22 November 2021, 20:54

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 15-21, 2021

Aggravation of the situation at the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan; end of the Mikhail Saakashvili’s hunger strike after his transfer to a military hospital, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of November 15-21, 2021, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Aggravation of situation at border between Armenia and Azerbaijan

On November 16, clashes broke out near the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which ended after the negotiations involving the parties to the conflict and the Russian Defence Minister. According to the official information, the Azerbaijan’s losses included seven soldiers killed and 10 wounded. The Ministry of Defence of Armenia reported one killed soldier, but on November 19, Baku handed over the bodies of three other killed soldiers to Armenia. On November 17-18, shootouts continued at the border. The opposition called on the Armenian authorities to arm residents of border villages.

On November 19, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan accepted the invitation of Charles Michel, President of the European Council, to meet at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on December 15. Russia and Western countries have different interests in Southern Caucasus, political analysts Saro Saroyan and Armen Vardanyan suggest. Meanwhile, they expressed their scepticism concerning the likelihood of reaching important agreements. The meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels is undesirable for Russia, political observer Naira Airumyan believes.

End of Mikhail Saakashvili’s hunger strike after his transfer to military hospital

On November 20, former president of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili was taken from the Gldani prison hospital to a hospital in the city of Gori. Mikhail Saakashvili ended his hunger strike on the 50th day. On November 18, he fainted and was transferred to a resuscitation ward. The Ombudsperson of Georgia demanded to transfer the former president of Georgia on hunger strike to a civil hospital and stated that his condition was life threatening. Let us remind you that the politician went on hunger strike immediately after his arrest, on October 1. Advocates, a personal doctor, and supporters sought to transfer Mikhail Saakashvili to a civilian clinic. Getting out of the hunger strike is a very difficult process, and doctors are monitoring the Mikhail Saakashvili’s condition, reports a member of the politician’s health monitoring council.

Earlier, the Georgian authorities doubted that Mikhail Saakashvili was on hunger strike. In October, the Minister of Justice announced that the former president was eating porridge and drinking juices. The politician replied that he did not take food, but after such statements, he refused juices and vitamins. Starting from November 10, oppositionists held protest actions every day with the demand to release the former president of Georgia. Elene Khoshtariya, the leader of the “Droa” (It’s Time) Party, and nine MPs went on hunger strike in support of Mikhail Saakashvili.

Third conflict within 12 days involving Ingush and Ossetian natives in North Ossetia

On November 15, on the outskirts of the Dachnoye village in the Prigorodny District, local residents, natives of Ingushetia and Ossetia, had a quarrel. According to eyewitnesses, one of the participants in the conflict was injured during the fight. Both parties to the conflict stated that they had no claims to each other. The conflict became the third one in North Ossetia within 12 days. The first was a fight in the village of Dachnoye on November 4. The police reported about the arrest of the instigators and hospitalization of a teenager. On November 10, a shootout took place in Vladikavkaz, in which two men were injured.

A fight in the Prigorodny District and a shootout in Vladikavkaz indicate that the Ossetian-Ingush conflict has not been resolved and can go on for other decades, analysts suggest. They believe that the situation is being aggravated by the officials’ attempts to classify the conflicts between Ingush and Ossetian people as of domestic nature. Even domestic conflicts in the Prigorodny District will be perceived as interethnic, while Ingush natives feel themselves an oppressed minority, says Albert Darbazanov, the head of the “Daimokhk” national-cultural society, and human rights defender Timur Akiev.

Protests of residents of Gelendzhik and Anapa against new general plans of urbanization in resort cities

In several municipalities of the Krasnodar Territory, the authorities have developed new general plans of urbanization that set up a recreation area of 500 meters from the sea, which means a ban on housing construction there. Local residents living on the mentioned territory fear that they will have to resettle or be restricted in their rights to property, which will lose its price. On November 16, public hearings on the new general plan of urbanization in Gelendzhik provoked a protest action, in which about 1000 people demanded to retract the above plan. At a gathering on October 24, local residents also expressed their protest against the new general plan of urbanization. After that, the authorities assured the local residents that the adoption of the new general urbanization plan would not be followed by the demolition of legally erected residential buildings. According to a human rights defender, the authorities are trying to lull the vigilance of the city residents by assuring that everyone’s opinion will be taken into account.

Residents of Anapa also believe that officials are trying to change the general plan of the city urbanization for their own interests and without taking into account the opinion of the city residents.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on November 22, 2021 at 09:35 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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