14 June 2021, 14:53

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 7-13, 2021

Kidnapping by law enforcers of a young woman who escaped from Chechnya and lived in a Makhachkala shelter for victims of domestic violence; fatal shooting of court marshals in Sochi; beginning of the election campaign in Armenia; resignation of the speaker of the Dagestani parliament, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of June 7-13, 2021, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Kidnapping by law enforcers of a young woman who escaped from Chechnya and lived in a Makhachkala shelter for victims of domestic violence

On June 10, Dagestani law enforcers and their colleagues from Chechnya came to a Makhachkala apartment shelter for victims of domestic violence. They detained staff members of the “Marem” project and Khalimat Taramova, a young woman from Chechnya. The law enforcers also detained a mother and her 15-year-old daughter, who were hiding from domestic violence. According to journalist Svetlana Anokhina, a father of Khalimat Taramova, one of the Ramzan Kadyrov’s close associates, also came to the shelter. The young woman refused to go with her father, and then the police persuaded her and her female friend to get into a car. The young women were promised they would be brought to a safe place. However, both were finally taken to the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Dagestan, where Khalimat Taramova was handed over to her relatives. An activist of the NGO “Legal Initiative”* reported that Khalimat Taramova was handed over to her relatives in Chechnya and that there is no contact with her since then. According to the human rights organization “Russian LGBT Network”*, Khalimat Taramova had to flee Chechnya to save herself from domestic violence to which she was subjected because of her sexual orientation. The human rights defenders fear that the young woman faces murder for “washing dirty linen of the family in public.”

Svetlana Anokhina, a volunteer of the “Marem” project, and the rest of the detainees were accused of failure to obey to legal police requests, but were acquitted by a court in Makhachkala. A lawyer filed complaints to the Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) about the beating by the police of the persons detained at the Makhachkala apartment shelter and the illegal detention in a building of the law enforcement body.

The incident highlights the vulnerable position of victims of violence in shelters. The kidnapping by law enforcers of the young woman from the apartment shelter in Makhachkala can undermine the confidence of victims of domestic violence in the safety of shelters, social psychologist Nailya Birarova believes.

Fatal shooting of court marshals in Sochi

On June 9, in Sochi, two court marshals were shot dead from a hunting rifle after they came to evict local resident Vartan Kochyan from a building recognized as an unauthorized construction. 61-year-old Vartan Kochyan himself reported the murder and surrendered to the police. He was arrested. During the incident, a third person was also wounded, investigators report. Social media users note that the Sochi resident was driven to despair because he could not legally defend his property.

Beginning of election campaign in Armenia

On June 7, Armenia launched an agitation campaign for the early parliamentary elections. The voting will take place on June 20. Twenty-two parties and four blocs nominated 2620 candidates for seats in the parliament. Local residents interviewed by the “Caucasian Knot” correspondent say they are actively following the election process. According to political analysts, the election results are difficult to predict due to the strong influence of volatile foreign policy factors and a large proportion of undecided voters. According to the polling results, the Nikol Pashinyan’s party and the bloc led by former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan are leading and gaining almost equal number of votes.

Let us remind you that the agreement on the early parliamentary elections was reached after several months of protests by the opposition, dissatisfied with the defeat of Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. To enable early elections, the parliamentary majority twice rejected the candidacy of its leader, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. At present, like other ministers, he is temporarily acting as the Prime Minister.

Resignation of speaker of Dagestani parliament

On June 7, Khizri Shikhsaidov resigned from the post of the chairman of the People’s Assembly of Dagestan, which he had held since February 2013. On June 9, the parliament of Dagestan accepted his resignation. 74-year-old Khizri Shikhsaidov himself explained that he had decided to retire. Analysts interviewed by the “Caucasian Knot” questioned his voluntary resignation. It should be noted that on June 2, Khizri Shikhsaidov left the post of the secretary of the regional branch of the “Edinaya Rossiya” (United Russia) Party amid his party colleague’s claims about an attempt to rig the results of the primaries in Dagestan.

The organization is included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the register of non-profit organizations-foreign agents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 14, 2021 at 09:17 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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