07 June 2021, 14:29
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 31-June 6, 2021
Tension on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan; a scandal and a resounding resignation after the primaries of the “United Russia” Party in Dagestan; transfer of inmates from a church orphan boarding school in Georgia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 31-June 6, 2021, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Tension on border between Armenia and Azerbaijan
Tension remained on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Azerbaijan reported that on June 1, in the area of the village of Armudlu in the Kelbadjar District, about 40 Armenian soldiers entered Azerbaijan, but were expelled to their original position. The Ministry of Defence of Armenia denied the above information. On June 3, it was reported about a conflict between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers on the border of the Gegarkunik Region, as a result of which two soldiers were injured. On May 5, the Armenian Ministry of Defence announced that soldiers opened warning fire at the border to stop attempts of Azerbaijani soldiers to create fortifications there. On the same day, Yerevan reported that the Azerbaijani armed forces fired at a shepherd in the Gegarkunik Region and seized a herd of cows from him, then a shootout between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers took place. The information was not confirmed by Baku. The MoD of Azerbaijan reported a calm situation at the border.
Scandal and loud resignation after primaries of “United Russia” Party in Dagestan
On June 2, Khizri Shikhsaidov, the speaker of the Dagestani parliament, left the post of the secretary of the regional branch of the “Edinaya Rossiya” (United Russia) Party. This happened shortly after the preliminary voting on the selection of candidates for delegates from the “United Russia” Party. On June 1, a fight broke out in Makhachkala between MP Ainutdin Ziyavutdinov and his political opponents. As a result, the MP was hospitalized. According to Ainutdin Ziyavutdinov, he was attacked when he tried to find out about the fate of the ballots from the Kumtorkala District that disappeared after the voting. Ainutdin Ziyavutdinov believes that his party colleagues tried to falsify the data from the polling stations in order to deprive him of victory. The resignation of Khizri Shikhsaidov from the post of the chairman of the “United Russia” regional branch and his replacement with Sergey Melikov increased the political weight of the leader of the region, analysts suggest.
Verdict of guilty pronounced against doctors in case on death of woman in labour in Volgograd Region
The court recognized Natalia Andreeva and Elena Popova, doctors of the Volzhsky Prenatal Centre, as involved in the death of a woman in labour and sentenced each of them to two years of imprisonment. In January 2017, Elena Machkalyan died after giving birth to a child. At trial, experts stated that the Elena Machkalyan’s death was caused by the wrong actions of the doctors. Elena Popova and Natalia Andreeva claimed that the woman in labour died because of her liver disease and pleaded not guilty. The widower believes the doctors presented to the court incomplete data on the Elena’s state of health before her death in order to absolve themselves of responsibility. According to Aram Machkalyan, the court should have sentenced the doctors to more severe punishment. Officials should also be held responsible for the death of the patient, a lawyer and the head of the “Alliance of Doctors” believe.
Opening land borders for tourists and transferring inmates from a church orphan boarding school in Georgia
On June 1, Georgia opened land borders that remained closed since March 15, 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Foreigners may enter the country after being fully vaccinated against coronavirus and submitting a negative test. After the opening of the borders, the Georgian authorities expect an increase in the number of tourists. The country’s health resorts are ready to welcome foreigners. Russia has not yet lifted the restrictions on leaving the country across the land border, but citizens can leave for Georgia with referrals for medical treatment. The high quality of medical services in Georgia, combined with the prices lower than in Russia, makes medical tourism an attractive destination for residents of Northern Caucasus and other regions, experts note.
On June 5, an officer of the NGO “Partnership for Human Rights” (PHR) announced the court’s decision according to which all inmates of the St. Nino Djavakheti boarding school for orphans, operated by the Georgian Orthodox Church, should be transferred to families and family-type shelters. On June 3, a former inmate of the orphan boarding school told the “Mtavari Arkhi” TV Channel that children were beaten there, in one case even to death. The brutal punishments of children at the orphan boarding school had been reported earlier, but the authorities did not react to the reports, human rights defenders note. Employees of the Georgian Ombudsperson’s Office could not get into the orphan boarding school for almost a year, because the Archbishop of Shalta did not let them enter it. On June 3, Georgia’s Ombudsperson Nino Lomdjariya reported that since 2016, three criminal cases had been instituted on violence in the orphan boarding school and one – on rape. Officials began to take children out of the orphan boarding school even before the court’s decision had been pronounced.
This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 7, 2021 at 09:27 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.