07 December 2020, 18:25

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 30-December 6, 2020

Return of refugees, negotiations on the exchange of prisoners of war, and the exchange of bodies of the soldiers killed in the Karabakh conflict zone; ECtHR's response to the complaints lodged by the men sentenced in a case on the attack on Nalchik; protests in Armenia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 30-December 6, 2020, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Return of refugees, negotiations on exchange of prisoners of war, and exchange of bodies of soldiers killed in Karabakh conflict zone

During the whole week, refugees were continuing to return to their homes in Karabakh. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) as of December 6, over three weeks, more than 34,000 people returned to Karabakh with the support of Russian peacekeepers. About 30,000 others left Armenia unaccompanied, noted Zhirair Mirzoyan, Nagorno-Karabakh Minister for Territorial Administration and Development. Refugees from the territories of the unrecognized republic that came under the control of Azerbaijan also arrive to Stepanakert.

Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on the exchange of prisoners of war in the "all-for-all" format and exchanged their lists.

Furthermore, the search for the dead bodies continues in the conflict zone. The Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) of Nagorno-Karabakh reported about the discovery of the bodies of 693 killed Armenian soldiers. Until December 3, Azerbaijan did not announce the number of the country's soldiers killed in the period from September 27 to November 9. However, on December 3, Azerbaijan disclosed their number – 2783. Soldiers continue to die even after the cessation of the full-scale fighting. So, on December 1, two Karabakh soldiers were killed while demining the territory.

Coronavirus infection spread statistics in Caucasus

Over the past week, Georgia leads in Southern Caucasus in the number of coronavirus-infected patients, while Armenia still leads in the COVID-19 death toll. By December 6, the number of coronavirus-infected people in Georgia reached 162,475, in Azerbaijan – 146,679, in Armenia – 141,937, in Abkhazia – 6511, in Nagorno-Karabakh – 421, and in South Ossetia – 1997. Armenia has already registered 2326 deaths from COVID-19, Azerbaijan – 1632, Georgia – 1504, Abkhazia – 87, Nagorno-Karabakh – 2, and South Ossetia – 34.

By December 6, the total number of people infected with COVID-19 in Southern Russia reached 229,184. Over the past week, the Rostov Region, where 42,056 cases were registered, still leads in terms of the above indicator. The Stavropol Territory with 29,097 COVID-19 patients follows the Rostov Region. In the Volgograd Region, 28,649 people were diagnosed with the coronavirus infection, in the Krasnodar Territory – 23,105, Dagestan – 19,695, the Astrakhan Region – 14,639, Kabardino-Balkaria – 13,294, Karachay-Cherkessia – 12,789, Kalmykia – 12,227, Ingushetia – 9967, North Ossetia – 9847, Adygea – 8635, and Chechnya – 5184.

Over the past week, the Rostov Region registered the highest COVID-19 death toll – 1475. In Dagestan, 1004 patients diagnosed with the coronavirus infection died, the Krasnodar Territory – 643, the Stavropol Territory – 587, the Volgograd Region – 334, the Astrakhan Region – 277, Kabardino-Balkaria – 227, Kalmykia – 162, Ingushetia – 117, Chechnya – 80, North Ossetia – 79, Adygea – 69, and Karachay-Cherkessia – 36.

ECtHR's response to complaints lodged by men sentenced in case on attack on Nalchik

On November 30, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) communicated 20 complaints lodged by the men sentenced in a case on the attack on Nalchik in 2005. The men complain about torture, unfair trials, and violation of the right to liberty and security. According to advocates, the consideration of the convicts' complaints by the Strasbourg Court increases their chances not only for compensation, but also for commutation of sentences. Rasul Kudaev, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, does not receive sufficient medical care, his mother complains.

Protests in Armenia and nomination of candidates for post of Prime Minister

On December 5, at a rally in Yerevan, thousands of activists demanded the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Organizers of the protests threaten to launch actions of disobedience throughout Armenia if Nikol Pashinyan does not resign by December 8. Vazgen Manukyan, an opposition candidate for the post of prime minister, called for the creation of an interim government. Let us remind you that protests began in Armenia after the armistice agreement had been signed, according to which Nagorno-Karabakh lost two-thirds of the territory earlier controlled by Stepanakert. The protest actions banned due to the martial law in force in the country are accompanied by detentions.

Another party, the "Enlightened Armenia" Party, announced the claims to nominate its leader Edmond Marukyan for the post of prime minister. The nomination of candidates for prime minister of Armenia marked the beginning of a political bargaining, political analysts believe.

Hunger strike of real estate investors in Krasnodar

In Krasnodar, real estate investors of the "Our House" residential complex decided to take a desperate step. They declared a hunger strike with the demand to cancel the authorities' decision to demolish the unfinished residential building in which the real estate investors invested their money. Moreover, the protestors also demand to allow the residential building to be completed. On November 28, two female real estate investors set up a tent in front of the building, and on November 30, they were joined by another protestor. The participants of the hunger strike felt bad on the fifth day of their protest action, but announced that they did not intend to stop it. However, on December 3, the hunger-strikers began to accept food after Kuban Governor Veniamin Kondratiev promised to find an opportunity to complete the residential building. The activists said they would resume their hunger strike if the authorities did not solve their problem.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 7, 2020 at 08:57 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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