29 April 2019, 13:32

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events on April 22-28, 2019

Celebration of Orthodox Easter; arrest of KChR law enforcers linked with Arashukovs; start of trial on resonant murder in KBR; commemorations of victims of Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey; pardoning convicts in Georgia, – read about these events in the weekly review of the "Caucasian Knot" for April 22-28, 2019.

Celebration of Orthodox Easter

On April 28, the Orthodox believers of the Russia's Southern and North-Caucasian Federal Districts (SFD and NCFD) celebrated the Easter, or the Christ Resurrection. At night on April 28, festive services were held at all the Orthodox churches of the region, including the Holy Dormition Cathedral of Makhachkala, where about 250 people attended the Easter service. The believers interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" told about their family traditions at Easter and said that such holidays give hope for the well-being throughout the world. According to the tradition, the Holy Fire was delivered from Jerusalem to Russia by the holiday.

Arrest of KChR law enforcers connected with Arashukovs

On April 23, the Russia's Investigating Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF) reported detention of Timur Betuganov, the head of the Centre for Combating Extremism (CCE) in the Karachay-Cherkessian Republic (KChR); Kazbek Bulatov, a former Deputy Head of the Republic's Department of the ICRF; and Andrei Filippov, a senior investigator for especially important cases. According to investigators, all of them were on friendly terms with Raul and Rauf Arashukov and abused their service powers in order not to bring the Arashukovs to criminal liability. On April 24, the Moscow Basmanny Court arrested all three KChR officials for two months. They had been directly related to the investigation of the high-profile murders and pressure on Circassian activists, as stated by Timur Zhuzhuev, the head of the youth "Adyge Khase", and Alla Kambieva, a sister of Aslan Zhukov, killed in the KChR.

Start of trial of resonant murder in KBR

On April 24, the North-Caucasian District Military Court selected a jury; and on April 26, began considering on the merits of the murder case of Khusei Makitov, a resident of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR), which has caused a broad public response in the republic. Let us remind you that Khusei Makitov was killed on April 6, 2018, in the Azau meadow in the village of Terskol. A law enforcer sent to the KBR on service trip was charged with the murder. According to investigators, Makitov refused to take two law enforcers to Terskol and was stabbed to death for the refusal. The incident was recorded by a video surveillance camera. The Makitov's murder triggered locals' protest – at a rally on April 12, 2018, they decided to appeal to the General Prosecutor's Office (GPO) asking to supervise the inquiry into the murder case; and sources from republic's leadership assured that the case was under control of the Russian Presidential Administration and the head of the KBR. The prisoner's dock contains Pavel Sterlyagov, a former FSB Major. He refused to plead guilty. Makitov's relatives complained that the federal media failed to cover the mass protests or the Sterlyagov's trial. Besides, they are not against having the litigation outside the republic, Victoria Sheveleva, their representative, has reported.

Commemoration of victims of Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey

On April 24, residents of Armenia commemorated, at the "Tsitsernakaberd" Memorial, the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey. In the evening on April 23, memorial torchlight marches for the victims of the Armenian Genocide were held in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). In Yerevan, the event was held under the motto "Full and fair compensation", while the marchers in Stepanakert demanded from the international community to give a judicial and legal assessment of the Armenian Genocide and force those guilty of committing the crime to pay compensation to the Armenian people. In total, more than 2300 people took part in the march in Stepanakert.

Recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey is inevitable; however, it should be promoted by compatriots living there, the descendants of the genocide survivors believe. The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is unable to change the attitude of Turkish authorities to the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, the Armenian scholars and politicians interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" believe. According to their version, the Turkish society only can influence the authorities' position. Let us remind you that the of Armenian Genocide has been recognized by over 20 states, including Russia, Canada, Argentina, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Uruguay, Greece, Cyprus, the Vatican and 49 of the 50 US States. The Turkish authorities refuse to treat the events of 1915 as genocide.

Pardoning of 42 convicts in Georgia

On April 25, the Georgian President, Salome Zurabishvili, signed a decree on pardoning 19 prisoners and 23 conditionally convicted on the occasion of the Easter. There are four women among those pardoned. Two of the conditionally convicted has their terms halved; the rest of the conditional convicts were completely liberated from their freedom restriction.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 29, 2019 at 09:16 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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