18 July 2022, 19:36

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 11-17, 2022

Persecution of pacifists in Southern Russia; termination of a high-profile case in South Ossetia against Inal Djabiev; negotiations between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan amid the parties’ mutual accusations of shelling attacks, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of July 11-17, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Persecution of pacifists in Southern Russia

In Southern Russia, the persecution of residents who oppose the special military operation in Ukraine and related events continues. So, on July 12, a woman from Ingushetia, who posted a comment under a video on YouTube, was suspected of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. In Pyatigorsk, a court found Dmitry Syomin, who damaged a Z sign on Mount Mashuk, guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces and fined him. In the town of Prokhladny in Kabardino-Balkaria, local resident Pyotr Toderishka was fined. The man was found guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces by writing an inscription on the gates of his house. Furthermore, on July 13, the FSB Department for the Rostov Region reported that a criminal case was being investigated against Rostov journalist Sergey Reznik under an article about publishing false information about the Russian army. Sergey Reznik lives abroad and associates the persecution with his professional activities.

On July 14, in Novorossiysk, a court found blogger Askhabali Alibekov guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces because of posting a YouTube video of a solo picket. On the same day, human rights defenders reported that local residents Musa Abadiev and Sabina Tsurova had been fined in Magas on the charge of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On July 15, it became known that Vitaly Molodanov from the village of Poltavskaya in the Krasnodar Territory, was accused of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. A protocol was drawn up against the activist for a repost on a social media outlet with a link to a pacifist video. Furthermore, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for the Stavropol Territory reported that a court in Georgievsk fined a 29-year-old local resident, finding him guilty of publicly discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.

Termination of high-profile case in South Ossetia against Inal Djabiev

On July 15, the Supreme Court (SC) of South Ossetia terminated a criminal case against Inal Djabiev, who died after an interrogation, and Nikolai Tskhovrebov, instituted under the charge of attempting to assassinate the Minister of Internal Affairs, since no evidence was obtained of the defendants’ involvement in the attempt. The court also recognized the right of Inal Djabiev and Nikolai Tskhovrebov to rehabilitation and compensation for non-pecuniary damage. Let us remind you that on August 17, 2020, in Tskhinvali, a car with Minister of Internal Affairs Igor Naniev was shelled. No one was injured in the incident. In August 2020, Inal Djabiev died after an interrogation. Detainee Nikolai Tskhovrebov also complained about torture. Eight law enforcers were detained in connection with the death of Inal Djabiev, and Andrei Tskhovrebov, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, was dismissed from his post. Inal Djabiev’s death provoked mass protest actions and a political crisis in South Ossetia. Sixteen MPs have boycotted parliamentary hearing since the autumn of 2020. In South Ossetia, the parliament could not adopt the budget, since its work was paralyzed. Relatives of Inal Djabiev, dissatisfied with the progress of the investigation into the case on his death, had been holding a round-the-clock protest in Tskhinvali from December 4, 2020 to February 26, 2021. The protesters sought the dismissal of General Prosecutor Uruzmag Djagaev, but stopped the protests without achieving their goal.

Release of new deadlines for consideration of EU candidate status for Georgia

The European Commission (EC) decided to evaluate the reforms carried out by Georgia to grant the country the status of an EU candidate in 2023 instead of December 2022, EC representative Michael Rupp stated. According to him, Georgia will be granted the EU candidate status as soon as a number of priority goals are achieved. Let us remind you that on June 23, the Council of the European Union decided to recognize Georgia’s European perspective and grant the country the status of an EU candidate “when the goals set are achieved.” On June 17, the European Commission published 12 recommendations for Georgia to be implemented within six months. Among them are the elimination of political polarization, the independence of the judiciary, and the investigation of high-level corruption. It is important for the EU that Georgia fulfils all the points, including the requirement for deoligarchization, analysts point out. The “Georgian Dream” Party will not be able to do within six months what has not been done during the years of being in power, Nika Chitadze notes.

Initiative of Ukrainian MPs on recognition of independence of Ichkeria

On July 11, members of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksiy Goncharenko and Musa Magomedov introduced a draft resolution on the recognition of the independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called the bill “absolutely ridiculous.” According to the leader of Chechnya, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria does not exist, as it was abolished many years ago by the Ichkerians themselves. Let us remind you that the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is an unrecognized separatist state formation (1991-2000), created after the collapse of the Soviet Union on the territory of the former Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and liquidated by the Russian army during the second Chechen war. Ichkeria was not recognized by any of the UN countries. The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria is not the same as the Congress of the Peoples of Ichkeria and Dagestan, banned in Russia, which on February 4, 2003, was recognized as a terrorist organization by the Supreme Court (SC) of Russia.

Negotiations between Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan amid parties’ mutual accusations of shelling attacks

On July 16, Tbilisi hosted a meeting in between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Djeikhun Bairamov. Ararat Mirzoyan pointed out that the OSCE Minsk Group should participate in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Djeikhun Bairamov noted the need to fulfil all the points of the statements signed with the participation of Russia, including the withdrawal of Armenian troops.

On the same day, Armenia and Azerbaijan exchanged accusations of shelling attacks. The Armenian troops intensively shelled the positions of the Azerbaijani army in the Kelbadjar District, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of Azerbaijan reported. Last night, the Azerbaijani army shelled the positions of the Armenian troops near the border, the Ministry of Defence of Armenia announced. Earlier, Baku stated that Azerbaijani soldiers returned fire after Armenian militaries shelled their positions in the Kelbadjar District. The Armenian Ministry of Defence refuted the above information.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 18, 2022 at 09:40 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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ДАННОЕ СООБЩЕНИЕ (МАТЕРИАЛ) СОЗДАНО И (ИЛИ) РАСПРОСТРАНЕНО ИНОСТРАННЫМ СРЕДСТВОМ МАССОВОЙ ИНФОРМАЦИИ, ВЫПОЛНЯЮЩИМ ФУНКЦИИ ИНОСТРАННОГО АГЕНТА, И (ИЛИ) РОССИЙСКИМ ЮРИДИЧЕСКИМ ЛИЦОМ, ВЫПОЛНЯЮЩИМ ФУНКЦИИ ИНОСТРАННОГО АГЕНТА.

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