04 September 2017, 09:00

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 28-September 3

Celebration of Knowledge Day and Eid al-Adha in Southern Russia; mudflow in Kabardino-Balkaria; case instituted against former Chechen senator Umar Djabrailov for disorderly conduct; fire at the "Nairit" factory in Yerevan; IS* militants’ attack on policemen in Dagestan, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 28-September 3, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Southern Russia marks Knowledge Day with solemn school assemblies, and North Ossetia honours memory of victims to 2004terror act

On September 1, new schools were opened in Dagestan, Karachay-Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Chechnya. However, the opening of schools in Chechnya and Dagestan has not solved the problem of lessons held in three shifts, since the number of first-formers increases every year, the "Caucasian Knot" reports. As for the Southern Federal District (SFD), in most of its regions, the number of schoolchildren has increased in comparison with the past academic year, and only in the schools of the Krasnodar Territory the number of pupils remained unchanged. On the eve of September 1, in Russia, officials voiced a proposal to postpone the start of the academic year to September 4 due to the fact that on the first days of September, North Ossetia was to hold the mourning events to mark the anniversary of the 2004 terror act in Beslan. The Committee of the "Beslan Mothers" supported the idea to postpone the celebration of the Knowledge Day to September 4.

Caucasian Muslims mark Eid al-Adha

This year, Eid al-Adha, one of the main Muslim holidays, fell on September 1, and due to that fact, in many regions of Southern Russia, as well as in Azerbaijan, additional days off were announced. More than 10,000 people came to the festive prayer for the celebration of Eid al-Adha to the central Juma mosque in Makhachkala. After the prayer, many people performed a rite of sacrifice. In other regions of Southern Russian and countries of Southern Caucasus, Muslims also celebrated the holiday. In Sochi, Muslims celebrated Eid al-Adha in the "Hyde Park" without sacrifices. On the eve of the holiday, residents of Chechnya complained about the increased prices for sacrificial animals.

In Kabardino-Balkaria, more than 7000 people cut off from civilization by mudflow

At night on September 1, a mudflow occurred near the village of Elbrus in Kabardino-Balkaria. As a result, the traffic on the road from Prokhladny to Azau was stopped, and the gas supply to five villages was cut off. In the area of the mudflow, three cars with five persons fell into the river. Two of them were saved. On September 2, rescuers found the body of one of the disappeared people. Besides, they also found the cars taken away by the flow, with no people inside them. 7750 people found themselves in the territory cut off by the mudflow. The leader of the republic issued an order to evacuate "all people who wanted to be evacuated." By the evening of September 3,911 people were evacuated, including 650 tourists. On the same day, local residents told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent that in the area cordoned off by the mudflow, people faced shortage of food. Meanwhile, the Ministry for Emergencies (MfE) reported on the delivery of food and basic necessities to the villages and towns of the Elbrus Region.

In Moscow, investigators institute a case of disorderly conduct against former Chechen senator Umar Djabrailov

On August 29, Umar Djabrailov, a businessman and a former senator from Chechnya, who took part in the presidential election in Russia held in 2000, was detained after shooting at a hotel room of a Moscow hotel. The police instituted a criminal case on disorderly conduct under Article 213 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. On August 30, Umar Djabrailov was released from the police station, and the court pronounced against him a pre-trial restriction measure in the form of recognizance not to leave. It was reported that a white powder was found in the Umar Djabrailov's room and was sent for examination. Umar Djabrailov himself described the shooting at the hotel as a misunderstanding and explained the incident by his inexperience in dealing with weapons. Umar Djabrailov opened fire from a pistol at the hotel room when he was in a state of drug intoxication. This was reported in the evening on August 31 by a source from the law enforcement agencies with reference to the results of the medical examination. However, till present, no official information on the medical examination has been reported. On September 1, it became known that the Umar Djabrailov's membership in the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party had been temporarily suspended.

Fire-fighters suffer while extinguishing fire at Nairit factory in Yerevan

In the afternoon on August 28, a fire broke out on the territory of the "Nairit" factory in Yerevan. The Armenian Ministry for Public Health urged residents of Yerevan to avoid staying near the "Nairit" factory. Meanwhile, medical officers have noted that the "Ethinol" lacquer burning on the factory's territory is not poisonous. During the fire, several fire-fighters were poisoned by smoke, and they needed medical help. By the morning on August 29, three out of four burning tanks with the "Ethinol" lacquer were extinguished. The fire was not completely extinguished until August 30. On the other day, former workers of the chemical factory, which used to produce chloroprene rubber in demand on the world markets and which stayed idle since April 2010, held an action in defence of the factory in front of the building of the Armenian government. The activists warned officials of the danger of emergencies as a result of the factory's idle time and requested the government not to put barriers to potential investors.

In Dagestan, policemen attacked, and responsibility for attack claimed by IS*

On August 28, policemen were attacked in the Dagestani city of Kaspiysk. One staff member of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) was fatally stabbed, and the other was hospitalized. The policeman whom the attackers did not injure because of lack of time shot and killed two attackers from his service weapon. The "Islamic State" (IS), a terrorist organization banned in Russia by the court, claimed responsibility for the attack. A flag of the IS* was found on the place of the attack, reported a source from the law enforcement agencies. On August 29, it became known that the attack involved not two, but three assailants. Investigators reported on the detention of a suspect, a 21-year-old resident of Kaspiysk, who managed to escape from the place of the attack. According to the investigators, the main version of the crime assumes the motive of revenge for activities to protect public order and ensure public safety.

*The organization is recognized as extremist and its activities in Russia are banned by court's decision.

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