20 June 2022, 19:49
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 13-19, 2022
Echo of Ukraine in Southern Russia: deaths of the militaries and persecution of pacifists; creation of a new organization based on liquidated HRC “Memorial”*; protests in Armenia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of June 13-19, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Echo of Ukraine in Southern Russia: deaths of militaries and persecution of pacifists
Almost every day, the regional authorities report about military compatriots perished in Ukraine. By June 20, the information about at least 402 perished natives of Southern Russia was confirmed, including 275 natives of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD).
In Southern Russia, the persecution of residents who oppose the special military operation in Ukraine and related events continues. So, a court in the Rostov Region fined Igor Kartushin, a former member of a Cossack squad, finding him guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces by posting a leaflet in a messenger. On June 14, was reported that a court in Krasnodar fined local resident Gleb Shmachkov for a post citing a petition condemning the special military operation in Ukraine.
On June 17, in Sochi, a court fined local resident Iosif Gelyastanov under the article about discrediting the Russian Armed Forces because of making pacifist inscriptions on the streets. On June 18, a court in the town of Goryachiy Klyuch imposed a fine on Armen Kozmanov, finding him guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces in connection with his pacifist picket held on March 16. Besides, on June 18, human rights defenders reported that Kseniya Salganova from the Belorechensk District was fined under the same article for making comments on a social media outlet. Among those accused of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces this week were residents of other regions, including the Volgograd Region and North Ossetia.
On June 18, it was reported that Adyg activist Kase Kik left Russia because of fears for his safety. The activist complained about the detention and torture after he asked to perform a Ukrainian song in a cafe and expressed his attitude towards the special military operation.
Creation of new organization based on liquidated HRC “Memorial”*
On June 17, a team of former Human Rights Centre (HRC) “Memorial”* announced the creation of a public organization Human Rights Protection Centre “Memorial”. The new organization will make public information about gross violations of human rights, including of political prisoners. Let us remind you that on December 29, 2021, a court ruled to liquidate the HRC “Memorial”* at a lawsuit filed by the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office, which stated that the HRC was allegedly justifying extremism and terrorism. A public prosecutor accused the HRC “Memorial”* of participating in protest movements and called the lists of political prisoners the disinformation. It should be noted that on June 14, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) recognized the Russian law on foreign agents as inconsistent with the right to freedom of association and awarded compensation to 73 Russian NGOs. However, according to the announcement of presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, Russia will not comply with the ECtHR’s decision. Earlier, human rights defenders pointed out that the closure of the HRC “Memorial”* would cause serious damage to the protection of human rights in Northern Caucasus.
Sentence to Ingush activist Myakiev in case on rally in Magas
On June 15, a court found Bagaudin Myakiev guilty of using violence against employees of the National Guard of Russia at a rally against the agreement on the Chechen-Ingush border in Magas on March 27, 2019. The activist was sentenced to a year and a half of imprisonment. The guilt of Bagaudin Myakiev has not been confirmed by any evidence, his advocate says. He points out that Bagaudin Myakiev has served four months more in the case, which means the activist can claim compensation. Let us remind you that on February 20, 2020, Bagaudin Myakiev was sentenced to one year and nine months of imprisonment. The activist confessed that at the rally he threw chairs in the direction of law enforcers, but stated that he did not aim at employees of the National Guard of Russia. On August 27, 2020, Bagaudin Myakiev was released due to the completion of his sentence. More than 40 people were convicted in the “Ingush case”, including seven protest leaders. They consider the persecution of Ingush activists to be based on fabricated charges.
Protests in Armenia
In Yerevan, the opposition continues protest actions demanding the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The protest started on April 25 in connection with Nikol Pashinyan’s statement about the possibility of “lowering the bar” on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. On June 15, activists held a march in Yerevan and also staged a symbolic sit-in similar to a student action in 1988. The day before, the protesters removed their tent camp on Square of France in Yerevan. On June 18, participants of a rally in Yerevan accused Nikol Pashinyan of a failed policy. The oppositionists announced a new rally for June 24.
The oppositionists who demand Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation have attracted patriotic citizens to their side and have now changed the tactics to achieve other goals, says political strategist Armen Badalyan. The next step can be reconciliation between the authorities and the opposition, notes observer Naira Airumyan. The opposition has lost, and the protests will soon stop, political analyst Armen Vardanyan believes.
Recommendations of European Commission on Georgia’s accession to European Union
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announces that the European Commission has recommended not yet granting Georgia the status of a candidate country in the European Union (EU) until a number of conditions are met. Opposition parties believe the statement voiced by Ursula von der Leyen is primarily connected with Bidzina Ivanishvili, a founder of the ruling “Georgian Dream” Party. Georgia does not meet the conditions for obtaining the EU candidate status due to unresolved problems, but new geopolitical realities may contribute to the positive decision, analysts note. On June 9, MEPs suggested that the Council of Europe and its partners consider imposing sanctions on Bidzina Ivanishvili because of his ties to the Kremlin and influence in the Georgian government amid persecution of journalists and political opponents. According to the analysts, the recommendation of the European Parliament to impose sanctions against Bidzina Ivanishvili has become an additional obstacle for Georgia to obtain the status of an EU candidate country.
*The organization was included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the register of NCOs performing the functions of a foreign agent and was liquidated by a court decision.
Source: Caucasian Knot