28 August 2023, 23:07
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 21-27, 2023
Tragedy in Makhachkala, Kadyrov beats a prisoner, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh, victims of a landslide in Georgia, 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 August 21-27, 2023, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia
The Ust-Labinsky District Court fined Alexander Obolonchikov 30,000 roubles. According to the court’s version, on June 1, the man made an inscription at a bus stop aimed at “discrediting the President of the Russian Federation and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
The Zolsky District Court of Kabardino-Balkaria found a local resident guilty of repeatedly discrediting the Russian Armed Forces and fined him 100,000 roubles. In Rostov-on-Don, the Kirovsky District Court fined Yevgeniya Ryabova 30,000 roubles. According to the law enforcement bodies’ version, in June, the woman pasted up pacifist leaflets, the content of which could create a “false opinion about the true goals” of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine.
In Makhachkala, the Leninsky District Court found local resident Ilyas Gamzaev guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On August 20, the man held a solo picket in support of Alexei Navalny*. At the same time, it should be noted that the judge imposed a fine on him half as much as provided for in the article of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation.
On August 26, Filipp Kozlov, an artist from Volgograd, was released from the Lyuberetsky detention facility after serving two consecutive 15-day arrests. In 2022, the court fined Filipp Kozlov three times under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces for posting pacifist graffiti. On August 22, it became known that a post in the “1Rnd” Rostov online publication about leaflets scattered in Rostov-on-Don against mobilization became the reason for drawing up a protocol on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces against Elena Dorovskikh, the editor-in-chief of the “1Rnd”. On August 24, in Rostov-on-Don, the Oktyabrsky District Court refused to find her guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The protocol was drawn up against Elena Dorovskikh after she had been awarded the Medal “For Military-Patriotic Work”.
Blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh plans to close all kindergartens starting from September 1 due to shortages of food and fuel. This has been announced by the authorities of the unrecognized republic. Local residents say that the situation of parents was a bit facilitated by the fact that their children could receive food in kindergartens, and now the closure of the children’s institutions will create additional problems for the people.
The Lachin Corridor was blocked by Azerbaijani picketers since December 12, 2022. On April 23, an Azerbaijani border checkpoint was installed at the entrance to the Lachin Corridor. Stepanakert considers the Azerbaijan’s new border checkpoint a part of the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh.
On August 24, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that he “had received reliable information about the plans to make the Lachin Corridor accessible, but unilaterally.” “That is, from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Departure from Nagorno-Karabakh will be allowed, but entry is prohibited,” Nikol Pashinyan announced. The Armenian Prime Minister has recalled that thousands of citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh stay in Armenia and cannot return to their homes. Of them, about 5000 people remained in Armenia due to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan, and about 30,000 more people cannot return to their homeland, as the seventh paragraph of the declaration of November 9, 2020 is not being fulfilled.
Meanwhile, the authorities of the Martuni District of Nagorno-Karabakh introduced coupons for bread starting from August 24. To buy bread, a person has to wait in line for several hours, as bakeries are not able to provide bread to everyone due to a shortage of flour, residents of Stepanakert complain.
Victims of a landslide in Georgia
On August 24, rescuers found the bodies of two more persons who perished during a landslide in Shovi. Thus, the disaster death toll increased to 31. Rescuers are searching for other two missing persons.
On August 3, the landslide hit the terrain near the “Sunset Shove” Hotel. It covered most of the territory of the Shovi resort.
The “United National Movement” (UNM) opposition party claimed the negligence of top-ranking officials, which led to the deaths of people. The working group studied the information in social networks, the media, and other open sources.
Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine
By August 27, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 2445 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1252 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1193 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).
In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 604 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 473, in Adygea – 34, in the Rostov Region – 284, in North Ossetia – 205, in the Astrakhan Region – 187, in the Krasnodar Territory – 183, in Stavropol Territory – 165, in Chechnya – 118, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 98, in Ingushetia – 39, in Kalmykia – 32, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 23.
*On January 25, the “Rosfinmonitoring” (the Russian Federal Service for Financial Monitoring) added Alexei Navalny to the register of extremists and terrorists. Alexei Navalny is a founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (known as FBK), an NCO that is included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the register of NCOs performing functions of a foreign agent. The NCO is also recognized by a court as extremist and banned in the territory of Russia. Alexei Navalny is recognized as a “prisoner of conscience.”