18 September 2017, 08:05

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of September 11-17

Approval of results of municipal and Legislative Assembly elections and elections in Kuban (Krasnodar Territory) and North Ossetia; rallies of deceived real estate investors in Southern Russia; mass evacuation of people because of false reports of undermining in Stavropol and other Russian cities; release in Azerbaijan of blogger Alexander Lapshin, Mekhman Aliev and Faig Amirov, recognized as political prisoners, and 14 convicts under the Nardaran case; acquittal of Makhachkala Mayor's son accused of insulting and injuring policemen, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of September 11-17, 2017, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Kuban and North Ossetia approve results of their Legislative Assemblies

Last week, the election commissions summed up and approved the results of the elections, the voting on which was held on September 10. In the vast majority of regions, the victory was won by members of the "Edinaya Rossiya" (United Russia) Party. In the Krasnodar Territory, where on a single day of voting, residents voted for members to the regional assembly, 60 mandates went to the "Edinaya Rossiya" Party, three mandates to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF), three mandates to the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), one mandate to the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" (Fair Russia) Party, and one to the "Party of Growth". Two other mandates were gained by self-nominated candidates. On September 10, the elections to the regional parliament took place in North Ossetia. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC) of North Ossetia, the "Edinaya Rossiya" will gain 46, the "Patriots of Russia" Party - 12, the "Spravedlivaya Rossiya" - seven, and the CPRF - five mandates.

In Southern Russia, deceived real estate investors hold rallies and demand from authorities to solve their problems

On September 16, in Southern Russia, city residents took part in the all-Russian protest action of deceived real estate investors. In Krasnodar, 150 city residents were joined by about 50 deceived real estate investors from Gelendzhik. A rally of deceived real estate investors from fifteen residential complexes was also held in Sochi Arts Square, where more than 150 people gathered. About 150 deceived real estate investors held a protest in the centre of Volgograd. They demanded from the authorities to find a way to attract investors and developers to resume construction of the buildings. In Volgograd, another protest action was held in the Kirov District of the city, which gathered the deceived real estate investors of the residential complex "European Park". They called for boycotting the presidential election and demanding the cancellation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In Rostov-on-Don, more than 200 people came to a rally of deceived real estate investors.

Militants disseminate false reports about undermining of buildings in Stavropol and other Russian cities

Starting from September 11, for some days, several large cities of Russia got numerous calls with threats of undermining. On that day, in Stavropol, people were massively evacuated from shipping centres, trade and office buildings, the regional parliament, city administration, a school, and a market. In total, according to the law enforcement agencies, for a day, the Stavropol police got 42 reports on the undermining of various buildings. Those messages came from the same phone number, the Prosecutor's Office reports. The information about undermining was not confirmed. On the same and other days, other cities in Russia were also exposed to the same phone attack. In particular, on September 13, people were evacuated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (known as MGIMO). On September 14, a source from the law enforcement agencies reported that the "Islamic State" (IS), recognized as a terrorist organization and banned by court's decision, was involved in the calls with threats of undermining. All callers will be put on the international wanted list.

Blogger Alexander Lapshin and several other persons involved in resonant criminal cases released in Azerbaijan

Last week, in Azerbaijan, several people detained and sentenced in resonant cases were released from custody. On September 11, President Ilham Aliev signed a resolution to pardon blogger Alexander Lapshin, sentenced on July 20 to three years of imprisonment on the charge of illegally crossing the country's border. Alexander Lapshin was released from custody and on September 14, he flew to Israel. Besides, on September 11, in Baku, the court released from custody Mekhman Aliev, the director of the agency "Turan", accused of illegal entrepreneurial activities and tax evasion, and changed for him the pre-trial restriction measure with the police supervision. Earlier, activists of the Azerbaijani civil society claimed the political nature of the criminal proceedings against Mekhman Aliev and noted that the agency "Turan" remained one of the last independent media in the country. On September 15, the Baku Court of Appeal (BCA) replaced the remaining term of imprisonment for Faig Amirov, the financial director of the newspaper "Azadlyg", sentenced to 3 years and 3 months of imprisonment, with conditional sentence. Faig Amirov, who was recognized by local rights defenders as a political prisoner, was released in the courtroom. Besides, on September 14, fourteen believers from the village of Nardaran, sentenced after clashes with the police in November 2015 to up to 2.5 years of imprisonment, were released. They were also pardoned by the President of the country.

The Azerbaijani authorities have timed the Alexander Lapshin's pardon to the release of Mekhman Aliev in an attempt to hide their vulnerability to international pressure, believe political analysts questioned by the "Caucasian Knot".

In Makhachkala, Court acquits City Mayor's son accused of insulting and injuring policemen

On September 12, in Makhachkala, the court acquitted Badrudin Musaev, a son of the City Mayor, accused of insulting Dagestani policemen and injuring one of them. The case was considered by the Soviet District Court of the Dagestani capital. The verdict of acquittal was pronounced to Badrudin Musaev in the absence of journalists. The Prosecutor's Office announced its intention to file an appeal against the Court's decision. The "Caucasian Knot" correspondent has been told by advocates not involved in the Badrudin Musaev's case that persons accused of beating policemen are usually sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Editors-in-chief of the Dagestani editions have suggested the verdict of acquittal to the official's son could be influenced by the position of the Dagestani authorities or shortcomings of the investigation.

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