14 October 2019, 12:43

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 7-13, 2019

Death of an MMA athlete after a fight in Grozny; inauguration of Raul Khadjimba as President of Abkhazia amid opposition protests; closing of the "Kunaki" film festival in Nalchik; completion of a trial in an advocate Mikhail Benyash's case and beginning of the consideration of the lawsuit filed by businessman Oleg Deripaska in Krasnodar; rally in Elista held in protest against the appointment of Dmitry Trapeznikov as the city mayor, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of October 7-13, 2019, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Death of MMA athlete after fight in Grozny

Bekzod Nurmatov, a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter from Uzbekistan, fell into a coma after a fight with Russian MMA fighter Beslan Isaev at the Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA) 100 tournament in Grozny. On October 7, Bekzod Nurmatov died of a blood stroke. The fight lasted all three rounds and ended with the victory of Beslan Isaev by decision of judges. The incident caused a great resonance in social networks. In their comments on the news of the MMA fighter's death, users of social networks called on Beslan Isaev to end his sports career and also demanded to ban the mixed martial arts as a sport. In Russia, at MMA tournaments, the accuracy of medical examination certificates for fighters is not verified, there is no licensing system, and the rights of MMA athletes are not protected by law, note a trainer, an MMA fighter, and a sports journalist interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" after the death in Chechnya of Bekzod Nurmatov.

Inauguration of Raul Khadjimba as President of Abkhazia amid opposition protests

On October 9, Abkhazian President Raul Khadjimba, who was elected for his second term, took the oath and ignored an opposition's appeal not to conduct the inauguration until the final court's decision on the election results. Let us remind you that in the second round of the presidential election held on September 8, 47.39% of voters voted for Raul Khadjimba, and 46.17% supported his rival Alkhas Kvitsiniya. Alkhas Kvitsiniya and his supporters demanded to declare the presidential election null and void. They insisted that for the victory, Raul Khadjimba was to gain not a simple, but an absolute majority of votes. The "Amtsakhar" Party, headed by Alkhas Kvitsiniya, demanded not to conduct the inauguration until a decision pronounced by the Supreme Court (SC) of Abkhazia. Eight opposition members of the Abkhaz parliament boycotted the inauguration of Raul Khadjimba.

Closing of "Kunaki" film festival in Nalchik

The grand prix of the North-Caucasian Open Documentary Film Festival "Kunaki", which was opened in Nalchik on October 5, went to the film "Father and Sons from Krotovo" by Valery and Evgeny Solomin, directors from Siberia. On October 9, the film festival ended with an award ceremony held in the State Concert Hall of the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria. Let us remind you that this year, 56 films were selected to participate in the contest.

Completion of trial in advocate Mikhail Benyash's case and beginning of consideration of lawsuit filed by businessman Oleg Deripaska in Krasnodar

On October 11, the Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar found advocate Mikhail Benyash guilty of using violence against a policeman and pronounced the decision to fine the defendant 30,000 roubles, taking into account his monthly detention at a SIZO (pre-trial prison). Let us remind you that that on September 9, 2018, Mikhail Benyash was detained in Krasnodar together with participants of an unsanctioned rally against a pension reform. According to investigators, during his detention, Mikhail Benyash attacked policemen and bit them. The advocate himself complained that he was beaten after his detention. Public prosecutor claimed that Mikhail Benyash injured himself after his detention. The local office of Alexei Navalny associates the criminal proceedings against Mikhail Benyash with the legal support that he provided to the opposition. The defence has already announced the intention to appeal against the verdict and noted that if the appeal is dismissed, Mikhail Benyash will be deprived of his advocacy status.

Besides, on October 11, in Krasnodar, the Arbitration Court of Kuban held its first hearing on the lawsuit to protect the Oleg Deripaska's business reputation against the editorial offices of three foreign editions, including The Nation, The Telegraph, and The Times. Oleg Deripaska demands a refutation of the articles cited by the US Department of the Treasury when imposing sanctions against the businessman in 2018. No moral compensation is claimed in the lawsuit. Lawyers of the defendants did not appear in court, although the editorial offices were notified of the date of the court hearing, the businessman's lawyer noted at the trial.

Rally in Elista in protest against appointment of Dmitry Trapeznikov as city mayor

On October 13, in Elista, a rally was held with the demand to remove from office acting City Mayor Dmitry Trapeznikov, who was appointed on the recommendation of Kalmyk leader Batu Khasikov on September 26. The number of participants in the rally turned out to be 10 times more than the authorities sanctioned: about 3000 people instead of 300. The people who came to the rally held in their hands the posters with the slogans reading: "Kalmykia without Trapeznikov", "This is our city", "Trapeznikov, go away!" and others. Following the result of the rally, its participants demanded to hold direct election of the city mayor. In 2018, Dmitry Trapeznikov temporarily headed the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Opponents of the Dmitry Trapeznikov's appointment to the post of the Elista mayor note that he has no relations with Kalmykia. It should be noted that the participants of the rally held in Elista on October 13 stated that they were protesting not so much against the appointment of Dmitry Trapeznikov as the acting head of the city, but against the policies of new Kalmyk leader Batu Khasikov and the situation in Russia as a whole.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 14, 2019 at 09:18 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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