25 April 2022, 15:58

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 18-24, 2022

Arrival of refugees in Southern Russia, death in Ukraine of military personnel from the southern regions of Russia, persecution of pacifists; events dedicated to the 107th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire; protests in Yerevan with the demand to maintain the independent status of Nagorno-Karabakh, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 18-24, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Arrival of refugees in Southern Russia; death in Ukraine of military personnel from southern regions of Russia, and persecution of pacifists

Refugees continue to arrive from the zone of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, launched on February 24. In total, according to the FSB Department for the Rostov Region, 951,329 people were evacuated to Russia. Refugees from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic (DPR and LPR, respectively), note that they try to quickly draw up documents for allowances and immediately leave back, as they do not want to leave their homes for a long time. According to residents of the LPR, the situation in their villages and towns is generally calm, and it is the difficult economic situation that forced them to come for allowances.

Almost every day, the authorities of the regions, districts, and cities of Southern Russia report about the death in Ukraine of compatriots from among the military personnel. By April 25, the information about at least 235 perished natives of Southern Russia has been confirmed, including 168 natives of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD). Of them, 90 deceased were residents of Dagestan.

In Southern Russia, activists hold actions, mostly in the form of solo pickets, to protest against the special military operation in Ukraine. Last week, several people were fined on the charge of discrediting the Russian army, including residents of the cities of Novorossiysk, Krasnodar, and Volgograd. The number of residents of Southern Russia brought to justice under the article about discrediting the Russian Armed Forces due to posts on social media is also growing. A fine was imposed on a resident of Krasnodar who set fire to a sofa on the street, writing a word with the letter Z next to it. In addition, in Nalchik, the police detained a man whose daughter tore off a sticker in the form of the letter Z from a police officer’s car.

Events dedicated to 107th anniversary of Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Empire

On April 23, Yerevan hosted a torchlight procession in connection with the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Participants of the action burned the flags of Turkey and Azerbaijan and demanded from the authorities to renounce territorial concessions. According to residents of Yerevan, their grandparents recalled with pain the death of their relatives and friends and the years of wandering. A procession in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide was also held in Stepanakert. All countries should recognize the Armenian Genocide as a crime against humanity, the protesters say. Let us remind you that the events of 1915 were recognized as genocide by more than 20 states, including Russia.

Protests in Yerevan with demand to maintain independent status of Nagorno-Karabakh

On April 17, Arthur Vanetsyan, the leader of the “Hayrenik” Party, and his supporters announced a round-the-clock protest action in Yerevan. On April 18, the activists were joined by Nver Kirakosyan and Arthur Avagyan, who went on a hunger strike to draw the attention of the people of Armenia to the problem of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The protestors declared that they would move on to other forms of struggle when enough supporters joined them. On April 20, the “5165” Party organized a procession against attempts to change the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. By April 22, Nver Kirakosyan and Arthur Avagyan collected 1400 signatures of their supporters and ended the hunger strike.

A new round of protest in Armenia was provoked by the statement of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan about the calls of the international community to “lower the bar” on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh after his meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev. Changing the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is unacceptable, members of the parliament emphasize. According to political analysts, the autonomy of Karabakh within Azerbaijan will cause an exodus of the Armenian population from the territory and protests in Armenia. There is a great demand in the Armenian society for a change of power, but the opposition lacks the resources to resist Nikol Pashinyan’s power, the experts note.

New investigators’ decisions in case on torture of Azerbaijani militaries during investigation into high treason case

The General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan has informed a mother of military man Elchin Guliev, who died during the investigation into the “Terter case”, that the case on high treason against him was closed. Furthermore, investigators recognized as victims 397 people who were tortured in military units, and the sentences of 16 unreasonably convicted were cancelled. In addition, seven persons, accused of torturing military men, were arrested. Let us remind you that in the spring of 2017, a group of military men and civilians was arrested in Baku on the charges of collaborating with the Armenian special services and preparing acts of sabotage against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Azerbaijan. During the investigation, eight persons were tortured to death, and four were later posthumously rehabilitated. In December 2021, the investigation into the “Terter case” was resumed. Elchin Guliev was the first acquitted military man, and that fact gives hope for the rehabilitation of other convicts, human rights defenders note.

FSB’s report about prevention of a terror act in Cherkessk

On April 18, the Russian FSB reported about the detention in Cherkessk of three persons suspected of having connections with the “Islamic State” (ISIL, a terrorist organization, banned in Russia by the court, – note of the “Caucasian Knot”). According to the FSB’s information, the suspects were preparing a terror act to be committed in a public institution building. Components of an explosive device were seized from the suspects during the search.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 25, 2022 at 09:35 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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