10 May 2021, 16:07

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 3-9, 2021

Celebration of Victory Day; voting in the Armenian parliament for the Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy for the post of prime minister; workers’ strikes in Georgia, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of May 3-9, 2021, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Celebration of Victory Day

On May 9, many cities of Southern Russia held parades in honour of the 76th anniversary of the victory in World War II. So, in Vladikavkaz, more than 1600 people and 48 units of military vehicles took part in the festive parade, the press service for the Southern Military District reported. Residents of Vladikavkaz who came to the celebration of Victory Day said that they had less fear of contracting coronavirus at public events. In Volgograd, the authorities closed the Mamayev Kurgan complex in the evening to avoid mass gathering of people.

Festive events dedicated to Victory Day were held in all regions of Abkhazia, including the military parade and the “Immortal Regiment” march in Sukhumi. War veterans avoided talking about their exploits during the war, their relatives say. People emphasize that their duty is to pass on to the children the memory of their relatives deceased during World War II. On May 9, during the “Immortal Regiment” marches, residents of Stepanakert and Martakert paid tribute to the heroes of the 1941-1945 war and the Karabakh wars.

Funeral of Volgograd female athletes killed in road traffic accident

On May 3, Volgograd held the funeral of five female athletes from the children’s basketball team, killed in a road traffic accident, which occurred in the Stavropol Territory on April 30. Hundreds of people came to say goodbye to them. Residents of the city brought flowers and toys to a spontaneous memorial arranged in the city centre and to the sports school where the victims studied. The day of the funeral was declared a day of mourning in Volgograd. In total, 12 people fell victim to the road traffic accident. Of them, seven are being treated in Moscow. In the case of the road traffic accident, the police arrested a driver who drove wrong way and, according to the investigators’ version, provoked the fatal road traffic accident.

Voting in Armenian parliament for Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy for post of prime minister

On May 3, the Armenian parliament rejected Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy for the post of the chair of the Cabinet of Ministers. According to the agreements between the ruling faction and the opposition, MPs are to reject the Nikol Pashinyan’s candidacy twice in order to launch the procedure for repeated parliamentary elections. Nikol Pashinyan has warned the opposition that if the agreements are violated, then at the second stage of the voting, the parliamentary majority may elect him as prime minister and thus cancel the holding of early parliamentary elections. The parliamentary opposition gave no reason to doubt the compliance with the agreements concluded with the authorities, and Nikol Pashinyan fully controls the situation in the country, political analysts note. With his threats, Nikol Pashinyan prepares the ground for the cancellation of the early parliamentary elections if there is such a need, political analyst Stepan Danielyan suggests. Let us remind you that after the conclusion of the ceasefire agreement in Nagorno-Karabakh in November 2020, the Armenian opposition began mass protests with the demand for the resignation of Nikol Pashinyan and holding elections. On April 25, Nikol Pashinyan announced that he was resigning, but would continue to serve as the chair of the government.

Workers’ strike in Georgia

On May 6, at the construction site of the East-West autobahn in the Georgian region of Imereti, workers went on strike with the demand of a 30% increase in their wages. By May 8, the number of strikers rose to 400. The protesters claim that their employer pays very small wages and also does not even try to create comfortable working conditions. Furthermore, on May 6, workers of the “Guriya Express” flour mill in Ozurgeti also refused to go to work. They demand higher wages and better working conditions. Meanwhile, on May 3, employees of the “Rustavi Azot” Company, one of the largest chemical plants in Georgia, ended their strike. The protesters went to work after the plant administration promised to consider a demand for a 50% increase in the workers’ wages. Miners of the “Georgian Manganese” Company were on strike from April 23 to 28. On May 1, an agreement to raise their wages came into effect. The miners on protest demanded a 50% increase in their wages, but achieved half the requested increase. According to the strike participants, their earlier wages were not enough to pay even for the most necessary things.

Declaration of Shusha as cultural capital of Azerbaijan

On May 7, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev signed a decree to declare the city of Shusha (the Armenian name is Shushi, – note of the “Caucasian Knot”) the cultural capital of the country, in order to restore the historical appearance of the city and its former glory. Shusha was seized by the Azerbaijani army during the exacerbation of the Karabakh war in 2020, and the capture of the city became a key event in the conflict. Ilham Aliev instructed his subordinates to restore mosques in Shusha and return the Days of Vagif's Poetry and the “Khary Bulbul” Festival back to the city. Meanwhile, on May 3, there were reports about the dismantling of a dome of the Cathedral of Christ the Holy Savior, and the Karabakh authorities expressed their concern that the city would lose its Armenian appearance. Baku explained the dismantling of the dome of the Cathedral in Shusha by restoration works.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on May 10, 2021 at 09:16 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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