Evacuation from the flooding zone in Armenia.

27 May 2024, 23:48

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 20-26, 2024

Resignations and appointments in Chechnya, flooding in the Lori Province, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, political crisis in Armenia, Novikov’s sentence, 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 May 20-26, 2024, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Resignations and appointments in Chechnya

On May 21, Chechen Prime Minister Muslim Khuchiev resigned in connection with his transfer to another position. On May 24, Ramzan Kadyrov announced that Muslim Khuchiev had been appointed the assistant to the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.

Members of the Chechen parliament unanimously supported the appointment of Magomed Daudov as the chairman of the republic’s government. The day earlier, Magomed Daudov said that he had resigned as the president of the “Akhmat” FC (football club). Akhmat Kadyrov, an 18-year-old son of the Chechen leader, was appointed the new president of the “Akhmat” FC.

In Chechnya, high positions are occupied by the people especially close to Ramzan Kadyrov. The appointment of Magomed Daudov as the Prime Minister of Chechnya confirms his high status and also indicates that he could become a Ramzan Kadyrov’s successor in the future, analysts note.

Flooding in Lori Province

The northern regions of Armenia are hit by a flooding caused by the Debed River overflowing its banks, which resulted in significant destruction of infrastructure and casualties among local residents. The flooding damaged roads, bridges, and railway lines. The Lori Province was mostly affected. Several houses were flooded at the Airum station in the Tavush Province, and a section of the Vanadzor-Alaverdi road was also flooded.

More than 200 people were evacuated from the flooding zones, rescue teams reported. The bodies of three persons were found in the water. Gnel Sanosyan, Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, has assessed the damage from the flooding as “huge.” “There are serious problems with roads and with the supply of electricity, gas, and water,” Gnel Sanosyan reported.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

A criminal case on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces has been instituted against Teona Kelekhsaeva, a resident of Vladikavkaz. Earlier, the woman had been sentenced to a fine and compulsory treatment by a psychiatrist under the same article. The reason for institution of the criminal case was a comment posted by Teona Kelekhsaeva in October 2022 on the “VKontakte” social network and addressed to residents of the republic participating in the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine.

Valery Gasparyan, a resident of Stavropol, who had been fined last year for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces, was fined again, this time for extremist statements. The court’s resolution states that during a conflict, Valery Gasparyan insulted the Russians and criticized the special military operation (SMO). Valery Gasparyan confirmed that there was a verbal conflict. As for insults against the Russians, then, according to his version, Valery Gasparyan did not say and could not say such words, since he is not a citizen of the Russian Federation.

Dmitry Kolotushkin, a resident of the Stavropol Territory, was fined under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces after talking about the situation in Ukraine. According to the case materials, the man joined the men unfamiliar to him who were drinking alcoholic beverages in a garage and voiced a number of statements criticizing the special military operation. In court, Dmitry Kolotushkin admitted his guilt and repented.

Political crisis in Armenia

On May 26, participants of the “Movement in the Name of Tavush” rally marched from Freedom Square to the residence of the Prime Minister of Armenia, where they were met by the police. The protesters demanded a meeting with Nikol Pashinyan. Archbishop Bagrat Galstyan requested Nikol Pashinyan “either to go out to the people or to let him in to discuss a number of issues.” The Archbishop has added that people will stay near the Prime Minister’s residence until they receive an answer regarding their demand for a meeting with Nikol Pashinyan. At the same time, activists of the protest movement named Bagrat Galstyan as their candidate for Prime Minister of Armenia.

On May 19, the police blocked the road to the village of Kirants in the Tavush Province and did not allow opposition MPs and journalists to enter the village. Local residents had to present their passports for verification for entering the village. The Armenian National Security Service has explained that only local residents are allowed to enter the Kirants village, as preparations are underway to protect the border with Azerbaijan. Three border checkpoints have been installed in the village, while two houses, three shops, and a car wash ended up on the Azerbaijani territory after the border was marked. The local residents are frightened by the close deployment of the Azerbaijani troops, the village head states.

On May 20, the residents of the Kirants village complained about a shortage of food products in the village, as the road leading to Kirants was blocked by law enforcers. The villagers say that the preparations for the construction of a bypass road have been started in Kirants. On May 21, journalist Ani Gevorgyan reported that the road leading to the village remained closed, but the problem with delivering food products to the village had been resolved. Kamo Shaginyan, the head of the Kirants village, has reassured his fellow countrypeople that they may use the old road, a section of which should go to Azerbaijan as a result of the border delimitation, until a new road is built.

Novikov’s sentence

Advocate Dmitry Novikov, a former judge of the Khostinsky District Court of Sochi, was detained in Moscow on June 5, 2021 in a case on attempted mediation in the transfer of a bribe. During an interrogation, Dmitry Novikov claimed that a false denunciation had been made by his client to whom he had announced the cost of his legal services. On June 7, 2021, Dmitry Novikov was arrested. On May 22, the court sentenced the former judge to 6.5 years of imprisonment.

Dmitry Novikov is accused of abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and making deliberately unfair decisions. On July 6, 2018, a court in Rostov-on-Don found Dmitry Novikov guilty, but released him from the imposed punishment due to the expiration of the statute of limitations. Dmitry Novikov pleaded not guilty and connected his sentence to the fact that he was exposing criminal connections of judges, investigators, and public prosecutors.

No one expected such a harsh sentence for Dmitry Novikov, notes advocate Natalia Goltseva. “My father is not guilty of anything criminal, he was slandered,” said Roman, a son of the convicted man. It follows from the court’s verdict that the entire plot of the Dmitry Novikov’s accusation was based on an agreement to provide legal assistance to a citizen in a criminal case.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By May 26, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 4058 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 2024 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 2034 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 898 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 751, in the Rostov Region – 434, in the Krasnodar Territory – 396, in the Stavropol Territory – 384, in the Astrakhan Region – 318, in North Ossetia – 286, in Chechnya – 190, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 145, in Kalmykia – 78, in Karachay-Cherkessia – 61, in Ingushetia – 60, and in Adygea – 57.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 27, 2024 at 08:56 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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