used before the election. According to them, leaders of some public sector institutions instructed their subordinates to vote for a particular candidate for a position of a governor. In Kabardino-Balkaria, people come to the polling stations due to their sense of responsibility for what is happening in the republic, as well as at the request of their leaders, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent finds out.

According to the regional election commissions, at the elections of the governors of the Astrakhan Region and Kalmykia, the leaders are Igor Babushkin and Batu Khasikov, the acting leaders of the regions, respectively, while Governors Andrei Bocharov and Vladimir Vladimirov are leaders of the elections in the Volgograd Region and the Stavropol Territory.

Election of Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov as leader of Ingushetia

On September 8, members of the Ingush National Assembly elected by secret voting Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, the acting leader of the republic, as the head of the region. Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov dismissed the government of the republic. He announced his intention to change the composition of the government, but to let experienced professionals stay.

Second round of presidential election in Abkhazia

On September 8, residents of Abkhazia were voting at the presidential election. After the voting of August 25, two candidates entered the second round of the election. The candidates running for the presidency were incumbent Abkhazian President Raul Khajimba and Alkhas Kvitsiniya, the chairman of the "Amtsakhara" Party. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba won the presidential election. According to the preliminary results, 47.38% of voters voted for Raul Khajimba, while Alkhas Kvitsiniya gained 46.19% of the votes.

Some of the interviewed voters admitted that they voted against all candidates, since they did not trust any of them.

Approval of updated composition of Georgian government chaired by Giorgi Gakhariya

On September 2, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze announced his resignation. Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the "Georgian Dream" Party, introduced Giorgi Gakhariya, Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia, as a candidate for the position of the Prime Minister. On September 8, the Georgian parliament announced a vote of confidence for the updated composition of the government, led by Giorgi Gakhariya. While Giorgi Gakhariya was delivering his speech, a protest rally of his opponents began in front of the parliament building, and activists arranged a "corridor of shame" for Georgian MPs. The resignation of Giorgi Gakhariya was one of the main demands of the protesters, who started their actions on June 20, after a Russian MP took the chair of the speaker of the Georgian parliament at a meeting of the parliamentary Orthodox assembly. After Mamuka Bakhtadze's resignation, the activists twice held their protest actions against the nomination of Giorgi Gakhariya for the position of the Prime Minister.

Introduction by Russian President of candidates for position of Kabardino-Balkarian leader

On September 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin introduced three candidates for the position of the leader of Kabardino-Balkaria for consideration by members of the republic's parliament. The candidates are Igor Kladko, the director of the branch of the PAO "Federal Hydro-Generating Company-RusHydro", Kazbek Kokov, the acting leader of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR), and Ilyas Shavaev, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the KBR. Kazbek Kokov was appointed the acting leader of the KBR on September 26, 2018, after his predecessor Yuri Kokov asked President Putin to transfer him to work in Moscow. The election of the Kabardino-Balkarian leader is scheduled for October 3.

Beginning of school year in regions of Southern Russia

This year, solemn morning ceremonies on the occasion of the beginning of the school year and the Knowledge Day in Russia were held on September 2, since September 1 was Sunday. In the regions of Southern Russia, the authorities reported the opening of new schools, while parents of schoolchildren spoke about the difficulties they faced when they were preparing their children for school, and teachers complained about their low salaries. In Dagestan, parents of schoolchildren noted that this year, textbooks were given for free at schools, but they still spent a lot of money to buy all the items necessary for school. The school needs more money, report parents of schoolchildren in Chechnya interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot".

Crash of military aircraft in Stavropol Territory

On September 3, during a training flight, a Su-25UB attack aircraft crashed 38 kilometers from the Stavropol city of Budyonnovsk. The aircraft crashed in a deserted area. Both pilots died, since they did not enough time to catapult. According to the preliminary information, the aircraft crashed while practicing a "dead loop" exercise.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 9, 2019 at 09:25 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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