02 March 2020, 18:53

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of February 24-March 1, 2020

Actions in memory of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow and Southern Russia; assassination attempt on Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov; penetration of coronavirus into the countries of the Southern Caucasus, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of February 24-March 1, 2020, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Actions in memory of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow and Southern Russia

On February 29, mass rallies in memory of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, killed five years ago, were held in Moscow and other Russian cities, including in Southern Russia. Thousands of people came to the Nemtsov March in the capital. Participants of the action voiced the problem of human rights compliance in Southern Russia. In their hands, activists were holding posters, including with the demands to release Dagestani journalist Abdulmumin Gadjiev and Ingush political prisoners. In Rostov-on-Don, activists held a rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov with the demand to resume the investigation into the politician's assassination case and stop political repressions. The action gathered 150 people. In Sochi, participants of the rally in memory of Boris Nemtsov laid flowers at the monument to victims of repression. Activists complained that they did not succeed in demanding from the authorities to install a memorial plaque on the houses where the politician lived when he was a child and a teenager.

Assassination attempt on Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov

On February 26, blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov, well-known for his sharp criticism of the authorities of Chechnya, was attacked by a man who entered his apartment. Tumso managed to seize a hammer from the attacker and call the police. The blogger received threats, and in a hospital, he is deprived of communication means, a brother of Tumso Abdurakhmanov reports. The Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" associated the assassination attempt on Tumso Abdurakhmanov with threats voiced by Ramzan Kadyrov against critics. The attack on Tumso Abdurakhmanov is being actively discussed by members of the Chechen Diaspora. The Chechen authorities succeeded in spreading an atmosphere of fear among Chechens in Europe, notes human rights defender Sasha Kulaeva. Let us remind you that Tumso Abdurakhmanov applied for asylum in Georgia and Poland, but was refused. The blogger's popularity increased sharply after his public debates with Chechen officials.

Penetration of coronavirus into countries of Southern Caucasus

All countries of Southern Caucasus have registered cases of infection with coronavirus decease. In Georgia, such a case was reported on February 26. According to Ekaterina Tikaradze, Minister of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, the virus was detected in an organism of a Georgian citizen who visited Iran and returned to the country through Azerbaijan. On February 28, doctors diagnosed a Georgian woman, who returned from Italy, with the presence of coronavirus. On the same day, the first case of coronavirus infection was registered in Azerbaijan. A dangerous virus, to which more than 2500 people have already fallen victim throughout the world, was detected in an organism of a Russian citizen who visited Iran. On February 29, two more people were diagnosed with the presence of coronavirus. They are citizens of Azerbaijan who have returned home from Iran. Besides, on February 29, Amiran Gamkrelidze, Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) of Georgia, reported about the third case of coronavirus detention in the country: a Georgian citizen who visited Iran was diagnosed with coronavirus. On March 1, the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in Armenia: doctors found it in an organism of a 29-year-old local resident who return home from Tehran.

Hunger strike in Azerbaijan with demand to cancel election results

On February 27, Elman Guliev, the leader of the "Musavat" Party's youth organization, went on a hunger strike with the demand to cancel the results of the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. Elman Guliev called the election outcome falsified. The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced the victory of the ruling "New Azerbaijan Party". During the voting, ballot stuffing and other violations were registered, NGOs note. On February 28, Elshad Israfil, another candidate from the "Musavat" Party, running for a seat in the parliament, joined the hunger strike declared by Elman Guliev. On February 29, Elman Guliev suffered from a sudden drop in blood pressure, and doctors advised him to stop the hunger strike. However, the activist continued his protest action together with Elshad Israfil.

Completion of registration of presidential candidates in Nagorno-Karabakh

On February 25, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Nagorno-Karabakh completed the registration of presidential candidates, as well as registration of parties and party blocs to participate in the elections to the National Assembly scheduled for March 31. The CEC registered 14 presidential candidates, ten parties, and two party blocs. 361 candidates are running for 33 seats in the parliament. All political figures and parties announced the beginning of an election campaign starting from February 26.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on March 2, 2020 at 10:25 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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