17 August 2020, 14:53

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 10-16, 2020

Spread of the coronavirus infection in the Caucasus; fifth attack on law enforcers in Ingushetia since early 2020; actions in support of protesters in Belarus, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 10-16, 2020, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Spread of coronavirus infection in Caucasus

Over the past week, Armenia still leads in Southern Caucasus in both the number of coronavirus-infected patients and the COVID-19 death toll. By August 16, the number of coronavirus-infected people in Armenia reached 41,663, in Azerbaijan – 34,219, in Georgia – 1336, in Nagorno-Karabakh – 254, in South Ossetia – 89, and in Abkhazia – 198. Armenia registered 818 deaths from COVID-19, Azerbaijan – 506, Georgia – 17, Abkhazia – 3, and Nagorno-Karabakh – 1.

The number of coronavirus-infected patients also increased in regions of Southern Russia, and by August 16, it reached 89,057. Over the past week, the Rostov Region still leads in the number of coronavirus-infected patients, where 14,996 cases were registered. The Volgograd Region takes the second place with 10,668 coronavirus-infected patients, and the Stavropol Territory – the third place with 10,085 cases. In Dagestan 10,032 patients were diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, in the Krasnodar Territory – 9903, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 6223, in the Astrakhan Region – 5148, in North Ossetia – 4679, in Karachay-Cherkessia – 4635, in Ingushetia – 4025, in Kalmykia – 3360, in Adygea – 3113, and in Chechnya – 2190.

Over the week, the coronavirus death toll also increased up to 1575. During the week, according to the sad death toll statistics, Dagestan still leads in the region: the republic has already registered 469 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Dagestan is followed by the Rostov Region where 287 COVID-19 deaths have been already registered, and the Stavropol Territory with 195 COVID-19 deaths stays at the third place in the sad death toll statistics. In the Krasnodar Territory, 143 patients diagnosed with the coronavirus infection died, in the Volgograd Region – 79, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 75, in Ingushetia – 75, in North Ossetia – 67, in the Astrakhan Region – 58, in Kalmykia – 42, in Chechnya – 37, in Karachay-Cherkessia – 25, and in Adygea – 23.

Fifth attack on law enforcers in Ingushetia since early 2020

On August 13, a car was shelled in the village of Surkhakhi in the Nazran District of Ingushetia. Former policeman Mukharbek Aushev, his mother, and his wife were travelling with the shelled car. The man was killed, while the women were wounded. The shelling attack became the fifth assault on law enforcers and the 13th armed incident in Ingushetia since early 2020. Revenge was mentioned as a possible motive for the killing of Mukharbek Aushev. Claims were made against him after a conflict in the Ekazhevo village on March 13, because he provided agents of the Ingush Centre for Combating Extremism (CCE, also known as Centre "E") with his car, in which arrested participants of the conflict were taken away. That fact provoked the claims of arrestees' relatives, fellow villagers of the killed man said.

Resumption of construction of houses for defrauded real estate investors in Volgograd

On August 14, workers of the contracting organizations of the developer "Peresvet-Yug" resumed construction of the Volgograd residential complexes "Admiralteisky" and "Dynasty". Earlier, real estate investors held protest actions with the demand to resume the construction. The residential complexes were supposed to be commissioned back in 2015. In December 2019, at a rally, the defrauded real estate investors stated that they did not believe the authorities' promises to complete their houses in the second quarter of 2020, since no work was being carried out at the facilities. On July 15, the protestors threatened to go on hunger strike. The regional administration allocated 200 million roubles to solve the problems of the defrauded real estate investors. The residential complex "Admiralteisky" is planned to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2021, while the residential complex "Dynasty" – in November 2020.

Bribery case in Stavropol branch of Russian MIA's Krasnodar University

On August 13, law enforcers detained 11 employees of the Stavropol branch of the Krasnodar University of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) on suspicion of taking bribes and organizing a criminal community. According to investigators, in the period from January 2019 to July 2020, the suspects were receiving bribes on an especially large scale for approving tests and exams as successful without actually monitoring the students' knowledge. The total amount of bribes exceeded two million roubles.

Actions in support of protesters in Belarus

In different regions of Russia, including in the south, as well as in Georgia, activists held actions in support of protesters in Belarus, who were dissatisfied with the results of the presidential election on August 9. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), Alexander Lukashenko won 80% of the votes. The protesters treat the election outcome as falsified. The protest actions are being harshly suppressed by law enforcers. The Russian media expressed their indignation at the law enforcers' actions against journalists and demanded from the Belarusian authorities to release detainees. On August 13, rallies were held in Tbilisi and Batumi, and activists called on the authorities of Georgia not to recognize the outcome of the presidential election in Belarus. On August 14 and 15, in Volgograd, activists held pickets in support of the Belarusian protests, and on August 16, in Rostov-on-Don, members of the feminist movement "FEM IZBA" held a flash mob in solidarity with Belarusians who were subjected to violence by law enforcers.

Besides, social network users called the congratulations addressed to Alexander Lukashenko by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to be ridiculous and also compared a story broadcasted by a Belarusian TV Channel with public humiliations on the air of the "Grozny" TV Channel. The above TV story showed a group of detainees who were apologizing to law enforcers and promising "not to make a revolution." On Facebook, users argued about the assessment to be done to the actions of Yuri Karaev, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, a native of North Ossetia, who expressed his regret that "random people" had suffered during the dispersal of the protest actions.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 17, 2020 at 09:10 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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