22 January 2018, 09:05

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 15-21

Arrest of Makhachkala Mayor; fire in the Nazran office of the HRC "Memorial"; large-scale opposition rally in Yerevan against rising prices; pickets of Gukovo miners demanding to give them coal; hunger strike of deceived real estate investors in Krasnodar, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of January 15-21, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Makhachkala Mayor arrested

On January 19, Musa Musaev, Mayor of Makhachkala, was detained on suspicion of abuse of power (Paragraph "c", Part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). Investigators suggest that the official inflicted damage to the budget of Dagestan in the amount of about 80 million roubles by allocating land to a commercial company. The detention was preceded by searches in the Mayor's house and his office in the city administration. On January 21, the court pronounced the decision to arrest Musa Musaev for 10 days. The Mayor of Makhachkala himself called his criminal prosecution groundless. Dagestani journalists interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" associate the criminal case on the Musa Musaev's abuse of power with the fact that the Mayor of Makhachkala lost confidence of Dagestani leader Vladimir Vasiliev.

It should be noted that on January 16, the Supreme Court (SC) of Dagestan revoked the acquittal and sent for a new consideration the case against Makhachkala Mayor's son Badrudin Musaev, involved in a traffic conflict. The young man is accused of using violence against a public official and of insulting policemen. The criminal prosecution of Badrudin Musaev is aimed to put pressure on the Mayor of Makhachkala, his advocate suggested after the cancellation of the acquittal.

In Nazran, office of HRC "Memorial" set on fire

At night on January 17, a fire broke out in the office of the Human Rights Centre (HRC) "Memorial" in Nazran. PCs and furniture were destroyed by the fire, while none of the people was hurt. According to a record from a video surveillance camera, the office was set on fire by two unidentified persons. The rights defenders treat the attack as a terror act. According to Timur Akiev, the chief of the Ingush office of the HRC "Memorial", after the arson, Ingush leader Yunus-Bek Evkurov, limited himself to general promises without offering the rights defenders any specific assistance.

Oleg Orlov, a member of the HRC's board, believes the attack on the HRC "Memorial" office in Nazran, the pressure on the HRC "Memorial" office in Chechnya and, primarily, the persecution of Oyub Titiev, are connected. "It is clear that those who try to stop our activities in Chechnya are trying to squeeze out the HRC from the whole region of Northern Caucasus," Oleg Orlov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

Armenian opposition encourages people to protest against rise in prices

On January 19, Yerevan hosted an action against the price increase, organized by the opposition bloc "Elk". Several thousand people took part in the protest action, which turned into a march through the centre of the city. In their hands, protestors were holding flags and posters. The activists pushed a broken car in front of the protesters' column, and it symbolized the economy of Armenia, stuck to a place. According to the protestors, the rise in price for goods occurred in Armenia on January 1, after the prices for gasoline, liquid gas and diesel fuel grew in connection with the entry into force of the new Tax Code and increase of excises. The protest action held on January 19 became the major of all, ever organized by the bloc "Elk", reported Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the bloc. According to him, the bloc "Elk" will finalize its version of the Tax Code and present "concrete proposals and actions" to people.

Gukovo miners demand to give them coal

Last week, in Gukovo, miners held three actions, during which they demanded from the authorities to give them ration coal. At a picket held on January 15, picketers claimed that many miners "did not have any coal or money to buy it," even though "it got colder in the city: at night, the air temperature dropped down to -12°C." People have to collect firewood for heating their houses. On January 16, Tatiana Avacheva, a member of the initiative group of miners, told picketers that the Sherlokhovskaya mine had allocated 100 tons of coal for them at the request of the authorities. On January 18, the activist reported about the trade union's promise to issue humanitarian coal "already on coming week."

Krasnodar real estate investors go on hunger strike with demand to complete construction

In Krasnodar, real estate investors of the residential complex "Territory of Happiness" hold another protest action. Earlier, they have repeatedly demanded to check the developer's activities and include the residential complex in the register of problematic objects. In the evening on January 9, they announced the start of their third hunger strike. On the sixth day of their protest action, all six hunger-strikers claimed worsening state of health, and on January 15, they stopped participating in the protest action. On the same day, other two real estate investors started their hunger strike, and on the other day, four other people joined them. A 24-hour camp of hunger-strikers is located near the residential complex sales office.

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