05 February 2018, 09:10

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of January 29-February 4

Collapse of the ceiling at the "Varketili" metro station in Tbilisi; Volgograd parade in honour of the 75th anniversary of the victory at Stalingrad; detention of the chief architect in Makhachkala; election of the new Mayor in the capital of Adygea; detention in custody of the plenipotentiary of the Governor for the Stavropol territory; inclusion in the US "Kremlin list" of officials and businessmen from the Caucasus, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of January 29-February 4, 2018, prepared by the "Caucasian Knot".

Collapse of ceiling at Tbilisi "Varketili" metro station

In the morning on January 30, in Tbilisi, a part of the ceiling at the "Varketili" metro station collapsed. As a result, 14 people were injured, and the condition of two of them was assessed as severe. On the fact of the incident, a criminal case was instituted under Article "Violation of safety rules in mining, construction or other works". After the incident, the "Varketili" metro station was closed, and the Mayoralty issued instructions to suspend repair works at all metro stations. As it turned out, the suspended ceiling at the "Varketili" metro station was mounted on top of the old structure. A founder of the company, which carried out repairs, stated that was a condition preset by the Tbilisi City Mayoralty. Specialists believe the collapse in the Tbilisi metro was caused by the economy.

Volgograd holds a parade in honour of the 75th anniversary of victory at Stalingrad

On February 2, Volgograd held a military parade in honour of the 75th anniversary of the victory at Stalingrad. That day was declared a day off by the authorities for the Volgograd Region. About 30,000 residents and guests of the city came to watch the parade. The Iskander missile system, the Smerch and Tornado heavy multiple rocket launcher systems and the S-400 surface-to-air missile system passed through the streets. Meanwhile, residents of Volgograd criticized the organization of the celebrations in honour of the victory at Stalingrad. People noted that those who got no invitations and could not enter VIP-boxes could not watch the parade. City residents also complained of poor work of public transport on February 2.

Detention of Makhachkala chief architect

On February 2, law enforcers conducted searches in the building for the Architecture Department of the Makhachkala administration and in a house of Magomedrasul Gitinov, the chief architect of the city. Magomedrasul Gitinov himself was detained and taken to interrogation. Then he was placed to a temporary detention facility. According to the investigative authorities, Magomedrasul Gitinov is suspected of abuse of power, since he inflicted damage to the budget in the amount of 4 million roubles. On February 3, in Makhachkala, the court pronounced the decision to arrest Magomedrasul Gitinov for 10 days. The defence expressed disagreement with the court's decision. According to an official's advocate, the crime of which Magomedrasul Gitinov was suspected, took place in 2014-2015, and "the time for reporting the crime had long expired." According to the advocate, the interest in the Magomedrasul Gitinov's case was raised "because of the political changes that had taken place in the republic." Let us remind you that Makhachkala Mayor Musa Musaev was also taken in custody on the charge of abuse of power. He was removed from performing the duties of the City Mayor, and the law enforcement bodies initially explained the searches conducted on February 2 with the investigation into the criminal case against Musa Musaev.

Election of new Mayor in capital of Adygea

On February 1, the Maikop Council of People's Delegates unanimously voted to appoint Andrei Getmanov the City Mayor. On December 19, 2017, he was appointed to the post of the First Vice-Mayor of Maikop and in 2011 and 2016 he was elected a delegate to the State Council-Khase of Adygea. Among the major faults of the city authorities, residents of Maikop mentioned the problems of housing and communal services, urban development and urban ecology. City residents have expressed their hope that new City Mayor Andrei Getmanov will solve the above problems. It should be noted that Andrei Getmanov took the office, which became vacant after on December 21, 2017, Alexander Narolin left the post of the chief of the Maikop administration and was appointed the Prime Minister of Adygea.

Second plenipotentiary of Governor for Stavropol Territory taken into custody

On January 29, the Lenin District Court of Stavropol took in custody Sergey Batynyuk until March 24. On January 25, sources from the law enforcement bodies reported he was detained while taking a bribe in the amount of 15 million roubles. Sergey Batynyuk is suspected of an economic crime, reports the Stavropol Territorial Court without disclosing the details. Sergey Batynyuk is well-known to the public as the former Mayor of Nevinnomyssk and also as the former plenipotentiary of the Governor for the Stavropol Territory in Zheleznovodsk, Yessentuki, Kislovodsk and the Predgorny District. He retired from the position in December 2017. It should be noted that in December 2017, Andrei Utkin, another plenipotentiary of the Stavropol Governor, was detained. According to investigators, he helped to enlist a daughter of a local businessman to a budget place of one of the universities without selection procedures upon admission. Andrei Utkin is also in custody.

Inclusion of officials and businessmen from Caucasus in US "Kremlin list"

On January 30, the US Department of Treasury released the "Kremlin list", which included 114 officials and heads of Russian state-owned companies, including all members of the Russian government, as well as 96 businessmen. The "Kremlin list" is stipulated by the new Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Among those who got into the list, there are Magomedsalam Magomedov, the former leader of Dagestan, Senator Suleiman Kerimov, Vladimir Ustinov and Oleg Belaventsev, the presidential plenipotentiaries in the Southern Federal District (SFD) and the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD), respectively, Alexander Tkachov, Minister of Agriculture, the former Governor of Kuban, and Lev Kuznetsov, Minister for North Caucasus Affairs. The "Kremlin list" also included at least 12 Russian businessmen affiliated with Northern and Southern Caucasus. The Forbes estimated their fortunes at 51 billion US dollars.

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