23 September 2019, 17:58

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 16-22, 2019

CTO in Kabardino-Balkaria; hunger strike of Afghan war veterans in Makhachkala; renaming of the Sunzha District of Chechnya, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 16-22, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

CTO in Kabardino-Balkaria

On September 18, the counterterrorist operation (CTO) legal regime was introduced in the city of Chegem. Law enforcers cordoned off a house in which, according to their information, militants were hiding. When offered to surrender, the suspects opened fire. Two persons were killed in a shootout. According to the FSB, they were plotting a terror act. According to the preliminary information, one of the killed suspects was identified as a local resident, born in 1995, and the second suspect was identified as a native of the "neighbouring republic," born in 1999. According to the law enforcement bodies, the killed suspects were members of a unit of the "Islamic State" (IS), a terrorist organization banned in Russia by the court. The CTO became the second special operation in Kabardino-Balkaria since early 2019, while the first CTO took place in Nalchik on February 27.

Hunger strike of Afghan war veterans in Makhachkala

On September 17, about 20 Dagestani veterans of the Afghan war began an indefinite hunger strike in a park of Makhachkala. They demand from the authorities to provide them with housing. The Afghan war veterans intend to continue their protest action until they are accepted by Dagestani leader Vladimir Vasiliev. On the third day of the hunger strike, one of its participants was taken to the hospital because of serious deterioration in his health state. On the fifth day of the hunger strike, about 20 other people joined the protest action. According to the protesters, a thousand Afghan war veterans were expelled from the housing queue under the pretext of losing the documents on their participation in the Afghan war.

Court's decision on results of presidential election in Abkhazia

On September 20, the Supreme Court (SC) of Abkhazia dismissed the demand of oppositionist Alkhas Kvitsiniya not to recognize the victory of his rival, Abkhaz President Raul Khadjimba, in the second round of voting at the presidential election. On September 8, 47.39% of voters gave their voices to Raul Khadjimba, and 46.17% of voters supported his opponent. Alkhas Kvitsiniya and his supporters demanded to declare the presidential election results null and void. The oppositionists insist that for the victory, Raul Khadjimba was to gain an absolute majority of the votes. After the Central Election Commission (CEC) dismissed his claim, Alkhas Kvitsiniya went to court. The hearings of the Supreme Court of Abkhazia were held amid the actions organized by supporters of Alkhas Kvitsiniya and Raul Khadjimba.

Presidential pardon scandal in Georgia

On September 18, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili proposed revising the rules for pardoning prisoners and imposed a moratorium on pardon. On September 20, the General Prosecutor's Office of Georgia launched an investigation into allegations of opposition MPs about cases of corruption occurring when the President pardoned prisoners. That happened after the opposition launched protest actions to protest against the Salome Zurabishvili's decision on August 28 to pardon 34 people, including Ramaz Devadze, sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for murdering a policeman. Salome Zurabishvili made the decision to pardon prisoners without consulting the public, since the pardon commission actually ceased to exist after the termination of the presidential powers of Giorgi Margvelashvili. On September 19 and 22, rallies against the pardon of prisoners took place in front of the residence of the President of Georgia.

Renaming of Sunzha District of Chechnya

On September 19, members of the Chechen parliament supported the proposal to rename the Sunzha District to the Sernovodsk District, since its administrative centre was the town of Sernovodsk. Residents of the district are unhappy with the fact that they will have to make changes to their documents. The renaming of the Sunzha District will become a logical continuation of the agreement on the establishment of borders with Ingushetia, believes Akhmet Yarlykapov, a scientist engaged in the Caucasian studies.

Release of football player Pavel Mamaev on CER

On September 17, Pavel Mamaev, a football player of the "Krasnodar" FC, sentenced in a case on a fight in Moscow, left a penal colony. He was released on conditional early relief (CER) by court's decision. The Pavel Mamaev's contract with the "Krasnodar" FC was terminated. It should be noted that Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin, a football player of the "Zenit" FC, who was sentenced together with him, were invited in absentia by Ramzan Kadyrov to the "Akhmat" FC to Grozny. Chechen football fans doubt that Pavel Mamaev and Alexander Kokorin will accept the invitation.

Arrest in Moscow of former Dagestani Prime Minister Abdusamad Gamidov's advocate

On September 17, Dagir Khasavov, a defender of Abdusamad Gamidov, the former Prime Minister of Dagestan, and his deputy Rayudin Yusufov at a trial in Moscow, was detained. Dagir Khasavov is accused of obstructing justice and coercing people to testify. He is arrested for two months. In Makhachkala, a son of Rayudin Yusufov, the chief of the department at the Accounts Chamber of Dagestan, was detained in the Dagir Khasavov's case, as well as Abdusalam Djamalutdinov, the former adviser to the chairman of the Government of Dagestan. The case on embezzlement of more than 40 million roubles for reconstruction of a building designed for keeping stateless persons, in which Abdusamad Gamidov and Rayudin Yusufov are involved, has been under consideration since June 11.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 23, 2019 at 08:20 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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