05 April 2021, 15:51

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of March 29-April 4, 2021

Decisions of the European Court on complaints from residents of Ingushetia and Dagestan; arrest of the regional government deputy chair and the mass poisoning of people in the Stavropol Territory; unrest in Georgia provoked by the arrival of Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of March 29-April 4, 2021, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Decisions of European Court on complaints from residents of Ingushetia and Dagestan

On March 30, two decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concerning complaints lodged by residents of Dagestan and Ingushetia were reported.

The ECtHR recognized the death in a penal colony of Tarkhan Kartoev, a native of Ingushetia, sentenced in a case on blowing up the Nevsky Express train, a violation of the right to life. Let us remind you that the complaint filed in the interests of the Tarkhan Kartoev’s relatives – his father and widow – contained a request to the Court to find that the death of the prisoner was caused by torture in the penal colony. When the relatives of the deceased prisoner got his body for burial, they found a lot of bruises and wounds on it. Meanwhile, the Russian authorities declared the non-violent death of Tarkhan Kartoev: according to the Federal Penitentiary Service (known as FSIN), the prisoner died of acute cardiovascular failure. According to Oksana Preobrazhenskaya, a lawyer representing the complainants’ interests in the court, the decision of the ECtHR proves that the case of the Tarkhan Kartoev’s death has not yet been put to an end.

Another decision pronounced by the ECtHR concerns the case of shepherds Nabi and Gasangusein Gasanguseinov who were killed in Dagestan in August 2016. The Strasbourg Court concluded that the Russian authorities were responsible for the killing of the shepherds by law enforcers and for the failure to conduct an effective investigation into their deaths. The ECtHR awarded the compensation to the killed shepherds’ father in the amount of 120,000 euros. Let us remind you that initially, the law enforcement bodies declared the killed shepherds militants. Murtazali Gasanguseinov, the father of the killed brothers, held numerous protest actions and succeeded in seeking the institution of a criminal case on the killing of his sons. However, the persons guilty for the shepherds’ killing have not been identified.

Arrest of regional government deputy chair and mass poisoning of people in Stavropol Territory

On March 30, Roman Petrashov, the acting deputy chair of the government of the Stavropol Territory, was arrested on suspicion of fraud, and on March 31, a court in Moscow pronounced a decision to take the suspect into custody. According to the investigators’ version, in the period from 2013 to 2015, Roman Petrashov received at least 130 million roubles for his promises to conclude contract and subcontract agreements for the development of gas and oil fields. Roman Petrashov is the second deputy chair of the regional government detained in the Stavropol Territory. On March 12, Alexander Zolotaryov, the deputy chair of the government of the Stavropol Territory, was detained, and on March 14, the court arrested him for two months on suspicion of taking bribes worth 63 million roubles.

On March 30, sixty-seven residents of the village of Maryiny Kolodtsy in the Mineralovodsky District of the Stavropol Territory addressed doctors with symptoms of poisoning. Governor Vladimirov reported about an outbreak of rotavirus and norovirus infections in the village, and Instagram users pointed to regular problems with the quality of drinking water in the village. By April 3, the number of poisoning cases increased to 181, and thirteen people were hospitalized. Based on the results of the inspection, the prosecutor's office concluded that the mass poisoning of the villagers was caused by norovirus infection: the pathogen was detected in the tap water.

Unrest in Georgia provoked by arrival of Vladimir Pozner

On March 31, in Tbilisi, activists, including members of the opposition “United National Movement” (UNM) Party, held protest actions with the demand that Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner, who came to the city to celebrate his birthday, should leave the country. The protesters explained that they were dissatisfied with the Vladimir Posner’s statements about the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. The activists on protest disrupted a dinner to be organized at a restaurant to celebrate the Vladimir Posner’s birthday, and on the night of April 1, the protestors tried to break into a hotel where the TV presenter and other members of the Russian delegation were staying. The journalist, who was planning to leave Georgia on April 3, left Tbilisi the very other day. On April 1, the opponents of Vladimir Posner desecrated a monument to Alexander Griboyedov in Tbilisi by leaving on it an anti-Russian inscription and an insult to the journalist. While commenting on the incident, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili and Mamuka Mdinaradze, a member of the ruling “Georgian Dream” Party, claimed that the opposition protests damaged the country’s image. Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the Russian State Duma, voiced the conclusion that visits to Georgia turned out to be unsafe.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 5, 2021 at 11:35 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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