11 January 2021, 15:28

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 4-10, 2020

Celebration of Christmas during the pandemic; return of refugees, demining of territories, and search for the bodies of the people killed in the Karabakh conflict zone, arrangement of Shusha city by the Azerbaijani side; reconciliation of the Ingush teip members with relatives of the policemen attacked in Grozny; decision to evict the family of a man suspected of murder from the Makhachkala village, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of January 4-10, 2020, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Celebration of Christmas during pandemic

On January 6, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Christmas liturgies took place at churches of the Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC). For the first time, the top-ranking officials of Armenia did not attend the Christmas service at the Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan. Armenian President Armen Sarkisyan, infected with the coronavirus, stayed in self-isolation in London. The press secretary for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan explained his absence by the epidemiological situation. On the same day, festive services took place in honour of the Nativity of Christ and Epiphany at the churches of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Georgian authorities lifted the curfew on the Christmas night so that believers could attend festive services. Meanwhile, the traditional Alilo Christmas procession was cancelled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Return of refugees, demining of territories, and search for bodies of people killed in Karabakh conflict zone, arrangement of Shusha city captured by Azerbaijan during autumn battles

Refugees continue to return to their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), by January 10, with the support of the Russian peacekeepers, over 48,000 refugees had returned to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russian peacekeepers also help to rebuild infrastructure facilities and demine the conflict zone. By January 10, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence, the peacekeepers had defused more than 22,000 explosive ordnances on over 446 hectares of terrain. The Azerbaijani side also conduct mine clearance. At the place where the Karabakh armed forces were deployed in the Agdam District, 528 ordnances were found and neutralized, including 27 shells with white phosphorus, the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) reported on January 7.

The search for dead bodies is underway in the zone of the autumn hostilities. In total, after the peace agreement had been signed, Karabakh rescuers found 1197 bodies of deceased soldiers, the Nagorno-Karabakh Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) reported on January 9. On January 5, Armenia reported the new number of casualties among Nagorno-Karabakh military personnel. Forensic experts identified the bodies of 3360 Armenian soldiers killed in the Karabakh conflict, the Armenian Ministry for Public Health reported.

On January 5, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev declared that the city of Shusha (the Armenian name is Shushi, – note of the "Caucasian Knot"), which was captured during the autumn escalation of the Karabakh conflict, would become the cultural capital of the country. Ilham Aliev issued instructions to his subordinates to return the city of Shusha to its historical appearance, restore mosques, and return the Days of Vagif's Poetry and the "Khary Bulbul" Festival back to the city.

Reconciliation of Ingush teip members with relatives of policemen attacked in Grozny

On January 7, members of the Timurziev and Sultygov Ingush teips (family clans) arrived in Chechnya, and the reconciliation with relatives of the killed and wounded policemen took place. Let us remind you that on December 28, 2020, in Grozny, there was an attack on police inspectors, during which one of them was killed, while another was wounded. Both attackers – the Timurziev brothers, natives of Ingushetia – were also killed during the attack. After the incident, Chechen law enforcers detained relatives of the Timurziev brothers. Relatives of killed policeman Magomed Djabrailov declared blood feud against the Timurziev brothers' relatives, while the Ersno teip, relatives of the wounded policeman, declared enmity with the Timurziev and Sultygov teips. After reconciliation, the police promised to release in three to four days the detained relatives of the killed Timurziev brothers, one of the participants of the reconciliation ceremony said. Users of social networks criticized the reconciliation of the Ingush teip with the Chechens. According to the social network users, when the members of the Timurziev and Sultygov teips agreed to participate in the reconciliation of the blood feud conflict organized by the Chechen authorities, they followed the lead of the Chechens, but still did not achieve the release of their detained relatives. It should be noted that at the meeting held in Grozny on the occasion of the reconciliation of the blood feud conflict, the Ingush elders delivered speeches to praise Akhmat Kadyrov, the first president of Chechnya, and stated that they should have apologized earlier. At the same meeting, Magomed Daudov and Adam Delimkhanov emphasized that the Timurziev and Sultygov teips must stop criticism of Ramzan Kadyrov in Ingushetia, otherwise the Chechen authorities would have to do that. Meanwhile, Adam Delimkhanov called Ramzan Kadyrov "the leader of the Vainakhs," and Magomed Daudov declared it was inacceptable to criticize the leader of Chechnya for the agreement on the border with Ingushetia, which caused mass protests.

Decision to evict family of man suspected of murder from Makhachkala village

On January 3, activist Vali Abduragimov, a 23-year-old local resident, was killed on the slope of Tarki-Tau Mountain in Makhachkala. According to users of the social networks, the activist was trying to "unite the village jamaat against drug dealers" and claimed the involvement of a former law enforcer in illicit trafficking in illegal substances. On January 6, in the Makhachkala village of Tarki, a mass fight broke out during a gathering at which the murder of Vali Abduragimov was discussed. Kerim Khairullaev, a native of Makhachkala, was killed during the above fight. The police detained two local residents on suspicion of the mentioned murders. On January 7, the City Mayor of Makhachkala, officials, and law enforcers met residents of the village at the Tarki mosque. The Makhachkala Mayor entrusted the solution of the problem to the local alims and called on the people to follow the alims' decision. On January 7, a source reported that the family of the man suspected of murdering Vali Abduragimov would be ordered to move out of the village. On January 8, the imam of the Tarki mosque voiced the above decision. Users of social network argued whether such methods were acceptable in modern society.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on January 11, 2021 at 09:20 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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