21 March 2022, 14:51

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of March 14-20, 2022

Echo in Southern Russia of the special military operation in Ukraine; decision of the ECtHR on the complaint filed by the “Caucasian Knot” and Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe; resumption of gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh; preparations for the presidential election in South Ossetia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of March 14-20, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Echo in Southern Russia of special military operation in Ukraine

The special military operation in Ukraine, launched on February 24, continues. Residents of the southern regions of Russia, as well as the countries of Southern Caucasus, are engaged in collecting and sending humanitarian aid to victims. So, on March 19, it was reported that residents of Georgia collected and sent to Ukraine the humanitarian cargo weighing up to 580 tons. On the same day, the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) of Abkhazia reported that food, drinking water, and power generators had been sent to the Donetsk People’s Republic as humanitarian aid, and the Baku City Mayoralty reported about 30 tons of humanitarian aid with food and essentials sent to Kiev. On March 15, the government of Dagestan reported the dispatch of 80 tons of humanitarian aid to residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR, respectively), now accommodated in Crimea.

Refugees keep coming from the fighting zone. In just one day on March 18, more than 13,000 residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR, respectively) arrived in the Rostov Region. There are about 300 temporary accommodation centres (TACs) in the region with food and medical care, from where refugees are being sent to other regions. Since the beginning of the evacuation, more than 14,000 people have been delivered by rail from the Rostov Region to 19 constituent entities of Russia, the country’s Ministry for Emergencies reported on March 19.

Almost every day, the authorities of the regions, districts, and cities of Southern Russia report about military compatriots who perished in Ukraine. By March 19, it was reported that at least 17 natives of Kuban, at least 23 soldiers from North Ossetia, and at least 40 natives of Dagestan perished during the special military operation.

After protest actions against the special military operation, their participants are subject to administrative punishment. So, on March 14, the Central District Court of Volgograd arrested for six days four residents of the city detained at a protest action in Volgograd for refusing to undergo a medical examination. On the other day, the court fined each protestor 40,000 roubles for discrediting the use of the Russian armed forces. Activists are detained in other regions as well. On March 18, Alipat Sultanbegova was detained in Krasnodar for posts in social media, one of which, according to the law enforcement bodies’ version, discredited the Russian armed forces, while the other incited hatred towards law enforcers.

Decision of ECtHR on complaint filed by “Caucasian Knot” and Russia’s withdrawal from Council of Europe

In connection with the termination of the Russia’s membership in the Council of Europe (CE), on March 16, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) reported that it had temporarily stopped considering complaints from Russia. One of the last cases considered by the European Court was the complaint filed by the “Caucasian Knot”. On March 15, the ECtHR granted the complaint of the “Caucasian Knot” by recognizing violations in a case on the lawsuit on defamation filed by the administration of the Volgograd Region. The “Caucasian Knot” did not demand moral compensation. When commenting on the decision pronounced by the ECtHR, lawyer Anita Soboleva has emphasized that the authorities should be tolerant of constructive criticism and conscientiously perform their functions.

Let us remind you that on March 16, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE) decided to terminate the Russia’s powers in the Council of Europe. According to the lawyers interviewed by the “Caucasian Knot”, the cases that came from Russian citizens to the European Court prior to the Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe must be considered, and the decisions made up to that time must be fulfilled. The Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe is a blow to the people who defended their cases in the European Court, says Ella Kesaeva, the co-chair of the public committee “Voice of Beslan”.

On March 16, the “Caucasian Knotwas blocked by the decision of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office, but did not stop its activities. We urge readers of the “Caucasian Knot” to install our mobile application for Android and IOS. If the application is removed from Play Market or App Store, you will still be able to use the already installed application to read our news. On the territory of Russia, you can continue to read our news on the website via VPN and on Facebook and Twitter, as well as in Telegram without using VPN. You can watch our videos on YouTube.

Resumption of gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh

On March 16, in the territory controlled by Azerbaijan, workers started repairing the Shushi-Zariflu gas pipeline, due to damage to which the gas supply to Nagorno-Karabakh was earlier stopped. On March 19, it was reported that the repair of the gas pipeline was completed and gas began to flow to the receiving point of the gas supply organization. On the same day, natural gas began to flow into houses of residents of Nagorno-Karabakh. Let us remind you that due to the accident on the gas pipeline, on the night of March 8, amid the cold winter, there was no fuel supply to the houses of residents of Nagorno-Karabakh for 11 days. On March 10, the Ombudsperson of Nagorno-Karabakh announced humanitarian problems due to the cut-off gas supply.

Preparations for presidential election in South Ossetia

In South Ossetia, preparations for the presidential election are underway. The voting is scheduled for April 10. On February 20, the Central Election Commission (CEC) completed the acceptance of documents from the initiative groups and political parties that nominated their candidates. Fifteen candidates submitted 3500 signatures to the CEC, and two candidates failed to collect enough signatures. On March 15, the CEC registered five candidates for the presidency of South Ossetia, including Anatoly Bibilov, the incumbent leader of the republic, Alan Gagloev, the leader of the “Nykhas” Party, former MP Dmitry Tasoev, MP Garry Muldarov, and Alexander Pliev, the deputy speaker of the parliament. Twelve candidates were turned down, including former Defence Minister Ibragim Gasseev and MP David Sanakoev, who were considered real contenders for the presidency. The CEC explained that they were refused because of the violations committed during the collection of signatures, incomplete information on income, and poor results in a language test. David Sanakoev, Ibragim Gasseev, and four other politicians challenged the refusal in court.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on March 21, 2022 at 09:40 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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