22 August 2022, 17:24

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 15-21, 2022

Persecution of pacifists in the southern regions of Russia; clearing of the rubbles after an explosion at a shopping centre in Yerevan; withdrawal of the Armenian population from the Lachin Corridor, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 15-21, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Persecution of pacifists in southern regions of Russia

In Southern Russia, the persecution of residents who oppose the special military operation in Ukraine and related events continues. So, on August 15, a court imposed a fine on Pyatigorsk resident Sergey Petrunko, finding him guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces because of a pacifist post on the “Odnoklassniki” social media outlet. The police of Ingushetia reported that a resident of the republic was suspected of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces because of a comment posted on a social media outlet four days before the start of the special military operation. On August 16, in Sochi, a court found children’s coach Daniil Högman, the chair of the local branch of the “Yabloko” Party, guilty of discrediting the Russia Armed Forces because of a post with a pacifist image on a social media outlet. On August 18, the police of the Rostov Region reported about the arrest of two persons for setting fire to a car with the letter Z on it. According to the investigators’ version, the couple set the car on fire for a monetary reward being “under the influence of Ukrainian Telegram channels.” On August 19, stand-up comedian Ariana Lolaeva from North Ossetia was fined, since a court recognized her records on the social media as discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The concept of “discredit” is formulated in the law in a vague way, which allows for the extremely broad interpretation of the law, advocate Sultan Telkhigov noted.

Clearing of the rubbles after an explosion at a shopping centre in Yerevan

Throughout the past week, rescuers had been conducting search operations at the place of the explosion in the “Surmalu” shopping centre in Yerevan. The explosion at the fireworks warehouse in the “Surmalu” shopping centre occurred on August 14. After the explosion, a strong fire started, and a part of the building collapsed. Sixteen people died, and 62 others were injured. Ten people were rescued from the ruins of the building. Relatives of the missing reproached the Armenian Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) for insufficient efficiency and demanded to speed up the search for the victims. The rescuers continue extinguishing fire at the place of the explosion, and the removal of the ruins takes time, argue officials from the MfE. The fire was not completely extinguished till August 16. On August 17, the rescuers suspended their work because of the threat of a collapse of the building, but on August 18, the work was resumed. By that time, one person remained missing.

Withdrawal of the Armenian population from the Lachin Corridor

The administration of the Kashatag District of Nagorno-Karabakh reported that residents of Berdzor and the village of Akhavno (Azerbaijani names are Lachin and Zabukh, respectively, – note of the “Caucasian Knot”) must leave their houses by August 20. Local residents complained that they had to pack in an emergency mode and that the money allocated by the authorities for the move was not enough. As of August 18, according to the Mayor, about 70 people remained in Berdzor. The authorities do not guarantee the safety of those who remain, the head of the city says. All residents of the Akhavno village decided to leave, and two of them burned their houses, the head of the village reported. On August 20, it became known that all residents left the Nerkin Sous community, and only several families remained in the Berdzor and Akhavno communities. The authorities have been promised to allocate 10 million drams (about 25,000 US dollars) for purchasing housing for the families who move to Armenia. The money will be enough to buy an apartment in small settlements of Armenia or private houses in villages, real estate experts note.

The Armenian population of Lachin and two villages must leave the territories, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev announced. By the agreement signed by Ilham Aliev, Nikol Pashinyan, and Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijan received control over the Lachin District. The transfer of Berdzor to the Baku’s control was delayed in 2020 because of the lack of an alternative road from Karabakh to Armenia. On August 11, the authorities of Azerbaijan announced the completion of the construction of the road.

Damage to residential buildings as a result of a forest fire in the Rostov Region

The forest fire, which reached the village of Verkhnekundryuchenskaya in the Rostov Region on August 16, engulfed 60 buildings, including seven residential buildings. The fire area was 136 hectares, and 139 residents were evacuated. Fifty-three people addressed doctors for help. Residents of the village of Verkhnekundryuchenskaya complain that some of them completely lost their property because of the forest fire and are afraid to be left without compensation. Their houses and cars were burned down.

FSB’ s report about the prevention of a terror act in the Volgograd Region

On August 15, the FSB reported about the prevention of a terror act on an oil pipeline in the Volgograd Region. Two Russian citizens perished while trying to blow it up. According to the FSB, the terror act was being prepared by the Ukrainian law enforcement bodies. Andrei Chuenkov, a citizen of the Russian Federation living in Kyiv, whom the FSB called an organizer of the terror acts, said that he did not participate in the preparation of the crimes. Citizen of Ukraine Yuri Ionov, whom the law enforcers also declared an organizer of the terror act, perished.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 22, 2022 at 09:35 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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