05 February 2024, 23:31
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 29-February 4, 2024
Changes in Georgian government; nepotism, power, and awards in Chechnya; persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia; decisions pronounced by the ECtHR; 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 January 29-February 4, 2024, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Changes in Georgian government
On January 29, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced his resignation. On February 1, he was elected the chair of the “Georgian Dream” Party and thus replaced Irakli Kobakhidze, who, in turn, was elected as a candidate for the position of the head of the Georgian government.
On February 2, Irakli Kobakhidze presented to the parliament the composition of the cabinet of ministers and the government programme. Only one minister – the minister of defence – will be replaced in the Georgian government: the position will be taken by Irakli Chikovani, the deputy speaker of the Georgian parliament. He will replace Djumber Burchuladze, who is being transferred as the Georgia’s ambassador to NATO.
The resignation of Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili against the background of the upcoming parliamentary elections may be associated with rumours about his expensive purchases, incompatible with the official income of the government’s head, political analysts have noted.
On February 2, in Tbilisi, the Court of Appeal refused to mitigate the pre-trial restriction measure for Giorgi Khasae and Akaki Chikobava, who were arrested for damaging a car. An advocate treated the court’s decision as unfair, since the arrested persons voiced their willingness to compensate for the damage.
Giorgi Khasae and Akaki Chikobava, the leaders of the “Khma” (Voice) movement, were arrested after a protest action held on January 23. A public prosecutor announced that the defendants’ sentence could be reduced if they admitted guilt and compensated for the damage.
On February 3, in Tbilisi, a court decided to release Giorgi Khasae and Akaki Chikobava on bail of 3000 laris.
Nepotism, power, and awards in Chechnya
Khadizhat (Karina) Kadyrova, a 24-year-old daughter of Ramzan Kadyrov, has been appointed the first deputy head of the administration of the leader and the government of Chechnya. She is entrusted with supervision of the social block. Before her new appointment, Khadizhat Kadyrova headed the department of the preschool education at the Grozny City Mayoralty. Earlier, Aishat Kadyrova, a Khadizhat’s older sister, also got the position of the deputy prime minister of the republic for the social block at the age of 24.
Ramzan Kadyrov is building a control system in Chechnya based on his family and personal ties. The appointment of his daughter Khadizhat Kadyrova was no exception, a human rights defender and a Caucasus expert note. A lawyer emphasizes that in accordance with the law, a person to be appointed to the above-mentioned position should graduate from a higher educational institution.
In his Telegram channel, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded the military rank of Major General to Russian State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov. Due to the Adam Delimkhanov’s new military rank, the Delimkhanov family has become the only family in the history of modern Russia, in which three brothers at once possess general ranks and hero awards, military experts emphasize. Numerous awards of the Delimkhanovs are calmly accepted by law enforcers in other regions, the experts suggest.
Meanwhile, residents of Chechnya complain about problems with electricity supply. Regular power outages and voltage surges result in breakdowns of household appliances and entail additional losses. And the Grozny administration has called on city residents to tolerate disruptions of the water supply due to the repair of water supply networks. Social media users complain that shutdowns occur without warnings and for a long period of time.
Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia
The Slavyansk-on-Kuban City Court has received for consideration a criminal case instituted against Viktor Pivovarov, Archbishop of the Russia’s Orthodox Church accused of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces with his article condemning the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine. On December 30, Viktor Pivovarov associated the criminal case against him with his message to believers.
The Akhtubinsky District Court fined local resident Nadir Mamedov 30,000 roubles for his post with a video on a social network in which Kherson residents talked about a shell hitting a residential building and killing people. In court, Nadir Mamedov admitted his guilt and repented.
On February 2, the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) included Oleg Orlov*, a co-chairman of the “Memorial” Centre for Defence of Human Rights, into the register of foreign agents, noting that the human rights defender opposed the actions of the Russian troops in Ukraine and disseminated false information about the policies of the Russian authorities.
Decisions pronounced by ECtHR
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) upheld the complaint filed by Shiite theologian Sardar Babaev, convicted in Azerbaijan, and obliged the country’s authorities to pay him compensation of 8500 euros.
The consideration of the case against former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava in the Supreme Court (SC) of Georgia was not impartial, the European Court of Human Rights ruled, citing a violation of the right to a fair trial. No compensation was awarded to Gigi Ugulava, since the former Tbilisi Mayor did not request it in his complaint.
On January 30, the ECtHR recognized a violation of the right to life in the lawsuit filed by relatives of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev against Russia. The ECtHR noted that the Russian authorities did not provide protection to the journalist who received threats. His son was awarded compensation of 26,000 euros. The ECtHR pronounced a similar decision on the lawsuit filed by an uncle of Khadjimurad Kamalov, a founder of the Dagestani weekly newspaper “Chernovik” (Rough Draft), who was killed in 2011, and awarded the compensation amounting to 20,000 euros. Lawyer Galina Arapova* notes that the Russian authorities are responsible for the ineffective investigation into the murders of the journalists, and the atmosphere of impunity encourages to new crimes those who are dissatisfied with sharp journalistic publications. The decision pronounced by the ECtHR in the Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev’s case is unlikely to affect the investigation into his murder, although it is a moral victory, the journalist’s son believes.
Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine
By 11:00 p.m. of February 4, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 3343 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1624 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1719 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).
In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 725 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 670, in the Rostov Region – 380, in the Krasnodar Territory – 300, in Stavropol Territory – 272, in the Astrakhan Region – 263, in North Ossetia – 257, in Chechnya – 172, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 120, in Kalmykia – 59, in Ingushetia – 47, in Adygea – 47, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 31.
*Included by the Russian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) into the register of foreign agents.