26 April 2021, 17:59

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 19-25, 2021

Actions in support of Alexei Navalny in Southern Russia; events to mark the 106th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; mutual accusations of shelling attacks voiced by the parties to the Karabakh conflict, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 19-25, 2021, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Actions in support of Alexei Navalny in Southern Russia

On April 21, various cities of Russia, including in the southern regions, hosted actions in support of oppositionist Alexei Navalny. At least 1788 people were detained, the “OVD-Info” reported. Since March 31, Alexei Navalny had been on a hunger strike in a penal colony where he was serving his sentence. The oppositionist demanded to let an invited doctor visit him and the medicines be handed over to him. In Rostov, Alexei Navalny’s office counted 12 detained activists. In Volgograd, the police detained at least 10 people. In Sochi, according to advocate Sergey Kostyuk, more than 70 people were detained at a protest action. Besides, the law enforcement bodies reported about 10 people detained at a rally in Makhachkala. In Astrakhan, eyewitnesses reported about the detention of at least 27 of Alexei Navalny’s supporters.

On April 19, Ella Kesaeva, the co-chair of the “Voice of Beslan” public committee, and four other activists of the movement began a hunger strike in solidarity with Alexei Navalny. On April 23, the politician announced that he had stopped his hunger strike. The oppositionist also noted that he was touched by the solidarity hunger strike held by the “Voice of Beslan” pubic committee. After the statement voiced by Alexei Navalny, the activists also stopped their hunger strike.

Events to mark 106th anniversary of Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Empire

On April 23, Yerevan hosted a torchlight procession to mark Armenian Genocide Memorial Day. Participants of the action called for seeking compensation from Turkey. They gathered in front of the US Embassy to express their gratitude for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. On April 24, following the Congress, US President Joe Biden recognized the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) claimed that the Joe Biden’s remarks were based solely on populism, while Baku accused the US leader of distorting the historical truth. In Stepanakert, participants of the memorial events requested the world community to recognize the Armenian Genocide and the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Mutual accusations of shelling attacks voiced by parties to Karabakh conflict

Residents of Stepanakert and the villages of Shosh and Mkhitarashen reported about shelling attacks from Azerbaijan on April 20. According to the police of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Stepanakert, the roof of a residential building was damaged, while people were not injured. In turn, the Border Guard Service of Azerbaijan claims that after the visit of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to the Syunik Region on April 21, Azerbaijani border checkpoints were also subjected to shelling attacks. For an hour, Azerbaijani soldiers had been firing in the direction of three villages in the Syunik Region, Kapan Mayor Gevorg Farsyan reported. With its frequent shelling attacks, Azerbaijan is deliberately generating panic among civilians, the Karabakh Defence Army claims.

Return of North-Caucasian natives’ children from Syria to Russia

On April 19, forty-four children returned from Syria to Russia. According to the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, after medical examination the children will be handed over to their relatives, including in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria, and the Stavropol Territory. The group of children returned to Moscow includes two grandchildren of Aishat Djangurazova, a resident of Nalchik. After the husband of the woman’s daughter had been killed and the daughter herself had been captured, four of their children ended up in a refugee camps and two of them still stay in Syria, the woman says.

Resignation of Nikol Pashinyan from his post of Prime Minister of Armenia

On April 25, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he was resigning. According to the politician, early parliamentary elections will be held in case of MP’s repeated failure to elect a new Prime Minister of Armenia. Let us remind you that after the conclusion of the ceasefire agreement on Karabakh on November 9, 2020, the Armenian opposition began holding protest actions with the demand of the Armenian Prime Minister’s resignation. On March 18, Nikol Pashinyan announced that the early parliamentary elections would be held on June 20. The politician also announced that he would leave office in April to hold elections, but would continue to serve as the chair of the Armenian government. The opposition considered such a decision unacceptable, while political analysts called it a manoeuvre to comply with the “letter of the law.”

Agreement between Georgian authorities and opposition and resignation of speaker of Georgian parliament

On April 19, the ruling “Georgian Dream” Party and opposition parties came to an agreement on holding parliamentary elections and releasing political prisoners. The agreement will allow the opposition to enter parliament while maintaining its reputation, analysts note. On March 29, at a meeting with the representative of Christian Danielson, President of the European Council, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili assured that the government would compromise with the opposition in order to resolve the political crisis after the autumn parliamentary elections. On April 1, MEPs called on the Georgian authorities to come to a compromise under the threat of suspension of further financial transfers to Georgia. On April 24, Archil Talakvadze, the speaker of the Georgian parliament, announced that he was resigning in order to build the correct political processes after the agreement reached by the authorities and the opposition.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 26, 2021 at 09:10 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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