02 May 2022, 16:25

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 25-May 1, 2022

Arrival of refugees in Southern Russia; death in Ukraine of military personnel from southern regions of Russia, and persecution of pacifists; protests demanding the resignation of the Armenian government and the preservation of the independent status of Nagorno-Karabakh; awarding Adam Delimkhanov the title of Hero of Russia; FSB’s report about prevention of terror attacks in the Stavropol Territory and in Karachay-Cherkessia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 25-May 1, 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. On April 29 alone, more than 15,000 residents of Donbass arrived in the Rostov Region. In total, as of April 29, 2022, according to the data of the Border Guard Department for the Rostov Region of the Russian FSB, since the beginning of the special military operation, more than 1,040,000 people have already been evacuated to Russia.

Almost every day, the authorities of the regions, districts, and cities of Southern Russia report about the deaths in Ukraine of compatriots from among the military personnel. The “Caucasian Knot” runs a list of names of natives of Southern Russia who perished in Ukraine. The list has been compiled on the basis of the data officially confirmed by the authorities. By May 2, the information about at least 252 perished natives of Southern Russia has been confirmed, including 180 natives of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD). Of them, 93 deceased were residents of Dagestan.

In Southern Russia, activists continue to protest against the special military operation in Ukraine. In general, such actions are held in the form of solo pickets. During the past week, residents of Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar were among participants of the protest actions. On April 28, in Volgograd, local resident Tamara Grodnikova was detained again. The activist repeatedly held solo pickets and voiced, among other things, the demands to stop pressure on independent media and release political prisoners. Tamara Grodnikova also criticized the authorities. That time she protested against the law on foreign agents, and the police detained her for the ninth time since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine. Tamara Grodnikova filed complaints addressed to the chief of the police department, in which she requested the police chief to investigate the reasons for the regular disruption of solo pickets allowed by law. Participants of similar actions and those brought to justice under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces complain about pressure. So, Artyom Sindeev, a first-year student of the Volgograd State University, was arrested for two days for violating a procedure of holding a rally after a picket against the special military operation in Ukraine. Artyom Sindeev said that after the picket he was subjected to pressure from the police and decided to stop studying at the university. On April 29, it was reported about the dismissal of a teacher of Russian language and literature from a gymnasium in Krasnodar. According to the videos disseminated in social media, the teacher spoke out during lessons on the topic of the special military operation in Ukraine, condemning the actions of the Russian troops.

Protests demanding resignation of Armenian government and preservation of independent status of Nagorno-Karabakh

Starting from April 25, Armenia hosts daily actions of disobedience demanding the preservation of the independent status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the resignation of the Armenian government. The protest actions were accompanied by clashes with policemen and detentions of dozens of people. On May 1, oppositionists set up tents in Square of France in Yerevan and declared a strike demanding the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. According to human rights defenders interviewed by the “Caucasian Knot”, in Armenia, the police are not able to ensure the safety of residents during the protests, policemen behave unprofessionally and used disproportionate force against protesters. Meanwhile, the human rights defenders note that the oppositionists also behave aggressively. A new round of protest in Armenia was provoked by the message of Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan about the calls of the international community to “lower the bar” on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh after his meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev in Brussels on April 6. During the meeting, among other things, President of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister of Armenia discussed the beginning of developing a peace agreement.

In addition, parents of the militaries perished during the autumn war of 2020 held their protest actions on April 26 and 30. The protestors came out to processions in Yerevan with the demand to bring Nikol Pashinyan to responsibility for the deaths of their children. On April 27, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Armenia agreed to recognize the parents of the dead militaries as victims in a criminal case and sent to the Anti-Corruption Committee a complaint with a request to involve the Prime Minister of Armenia as a defendant in the case. The Anti-Corruption Committee is to make a decision within five days. The relatives of the victims were dissatisfied with the response and demanded to expedite the decision to bring Nikol Pashinyan to justice and arrest him.

Awarding Adam Delimkhanov the title of Hero of Russia

On April 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree conferring the title of Hero of Russia to State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov. According to the decree, the title was awarded “for courage and heroism shown during the special military operation in the territories of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Lugansk People’s Republic, and Ukraine.” Earlier, Caucasian experts Aleksei Malashenko and Ruslan Kutaev and human rights defender Svetlana Gannushkina have pointed out that posts with videos about the trips of Ramzan Kadyrov and Adam Delimkhanov to Ukraine have become an element of propaganda and a PR stunt.

FSB’s report about prevention of terror acts in Stavropol Territory and in Karachay-Cherkessia

On April 18, the Russian FSB reported about detention in the Stavropol Territory of a supporter of the “Islamic State” (ISIL, a terrorist organization, banned in Russia by the court, – note of the "Caucasian Knot"). The detainee is suspected of plotting a terror act on a transport infrastructure facility. In the video, the detainee confessed that he was planning a terror act. On April 29, the FSB reported about the detention in Karachaevsk of another supporter of the terrorist organization. According to the law enforcement bodies, the suspect was preparing a terror act at a facility of the authorities and the law enforcement bodies at the direction of a foreign emissary. The man was arrested for two months, and he also confessed to plotting a terror act, the law enforcement bodies reported.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 2, 2022 at 09:45 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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