27 September 2021, 20:59
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 20-26, 2021
Summing up the election results on a single voting day in Southern Russia; death of tourists on Mount Elbrus; Kadyrov’s threats against Zakaev, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 20-26, 2021, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Summing up election results on a single voting day in Southern Russia
Last week, the results of the voting on September 17-19 in the elections to the State Duma of Russia were summed up.
The “Edinaya Rossiya” (United Russia) Party won in all districts of Northern Caucasus. The highest turnout and the highest level of support for the “Edinaya Rossiya” Party – 94.42% and 96.13% – were registered in Chechnya. The election results in Southern Russia also demonstrated the dominance of the “Edinaya Rossiya” Party. Meanwhile, people did not vote the same everywhere. So, at seven polling stations in Dagestan, local residents voted for rivals of the ruling party, while candidates of the “Edinaya Rossiya” Party did not get a single vote.
During the counting of votes and summing up the election results, violations were reported. On September 23, members of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) in North Ossetia declared that they did not recognize the voting results due to numerous ballot stuffing and falsifications. The CPRF pointed to massive violations in the elections in Dagestan. The elections in Rostov-on-Don were called not transparent by candidates for the State Duma from the CPRF, the “Spravedlivaya Rossiya” (Fair Russia) Party, and the “New People” Party. On September 25, in Volgograd and Krasnodar, members of the CPRF held rallies against election violations.
On September 17-19, Chechnya held the direct election of the leader of the republic. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), Ramzan Kadyrov won 99.7% of the votes and thus broke his 2016 record. Experts interviewed by the “Caucasian Knot” pointed out that Ramzan Kadyrov’s victory with an almost 100-percent result was absolutely implausible, but typical of authoritarian regimes. When reporting such results, the authorities demonstrate citizens that they do not decide anything, notes Ruslan Kutaev, the president of the Assembly of Caucasian Nations. In Chechnya, teachers and doctors repeatedly voted against their will at different polling stations, residents of the republic reported.
Death of tourists on Mount Elbrus
Five persons died while climbing Mount Elbrus on September 23, and 16 other members of the tourist group were found alive. The surviving climbers reported that the extreme situation in which five persons died was caused by a sudden deterioration in the weather. According to the preliminary information, the tourists died because of hypothermia. The incident caused a public outcry. Social media users demanded to prohibit climbing Mount Elbrus without preparation. The tragedy resulted from the lack of proper control over commercial companies sending tourists to the mountains, suggested Abdul-Khalim Olmezov, the head of the Federation of Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, and Sports Tourism of Kabardino-Balkaria. On September 25, Kazbek Kokov, the leader of Kabardino-Balkaria, announced the region’s plans to tighten the requirements for the rules of climbing the mountains and improve the safety of tourists.
Kadyrov’s threats against Zakaev
On September 15, Ramzan Kadyrov voiced on Instagram his threats against Akhmed Zakaev, the former Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, living in Great Britain. The leader of Chechnya promised to “burn” Akhmed Zakaev for mentioning the name of Akhmat Kadyrov. Ramzan Kadyrov also accused Akhmed Zakaev of failure to fulfill his promise to return to Chechnya. On September 23, Magomed Daudov, the speaker of the Chechen parliament, threatened that relatives of Akhmed Zakaev would be forced to publicly condemn him if he did not stop criticizing the republic’s authorities. On the same day, it became known about the detention of the Akhmed Zakaev’s relatives in the Achkhoi-Martan District, and then a video was posted in which Akhmed Zakaev’s brothers, living in Chechnya, declared his non-traditional sexual orientation and threatened him with reprisals. After that, another video appeared, in which Ramzan Kadyrov himself insulted Akhmed Zakaev and invited his sons to avenge the insult by arriving in Chechnya.
It should be noted that on September 9 and 22, Akhmed Zakaev posted videos on YouTube with sharp criticism of Akhmat and Ramzan Kadyrov. Akhmed Zakaev also accused Akhmat Kadyrov of working for the KGB and spoke disparagingly about Ramzan Kadyrov. According to Akhmed Zakaev, Ramzan Kadyrov was aware about the impending assassination of his father. Akhmed Zakaev voiced even tougher anti-Kadyrov rhetoric, and it was followed by new threats from Ramzan Kadyrov, administrators of the 1Adat Telegram Channel and blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov pointed out. Akhmed Zakaev lives outside Russia, but the leader of Chechnya perceives him as a rival, note human rights defender Svetlana Gannushkina and journalist Musa Taipov.
Refusal of Turkish company to build Namakhvani HPP in Georgia
On September 22, the Turkish “Enka” (ENKA) Company announced the termination of its contract with the Georgian government on the construction of a hydroelectric power plant (HPP) on the Rioni River. The reason for the termination of the contract was the violation of the conditions and force majeure circumstances. The company referred to massive protests demanding the cancellation of the project. Let us remind you that actions against the Namakhvani HPP continued since late 2020. Residents of the Namakhvani village feared that they would have to move, as the opening of the HPP would lead to the flooding of 500 hectares of land, including forests, arable land, and several villages. According to local residents, the opening of the HPP will lead to changes in weather conditions and, as a result, to crop failures and hunger.
“Kinotavr” film festival in Sochi
On September 18-25, Sochi hosted the 32nd Russian “Kinotavr” film festival, which presented films concerning residents of Northern Caucasus. One of them is the film “Get Ready, Let’s Go to a Party” speaks about female circumcision procedures, which are still practiced in Ingushetia and Dagestan. At the closing, the festival presented the film “Unclenching the Fists” by Kira Kovalenko, a graduate of the Alexander Sokurov director’s workshop at the Kabardino-Balkarian University. The film impressed the audience, who called the film strong and emotional. The jury of the film festival recognized the film about electoral fraud “Almost Spring" directed by Nastya Korkiya as the winner in the nomination “For Purity and Accuracy”. The main award of the film festival went to film “The Sea Worries Ones” by Nikolai Khomerika.
This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on September 27, 2021 at 09:16 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.
Source: CK correspondent