18 February 2021, 23:29

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 25-31, 2021

Return of refugees, post-war victims, and search for dead bodies in the Karabakh conflict zone; elite real estate apartments of the Kadyrov family in Moscow; crisis in South Ossetia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of January 25-31, 2021, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Return of refugees, post-war victims, and search for dead bodies in Karabakh conflict zone

According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), by January 31, more than 51,000 refugees had returned to Nagorno-Karabakh with the support of Russian peacekeepers. Out of more than 34,000 people who lost their homes, about 8000 got temporary shelters, the Ministry of Social Security, Labour, and Migration of Nagorno-Karabakh reported.

The Russian peacekeepers also help to rebuild infrastructure and demine the conflict zone, where unexploded ordnances still complicate the everyday life. On January 29, Elmeddin Mirzoev, the head of the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), was injured after being blown up by a mine.

On January 30, the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) of Nagorno-Karabakh reported that the number of soldiers' dead bodies found by Karabakh rescuers had reached 1344. On January 27, it was reported that Azerbaijan handed over the bodies of other 31 Armenian soldiers to the Karabakh authorities.

Public outcry provoked by film about "Putin's Palace"

Multi-millionaire Arkady Rotenberg has claimed that the "Putin's palace" from an investigation of the Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF, recognized in the Russian Federation as a foreign agent), which provoked a wide public outcry, belongs to him and is under construction as an apartment hotel. On January 25, Vladimir Putin called the film about the palace a collage.

The "Meduza" has found out that although builders were not informed about the customer, no one doubted that was a residence of the first person of the state. Despite the Kremlin's attempts to distance itself from the Gelendzhik facility, many companies involved in the construction kept on their websites the reports on the prestigious "government contract."

Elite real estate apartments of Kadyrov family in Moscow

Chechen officials from among relatives of Ramzan Kadyrov own apartments in an elite residential complex in Moscow, but do not report them in their property declarations, the media project "Important Stories" reports.

Actions of Navalny's supporters in Russia

On January 31, a second action of activists dissatisfied with the policy of the authorities and the situation around Alexei Navalny, who was arrested for violating the rules of conditional sentence, took place throughout the whole Russia. People took to the streets, despite warnings from the law enforcement bodies. On the eve of the protest action, the police were again detaining activists.

Despite her journalist's card, Alena Sadovskaya, a correspondent of the "Caucasian Knot", was detained in Astrakhan while performing the task of the editorial office. At a police station, officers tried to force her to undergo fingerprinting. In Sochi, the police detained Yelena Kostyuchenko, a correspondent of the newspaper "Novaya Gazeta", and Valeria Zhitkova, an employee of The Bell.

At least seven persons were detained during a march in Krasnodar, about 20 – in Stavropol and three – in Rostov-on-Don.

Besides, during the whole week, there were trials in cases against activists detained on the eve, during, and after the rallies of January 23. Sochi pensioner Konstantin Gudimov was arrested for 10 days for holding a picket in support of Alexei Navalny. In Astrakhan, three female students were fined, and one of them with two other students was expelled from the university.

Crisis in South Ossetia

On January 29, opposition MPs for the third time disrupted a session of the parliament convened by the President of South Ossetia. Anatoly Bibilov threatened that the parliament would be dissolved if MPs continued to boycott the parliamentary sessions. In response, MP David Sanakoev announced that the MPs would return to the work after the demands of relatives of Inal Djabiev, who deceased during his detention, were satisfied. At the moment, the republic has not adopted the budget for the current year, and the powers of the government have not been confirmed.

Investigation about "FSB poisoners"

Law enforcers involved in an assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny also poisoned human rights defender Timur Kuashev in Kabardino-Balkaria, and they were most likely involved in the case with the death of Dagestani activist Ruslan Magomedragimov, activists of a journalistic investigation suggest.

Story of Chechen student Djumaev

Said-Mukhammad Djumaev, a student of the Moscow State University (known as MSU), had a fight with law enforcers at a rally in Moscow. Meanwhile, his case confirms the intention of the Chechen authorities to control their citizens wherever they are. On January 28, the young man was detained and arrested until March 23.

Adam Delimkhanov, the adviser to Ramzan Kadyrov, offered Said-Mukhammad Djumaev to renounce the opposition. In return, he promised that the leader of Chechnya would help the young man solve problems with the law. The lawyers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" suggest that in case if the law enforcers retract their claims, the native of Chechnya may avoid imprisonment.

Relatives of Said-Mukhammad Djumaev met Magomed Daudov, the speaker of the Chechen parliament, and shared the responsibility for the young man's act. Meanwhile, Said-Mukhammad Djumaev became a hero of social media platforms and received massive support among users.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on February 1, 2021 at 10:08 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 25-31, 2021Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 18-24, 2021Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 11-17, 2021.

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