04 July 2022, 18:14
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of June 27-July 3, 2022
Echoes of Ukraine in Southern Russia: creation of institutions of the Ministry of Defence in Chechnya and Kalmykia, persecution of pacifists; verdict in a case on the Khadjimurad Kamalov’s murder in Dagestan; LGBT week in Tbilisi amid protests, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of June 27-July 3, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Echoes of Ukraine in Southern Russia: creation of institutions of Ministry of Defence in Chechnya and Kalmykia, persecution of pacifists
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov reported that four military battalions – “Sever-Akhmat”, “Yug-Akhmat”, “Zapad-Akhmat”, and “Vostok-Akhmat” – would be formed in the republic and would include “exclusively Chechen guys.” Later, the leader of Chechnya stated that the “Zapad-Akhmat” and “Vostok-Akhmat” battalions were manned and that buildings were being built in the republic to accommodate those battalions. The decision to create battalions was an initiative of Ramzan Kadyrov, and it strengthens the position of the Kadyrov’s people amid the special military operation in Ukraine, experts note. The creation of Chechen battalions for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) pointed to Ramzan Kadyrov’s special status, analysts say. Earlier, the formation of an Ingush squadron to be sent to the special military operation zone in Ukraine was reported in Nazran, and Kalmykia announced the creation of a national unit for the special military operation. The creation of the national unit to be sent to Ukraine served as a PR campaign for the Kalmyk authorities, analysts note. The local authorities decided to distinguish themselves and demonstrate their loyalty to the Kremlin, activist Valery Badmaev suggested.
In Southern Russia, the persecution of residents who oppose the special military operation in Ukraine and related events continues. So, on June 28, a court in Azov imposed a fine on local resident Daria Kulikovskaya, finding her guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces after replenishing a bank card with a banknote bearing a pacifist slogan. On July 2, it became known that the Krasnodar Territory, a court fined local resident Andrei Titov under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces for pacifist posts on the “VKontakte” social media outlet. In Nalchik, a court sentenced Zaurbek Zhambekov to two years of probation for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces after he instructed his daughter to tear off the letter Z from a car.
Verdict in case on Khadjimurad Kamalov’s murder in Dagestan
On July 1, the Southern District Military Court found guilty all the defendants in the case on the murder of Khadjimurad Kamalov, a founder of the Dagestani weekly newspaper “Chernovik” (Rough Draft). Shamil Isaev and Magomed Abigasanov were sentenced to 16, Murad Shuaibov – to 23, and Magomed Khazamov – to 24 years of imprisonment. On December 15, 2011, Khadjimurad Kamalov, the general director of the “Svoboda Slova” (Liberty of Speech) Company, a founder of the newspaper “Chernovik”, was shot dead near the office of the publication in Makhachkala. Shamil Isaev, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Dagestan, was mentioned as a person who ordered the crime. A public prosecutor ignored all the defence evidence, including the presence of an alibi for three defendants, advocates of Murad Shuaibov and Magomed Khazamov pointed out. Magdi Kamalov, a brother of murdered Khadjimurad Kamalov, also asked the court to acquit the three defendants or return the case for additional investigation.
LGBT week in Tbilisi amid protests
The “Tbilisi Pride” organization refused to hold the “March of Dignity” in Tbilisi, explaining that it was not safe for its participants. However, the events within the “LGBT Week” were still held in the capital of Georgia from June 28 to July 2. The authorities must guarantee the safety of “LGBT Week” participants as opponents threaten to disrupt the events, the “Tbilisi Pride” organization states. Three closed events were held within the “LGBT Week”, while opponents of the LGBT came out to protest actions with the demand to ban the LGBT events. So, on June 28, several dozen protesters gathered near the building where a film was shown. On July 2, in Tbilisi, the police detained 26 people during the protests against the “LGBT Week”, and the detainees were accused of disorderly conduct and failure to obey the police. On July 2, 17 more members and supporters of the “Alt-Info” movement were detained, who protested against the festival organized by the “Tbilisi Pride”. Holding the “LGBT Week” will be a test of how the authorities protect the rights of sexual minorities and prevent violence, as attention is focused on this in connection with the conditions of the European Union for obtaining by Georgia of the EU candidate status, analysts note.
Last year, an anti-LGBT protest action turned into an attack on journalists, and 53 media workers were injured then.
Source: Caucasian Knot