11 October 2021, 21:51

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 4-7, 2021

15th anniversary of the Anna Politkovskaya’s murder; Kadyrov’s inauguration as the leader of Chechnya; collapse of a five-storey building in Batumi, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of October 4-7, 2021, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

15th anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder

The day of October 7 marked the 15th anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, a columnist of the newspaper “Novaya Gazeta”. The edition presented a documentary about the progress of the investigation into the criminal case. According to it, law enforcers put pressure on a secret witness in the murder case and demanded from him to “testify correctly” as investigators needed. According to the Russian legislations, this year the “statute of limitations” of the crime expires, and it can only be extended by a court, otherwise customers will go unpunished. The murder is being investigated under the capital punishment article, and the statute of limitations is extremely rarely applied on such cases, lawyers note. Let us remind you that Anna Politkovskaya, well known for her articles about the war and human rights violations in Chechnya, was killed in Moscow on October 7, 2006. A court found Lom-Ali Gaitukaev to be a customer of the murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Rustam Makhmudov was recognized as the direct executor of the crime. However, relatives and colleagues of the murdered journalist believe that the real customer of the crime has not yet been identified.

Kadyrov’s inauguration as leader of Chechnya

On October 5, Ramzan Kadyrov officially took office as the leader of Chechnya and promised to respect and protect the rights of citizens. According to the election commission, he won 99.7% of the votes in the election for the leader of Chechnya. Thus, Ramzan Kadyrov broke his 2016 record when he got 97% of the votes. According to the “InterRecord”, Ramzan Kadyrov’s result became a world record in the election of regional leaders. According to analysts, the victory of Ramzan Kadyrov is absolutely implausible and typical for authoritarian regimes. The inauguration of the leader of Chechnya coincided with his birthday and the 203rd anniversary of Grozny. Ramzan Kadyrov unites holidays to be more public, and his ambitions grow from year to year, human rights defender Svetlana Gannushkina says.

Collapse of a five-storey building in Batumi

On October 8, an entrance to a five-storey residential building collapsed in Batumi. As a result, nine persons were killed. Eyewitnesses said an explosion preceded the collapse. The police detained three workers, and they are charged with violation of safety rules during installation works. The collapse of the building highlighted the problems of chaotic development in Batumi, experts say. There are cases when several floors are illegally added on many houses, architect Irakli Rostomashvili reports.

Scandal at exhibition of contemporary art in Vladikavkaz

On October 4, an exhibition of the “Alanika” 14th International Festival of Contemporary Art was opened in Vladikavkaz. Artists from Russia and other countries presented their works in which they tried to combine modernity and tradition and shared their views on the problems of North Ossetia and their impact on the perception of the past. Residents of Vladikavkaz note it is a great success to get to the exhibition of contemporary art, since they are held very rarely. However, on October 5, the exhibition was closed until the morning of the other day after the dissatisfaction expressed by some of the visitors. They called the performance “Taekhuda” occult and contradicting the traditional Ossetian beliefs. The drawings by Rostan Tavasiev and the project of Kaliningrad artist Yevgeny Umansky “Stones are my fathers” caused a sharp rejection of the visitors. The organizers removed part of the Yevgeny Umansky’s project from the exposition, but called on the public to be more tolerant and indulge into the meaning of projects before condemning them. According to Anna Kabisova, a participant of the “Alanika” festival of contemporary art, and Anton Valkovsky, a curator of cultural projects, the aggressive attitude towards contemporary art arises in Northern Caucasus because of insufficient education of people and the “culture of condemnation” spread in the region.

Tightening of anti-COVID measures in regions of Southern Russia

In Southern Russia, the authorities of several regions decided to tighten measures in connection with the spread of the coronavirus infection. Chechnya will restrict visits to public places for those unvaccinated from COVID-19. In the Rostov Region, the authorities have expanded a circle of persons to be subjected to compulsory vaccination. In Adygea, the authorities have banned mass banquets, wedding parties, and funeral ceremonies starting from October 11. Besides, on October 11, the authorities of Kabardino-Balkaria tightened the anti-COVID restrictions and obliged employers to transfer to remote work up to 40% of unvaccinated employees. In the Volgograd Region, the authorities have banned those who have not been vaccinated to be accommodated at sanatoriums and guesthouses without a negative test for coronavirus starting from October 18.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 11, 2021 at 09:28 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: CK correspondent

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