03 February 2020, 13:27
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events from January 27 to February 2, 2020
Pickets of Moscow activists and journalists in support of Abdulmumin Gadjiev arrested in Dagestan; resonance after spread of collage with Ramzan Kadyrov; protest action against acting head of Elista, Dmitry Trapeznikov; sending to court of case of Serzh Sargsyan, former President of Armenia; bullying a female student after scandalous dance in Vladikavkaz, – read about these events in the weekly review of the main events in the Caucasus during the week from January 27 to February 2, 2020, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".
Moscow activists and journalists picket in support of Abdulmumin Gadjiev arrested in Dagestan
On January 27, a number of well-known Russian journalists announced an action in support of Abdulmumin Gadjiev, a journalist of the "Chernovik" weekly, who was arrested under the terrorism financing case. The picketers treated the charges put forward against Gadjiev as far-fetched, and pointed out the danger faced by journalists working in Northern Caucasus. In particular, the authors of the video appeal recalled the murder in Dagestan of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, a "Caucasian Knot" correspondent. The announced action took place in the evening on January 29. Journalists and activists held their solo pickets at the building of the Permanent Mission of Dagestan in Moscow with a demand to release Abdulmumin Gadjiev. The action was held in the form of "picket series", when its participants replace each other, rather than picketing together, said Ilya Azar, a journalist. The criminal prosecution of Abdulmumin Gadjiev is a part of the pressure campaign on independent Dagestani editions, the Moscow protesters have stated. They explained that pickets were held in Moscow, because the Gadjiev's case hadn't received due attention outside Dagestan. A line of those who wished to join the series of solo pickets was soon formed at the venue.
Resonance after spread of collage with Ramzan Kadyrov
Back on January 25, media reported the detention in Chechnya of 25 persons involved in disseminating a photo collage, in which the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, was depicted in the attire of an Orthodox priest. According to "Kavkaz.Realii", the detainees, including schoolchildren, spent a night in the detention centre, where pressure was applied to them. On January 27, Djambulat Umarov, the Chechen Minister for National Policy, declared this information to be a fake, but acknowledged the readiness of Chechen authorities to punish the authors and distributors of caricatures. Rights defenders have treated Umarov's occasional slip of the tongue about the need to "warn a dozen of troublemakers and villains" means that there were still detentions of residents of Chechnya. The photo collage shows Ramzan Kadyrov with gray hair and beard, dressed in black clothes and a headgear. He has a staff in his hand and a medallion on his chest. The collage indicates residents' discontent with his behaviour. According to Ruslan Kutaev, the president of the "Assembly of Caucasian Nations", the collage indicates that Chechens are unhappy that the head of Chechnya often meets Christian priests. In the opinion of Alexander Arkhipov, anthropologist, the reason for such a satire is the sacralisation of the personality of the authoritarian leader.
Protest action against Dmitry Trapeznikov, acting head of Elista administration
On January 31, 26 activists held a sanctioned action demanding the resignation of the acting head of the Elista administration, Dmitry Trapeznikov. The participants of the action, held in the form of a group picket, gathered in three places. Eight picketers stood at the Mayoralty; ten others – at the "Romantika" Shopping Centre; and eight – at the "Elista" Hotel. The action lasted for an hour and a half. Some passersby joined the picket. Let us remind you that the appointment on September 26, 2019, Dmitry Trapeznikov, who in the summer of 2018 headed the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic, as the acting head of Elista, triggered massive citizens' protests. During the actions, demands were voiced out for the return of direct election of the Mayor, and the resignation of the head of Kalmykia, Batu Khasikov. Note that on January 27, Valery Badmaev, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper "Modern Kalmykia", reported intimidation of protesters.
Case of Serzh Sargsyan, former Armenian President, sent to court
The General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) of Armenia has approved the indictment in the case of embezzlement of more than a million US dollars, incriminated to the third president of the country, Serzh Sargsyan and four other persons, and on January 29 sent the case to the court. Investigators believe that in 2013, Sargsyan instructed his subordinates to give preference to the "Flash" Company that participated in the tender, while the "Maxkhur" Company had offered the lowest price. A figurant in the especially large-scale embezzlement or appropriation case is Sergo Karapetyan, the former Minister of Agriculture of Armenia, while Serzh Sargsyan and other defendants figure as accomplices. Let us remind you that Sargsyan was charged on December 4, 2019. His defence claimed a violation of the President's immunity and demanded from the GPO to release him and close the case. The GPO refused to do this. During the inquiry, Serzh Sargsyan's property was arrested. According Armenian media, the owner of the "Flash" Company is Sargsyan's close friend, which, according to investigators, had predefined his choice.
Student's harassing after scandalous dance in Vladikavkaz
On January 26, a video was broadcast in social networks with a dance in the street near the university in Vladikavkaz with the participation of a local female student and a black guy. In the video, the girl dances to music surrounded by other students, while rhythmically moving her hips. The black guy, closely following the girl, repeats her body movements. Other young people, looking at this, shout approvingly and laugh, while girls bashfully cover their faces with hands. Social networks users treated the dance as indecent; and soon the dancers' apologies appeared in the network. In particular, the girl admitted that her dance was "ugly" and "uncultured" and promised that "this will never happen again." The girl said that some young people threatened her with execution, if she failed to apologize. After that, the police began checking the girl's complaint about received threats. On January 29, the North-Ossetian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reported that policemen had had a prophylactic conversation with the three young people who had videotaped the girl's apology. Her mother thanked law enforcers for the defence. A flash mob in support of the student was organized on the Facebook, after which she reported that the threats against her in connection with the public performance of the dance stopped.
This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 3, 2020 at 09:33 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.