Protesters in Tbilisi, photo: https://www.newsgeorgia.ge/bolshego-schastja-ne-sushhestvuet-zurabishvili-poblagodarila-protestujushhih-v-tbilisi/

22 April 2024, 22:36

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of April 15-21, 2024

Chechen agenda, protests in Georgia, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, Armenia gives up villages and recognizes the Yazidi genocide, 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 15-21, 2024, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Chechen agenda

On April 14, in Dagestan, at the “Gerzel” road checkpoint, inspectors of the road-and-patrol police service (known as DPS) harshly detained Major General Alikhan Tsakaev, Chechen Minister for Emergencies, a classmate of Ramzan Kadyrov. The leader of Chechnya called the incident a provocation and demanded from the authorities of Dagestan to dismiss the police inspectors who forced the general out of the car. The incident occurred at the federal road checkpoint, which is not under the jurisdiction of the Dagestani law enforcement bodies, announces Dagestani leader Sergey Melikov. He assures that the local police inspectors act in accordance with the law. Social media disseminate a document allegedly signed by Ramzan Kadyrov, in which the leader of Chechnya requests the Russian Minister of Internal Affairs to strictly punish the Dagestani law enforcers. The Chechen Minister of Press has called the above-mentioned document a fake.

Tabarik Kadyrova, a 19-year-old daughter of the Chechen leader, has been awarded the Medal “For Services to Chechnya” for developing entrepreneurship and increasing the investment attractiveness of the republic, the Grozny Mayoralty reports.

Apti Alaudinov has been appointed the deputy head of the main directorate for military-political work of the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), while he will continue to command the “Akhmat” special forces, Ramzan Kadyrov has announced. In his new position, Apti Alaudinov will also deal with issues of mutual understanding between people of different nationalities in the Russian Army, which require attention in the context of military operations, analysts note. Apti Alaudinov’s appointment is important for Ramzan Kadyrov, but the degree of expansion of the Chechen leader’s influence should not be overestimated, the analysts emphasize.

It is also reported that by the decree signed by the President of the Russian Federation on April 16, Magomed Daudov has been awarded the military rank of Major General.

Protests in Georgia

The ruling “Georgian Dream” Party reintroduced the draft law “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” to the Georgian parliament. The above draft law became a new version of the law on foreign agents. On April 9, a Freedom March took place in Tbilisi, and its participants were holding in their hands the posters against the law on foreign agents. The posters read: “Yes to Europe, no to Russian law”.

On April 16, the police used batons and tear gas to push opponents of the law on foreign agents away from the Georgian parliament building. Eleven people were detained, and at least three journalists were injured. On April 17, at least two persons were detained at a similar protest action. At least ten people were injured during the dispersal of protest actions, human rights defenders state.

On April 17, Georgian MPs passed the law amid mass protests. Irakli Garibashvili, the leader of the “Georgian Dream” Party, announced that the law on foreign agents could easily be revised or repealed if Georgia received assurances that it would be possible for the country to join the European Union “as soon as tomorrow,” but Georgia and the EU are not yet ready to unite.

On April 20, Tbilisi hosted a Women’s March, participants of which spoke out against laws on foreign agents and the abolition of gender quotas.

On April 21, participants of the protest campaign set off in a procession from the parliament building towards the Supreme Court (SC) of Georgia. The organizers called on the protest participants not to react to provocations.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) released a video with the apologies recorded by a blogger from Anapa, who was accused under the administrative article on discrediting the Russian Army for his statements made during the video broadcast. The court fined the blogger 30,000 roubles. According to the police, the man spoke in a negative way about the Russian Armed Forces during his video broadcast.

The police drew up protocols on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces against residents of Vladikavkaz Sarmat Medoev and Lolita Shalieva.

Irina Ponomaryova, a resident of Volgodonsk, was fined 35,000 roubles. FSB officers found that on her page on the “Odnoklassniki” social network, Irina Ponomaryova reposted a video of another social media user and wrote her comment under the video. According to the law enforcers’ version, the repost and comment confirmed “Irina Ponomaryova’s negative attitude towards the special military operation.”

Armenia gives up villages and recognizes Yazidi genocide

The state commissions of Azerbaijan and Armenia on border delimitation agreed to coordinate the border of the two countries in its northern section along the line at the time of the collapse of the USSR. Four villages will come under the control of Azerbaijan. The Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia announced that earlier, the territory of the village of Gyzylgadjily and a significant part of the territory of the village of Ashagy-Askipara had already been under the control of Azerbaijan.

On April 20, residents of the Tavush Region of Armenia blocked the road to the Georgian border, thus expressing their disagreement with the authorities’ decision to surrender the land to Azerbaijan. The road was unblocked after the heads of the border communities agreed to meet Mger Grigoryan, Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia. However, on the other day, residents of the border villages of Kirants and Voskepar in the Tavush Region did not allow employees of the National Security Service to enter the above-mentioned villages to clear the territories. The people again blocked the road, demanding from the authorities of Armenia to cancel their agreement with Azerbaijan on the transfer of the villages. The police tried to prevent riots.

On April 16, Armenian MPs voted for a draft law establishing in the country on August 3 the Day of Remembrance of the Yazidi Genocide in the Iraqi province of Sinjar. The massacre of Yazidis in the Iraqi province of Sinjar in August 2014 is genocide by all indications, and historians have no doubts about that, analysts note. The fact of genocide is recognized by many countries, but Armenia became the first country to include that day in its official calendar, the analysts emphasize.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By April 21, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 3804 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1880 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1924 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 823 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 724, in the Rostov Region – 417, in the Krasnodar Territory – 362, in Stavropol Territory – 352, in the Astrakhan Region – 298, in North Ossetia – 272, in Chechnya – 189, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 140, in Kalmykia – 70, in Ingushetia – 56, in Adygea – 53, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 48.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 22, 2024 at 09:05 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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