Torchlight procession in Yerevan in memory of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. Photo by Tigran Petrosyan for the "Caucasian Knot"

24 April 2023, 22:58

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 17-23, 2023

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, continuation of the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, and official data on the natives of Southern Russia who perished in Ukraine, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of April 17-23, 2023, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

Last week, in Southern Russia, courts continued to fine local residents for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On April 22, it became known that in Dagestan, a court fined Ilyas Ziyaudinov under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On the other day, it turned out that Dmitry Anikeev, a native of the Stavropol Territory, was fined by a court in Stavropol. In March, the Chegem District Court of Kabardino-Balkaria returned to the police an administrative protocol on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces drawn up against Khasansh Urusov due to identified shortcomings. Last week, the court ruled on the fine.

The law enforcement bodies are tirelessly looking for new victims. The police drew up a protocol on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces against Dmitry Kiselyov, a resident of Astrakhan. Andrei Petrikaus, a resident of the Rostov Region, was also charged under the same article. In Rostov-on-Don, the police drew up a protocol against a local resident who posted on the social media a post with a pacifist video of the “Nogu Svelo” (Cramp in the Leg!) Russian rock band (group leader Maxim Pokrovsky is included in the register of foreign agents, – note of the “Caucasian Knot”).

On March 8, Pavel Ulibegov, a resident of Nalchik, went to a solo picket in front of the Kabardino-Balkarian parliament building. In his hands, the picketer was holding a poster with pacifist inscription. Law enforcers drew up against him the protocols on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces and failure to obey the police. A court arrested Pavel Ulibegov for five days under the second article. However, the Nalchik court returned to the police the materials of the case on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces against Pavel Ulibegov. The protestor requested the court to carry out a linguistic examination of the inscription on his poster in order to discover how much the inscription discredited the Russian Armed Forces.

Inal Djabiev’s case

On April 19, the Investigating Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office of South Ossetia instituted a criminal case against Major General of Militia Igor Naniev, the former Minister of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia. Igor Naniev is accused of abuse of power. Oksana Sotieva, a widow of Inal Djabiev, believes that the criminal case would be hushed up if the government had not changed in the republic. Zarina Tskhovrebova, the spokesperson for the “Grazhdanskaya Platforma” (Civil Platform) Party, emphasized that unbiased investigation into the case and bringing top-ranking law enforcers to justice during the presidency of Anatoly Bibilov would be impossible.

Blockade of road to Nagorno-Karabakh and continuation of conflict

The Lachin Corridor linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world has been blocked by Azerbaijani activists since December 12, 2022. As a result, the unrecognized republic suffers from a shortage of medicines, and the gas and electricity supply is turned off regularly. On April 13, Ombudsman of Nagorno-Karabakh Gegam Stepanyan noted that the decision of the International Court of Justice on the de-blockade of the Lachin Corridor had been ignored by the authorities of Azerbaijan for almost two months already.

On April 22, Azerbaijani border guards set up a checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin Corridor, the authorities of Azerbaijan announced. Officials called that a response to a similar action by the Armenian side. Civilians of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will be guaranteed passage through the new checkpoint, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announces.

On the same day, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Azerbaijan reported that an Azerbaijani army truck had blown up on a mine in the Shusha District. The driver and the leader of the group were injured, and the military man who helped them also got an injury. According to the Azerbaijani MoD, mines manufactured in Armenia were discovered near the place where the truck had been blown up.

On April 18, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev announced that residents of Nagorno-Karabakh should accept Azerbaijani citizenship or look for another place of residence. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed his readiness to recognize Azerbaijani jurisdiction in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Discouraging situation on a holiday

Residents of Chechnya and Dagestan became unhappy about the increase in food prices on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, despite the fact that the same rise in prices occurs every year. According to Kurban, a resident of Makhachkala, due to the constant price increase, the additional price rise on the eve of the holiday is not so noticeable this year.

On the eve of the holiday, Rustam Aguev, the chief of the Kurchaloi Police Department of Chechnya, threatened to confiscate cars from violators of road traffic rules, explaining that by strengthening security measures during the days of Eid al-Fitr.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

As on April 23, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 1765 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 973 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 792 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In the Stavropol Territory, the authorities reported about 134 local residents perished in Ukraine, in Dagestan – 432, the Volgograd Region – 321, in the Rostov Region – 173, in North Ossetia – 165, in the Krasnodar Territory – 129, in the Astrakhan Region – 122, in Chechnya – 102, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 87, in Ingushetia – 32, in Adygea – 27, in Karachay-Cherkessia – 21, and in Kalmykia – 20.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 24, 2023 at 07:45 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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