A landslide on the territory of the Shovi resort in Georgia. Photo https://report.az/ru/v-regione/v-gruzii-16-chelovek-okazalis-zablokirovany-v-gostinice-v-rezultate-opolznya

07 August 2023, 22:57

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 31-August 6, 2023

Explosions in the Black Sea, tragedy in Georgia, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, persecution of opposition in Azerbaijan, 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 July 31-August 6, 2023, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Explosions in Black Sea

On August 4, explosions occurred in the waters of Novorossiysk. According to the eyewitnesses’ stories, an unidentified object caught fire and exploded in the sea. An attack by Ukrainian unmanned boats on a Russian military base was repelled, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Russia reported.

On the other day, the Russian tanker "Sig" was damaged by an attack of a Ukrainian maritime drone, none of the eleven crew members was injured. The Russian tanker was attacked when it stayed in one of the areas of the “Kavkaz” cargo port in the Temryuk District in the Krasnodar Territory. The ship’s engine compartment and the pump room were hit by the drone.

Tragedy in Georgia

On August 3, a landslide hit the terrain near the “Sunset Shove” Hotel. The mud streams covered most of the territory of the Shovi resort. A road and bridge were destroyed. Rescuers found the bodies of eleven dead, and the whereabouts of 25 people are not known. The authorities of Georgia declared the day of August 7 a day of national mourning. According to the statements voiced by the Georgian Ombudsperson and opposition politicians, rescue teams are short of helicopters to evacuate people.

On August 5, the bodies of six more persons were found, bringing the death toll to 18. Seven or eight children were among the missing, reports Zurab Azarashvili, Georgian Minister for Public Health.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

In the Krasnodar Territory, the Mostovskoi District Court fined local resident Mikhail Yarulin for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. His case was re-admitted for the consideration in the court after it was returned to the police because of procedural violations.

In Volgograd, the Dzerzhinsky District Court fined local resident Daniil Rogachov 30,000 roubles. The reason for drawing up an administrative protocol was a comment posted by the local resident in a Telegram channel. Daniil Rogachov invited one of the social media users to go to Ukraine and take part in the special military operation.

In Dagestan, the Sergokalinsky District Court imposed a fine on local resident Bagomed Bagomedov.

According to the investigators’ version, Alexandra, a 21-year-old resident of Krasnodar, discredited the Russian Armed Forces by posting on her social media page a photo of a bag with an inscription in which the pleasure of sex was compared with the pleasure of the death of the country’s president. The Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar fined her 30,000 roubles. Earlier, Alexandra was fined for a tattoo picturing a dog wearing a rainbow scarf.

Blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh

On August 5, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Nagorno-Karabakh announced “attaching great importance to the calls from the UN, the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe (CE), and other authoritative international institutions for the immediate lifting of the Azerbaijan’s illegal blockade of the Lachin Corridor.” At the same time, it is noted that the above-mentioned calls do not have any effect on Azerbaijan. “The humanitarian catastrophe and the human rights crisis in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) are getting worse every day,” declares the MFA of the unrecognized republic.

On August 1, at a protest action held in Yerevan, residents of Nagorno-Karabakh stated that the Armenian authorities should protect their interests and demand the entry of UN peacekeepers into the conflict zone. On August 2, Nagorno-Karabakh activists met the attaché of the Russian Embassy, but were dissatisfied with the explanation that the Russian peacekeepers were limited in their capabilities. On August 3, the activists demanding to unblock the Lachin Corridor wanted to personally meet Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, but were refused.

On August 5, initiators of a march to the bridge over the Khakari River handed over their demands in writing to the commanders of the Russian peacekeeping contingent.

Persecution of opposition in Azerbaijan

On August 6, it became known that Elvin Mustafaev, an activist of the trade unions’ confederation under the “Democracy 1918” movement, was detained in Azerbaijan. The activist has been persecuted for his public activities, his colleagues believe.

The Baku Court of Appeal did not grant a complaint filed against an arrest of oppositionist Elkhan Aliev in a case on fraud and forgery of documents. The defence and party colleagues associated the persecution of Elkhan Aliev with his political activities.

On August 1, the Baku Court of Appeal began a re-consideration of a case against oppositionist Pyunkhan Kerimli, who was sentenced to five years of imprisonment on the charge of drug trafficking. The defence is counting on the release of Pyunkhan Kerimli.

More than 100 representatives of creative and scientific intelligentsia and lawyers signed an appeal to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev with a request to release Gubad Ibadoglu. The activists recalled the scientific achievements of Gubad Ibadoglu, his teaching activities in higher educational institutions in the USA, Hungary, and Great Britain. According to their statement, the arrest of the leader of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Prosperity Party is a blow to the country’s international image.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By August 6, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 2375 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1227 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1148 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 590 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 459, in the Rostov Region – 280, in North Ossetia – 201, in the Krasnodar Territory – 176, in the Astrakhan Region – 173, in Stavropol Territory – 162, in Chechnya – 117, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 97, in Ingushetia – 39, in Adygea – 33, in Kalmykia – 27, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 21.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 7, 2023 at 08:50 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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September 30, 2023 15:52

  • ECtHR awards compensation to residents of Southern Russia for torture

    The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) examined the complaints filed by residents of Chechnya, Dagestan, and Astrakhan, convicted in Russia on the basis of testimonies obtained under torture, and awarded them compensation. The decision was made against the backdrop of the Russia’s refusal to comply with the decisions of the ECtHR.

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