29 August 2022, 20:22

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of August 22-28, 2022

Persecution of pacifists in Southern Russia; Ramzan Kadyrov’s reaction to the accusations of the Security Service of Ukraine; deployment of the Azerbaijani security forces in Lachin, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of August 22-28, 2022, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Persecution of pacifists in southern regions of Russia

In Southern Russia, the persecution of residents who oppose the special military operation in Ukraine and related events continues. So, on August 22, in the Krasnodar Territory, a court fined a policeman, recognizing his public statements as discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On the same day, in the Stavropol Territory, a court fined a local resident accused of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces in his post on social media. On August 23, human rights defenders reported that cases on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces instituted against Svetlana Zaitseva, a resident of the Stavropol Territory, and Konstantin Gudimov, a pensioner from Sochi, were transferred to courts. On August 24, Marat Grigoryan was detained for holding a banner with a pacifist slogan at a solo picket held in front of the administration of the Krasnodar Territory. On August 25, a court received two cases against Volgograd activist Vitaly Gotra, accused of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. Earlier, more than 40 protocols were filed against the activist under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On August 25, in Novorossiysk, a local resident was detained, who posted a video on the social media with statements discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. On August 26, human rights defenders reported that in Krasnodar, a court imposed the second fine on Vitaly Nemtsev under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The activist announced raising money to pay fines.

Meanwhile, on August 27, a woman from Anapa proved that she was not guilty in discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The court did not find signs of discredit in the statements of Asiya Sharafutdinova voiced during her conflict with women from a military town.

Ramzan Kadyrov’s reaction to the accusations of the Security Service of Ukraine

Ramzan Kadyrov was suspected of preparing the special military operation in Ukraine and plans to change Ukrainian borders, the Security Service of Ukraine announced. The leader of Chechnya specified that “he would have taken Kyiv a long time ago” and called on the Russian President to let the Chechen fighters complete the special military operation in Ukraine. According to Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechen military units are ready to “go to Europe.” It should be noted that the leader of Chechnya has repeatedly declared his readiness to annex Ukraine to Russia. After Ramzan Kadyrov had voiced his statements on foreign policy issues, including on Ukraine, he was called to order by Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov.

Earlier, Ramzan Kadyrov announced that the new “Vostok-Akhmat”, “Zapad-Akhmat”, and “Yug-Akhmat” battalions, as well as the “Sever-Akhmat” special forces regiment, were manned in Chechnya. On August 22, the leader of Chechnya threatened to deprive the families of low-income residents of Chechnya, whose young people refused to enter in the new Chechen military units. In May, the “Vayfond” human rights association reported about dozens of Chechen residents asking for help to leave Russia to avoid being sent to Ukraine.

Deployment of the Azerbaijani security forces in Lachin

On August 26, President Ilham Aliev announced that the Azerbaijani army entered Lachin (Armenian name is Berdzor, – note of the “Caucasian Knot”) and took control of the villages of Zabukh (Armenian name is Akhavno, – note of the “Caucasian Knot”) and Sous. Earlier, analysts announced the presence of the Azerbaijani security forces in Lachin and noted that the deployment was not officially announced due to the delay in the launch of the road between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. The transfer of Lachin to the control of Baku was determined by the agreement signed by Ilham Aliev, Nikol Pashinyan, and Vladimir Putin in November 2020, but was delayed due to the lack of an alternative road from Karabakh to Armenia. On August 11, the authorities of Azerbaijan reported that the construction of the road along the new route of the Lachin Corridor was completed and announced the opening of traffic on the road within a week. Most of the residents of the Lachin Corridor have left their houses. Of them, many have decided to settle in the Syunik Region of Armenia, and twenty families have already settled there, the authorities reported. The residents of the Lachin Corridor complained that they had to get packed in a hurry and that the money allocated by the authorities for the move was not enough.

Hunger strike of prisoners in Georgia

On August 21, it became known that prisoners of the Rustavi prison were on a hunger strike in protest against denials of medical care and visits from relatives. At a protest action, relatives of the prisoners demanded to improve the conditions of detention of those arrested. On August 26, more than 30 prisoners said that they would not stop their hunger strike until the administration of the penitentiary institution was replaced. Relatives reported a deterioration in the condition of some of the hunger-strikers. According to one of the lawyers, more than 70 prisoners joined the hunger strike. However, the Penitentiary Service of Georgia denied the information and stated that all the hunger-strikers “are under the special supervision of doctors.”

Information about the murder of Salman Tepsurkaev in Chechnya

Olga Sadovskaya, a lawyer of the “Team Against Torture”* reported that Salman Tepsurkaev, a native of Chechnya, could not be helped and it was known for sure about his death. In September 2020, a wide public outcry was provoked by a video in which naked Salman Tepsurkaev was sitting down on a bottle, explaining that he was doing that as punishment for collaborating with the “1Adat”** Telegram channel that criticized the authorities. Relatives of Salman Tepsurkaev believe that after being kidnapped in Gelendzhik, the man was taken to a law enforcement body in Grozny. Olga Sadovskaya noted that human rights violations in Chechnya were “spilling out” all over Russia. Salman Tepsurkaev was killed back in September 2020 and buried in an unmarked grave, as relatives were told to “bury him like a dog,” according to a Chechen Telegram channel. Salman Tepsurkaev’s death was a foregone conclusion after he read out poems that insulted a mother of an influential citizen of the Chechen republic, Ruslan Kutaev, the president of the Assembly of Caucasian Nations, believes. The murder of Salman Tepsurkaev highlighted the triumph of lawlessness in Chechnya, stated human rights defender Svetlana Gannushkina.

Determination of candidates for the post of leader of Adygea

Murat Kumpilov, the leader of Adygea, and Evgeny Grunin and Alexander Loboda, members of the State Council-Khase, became candidates for the post of the leader of the republic. The candidacy of Murat Kumpilov was proposed to President Putin by the “Edinaya Rossiya” (United Russia) Party, Evgeny Grunin was elected to the State Council from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), and Alexander Loboda represents the “Spravedlivaya Rossiya-Patrioty-Za Pravdu” (Fair Russia-Patriots-For Truth) Party. The election of the leader of Adygea is scheduled for September 11. The Murat Kumpilov’s rivals in the election will be technical candidates, and his re-election is inevitable, analysts say.

*The “Team Against Torture” (formerly the “Committee Against Torture”) was created by lawyers who previously worked for the “Committee Against Torture” (CaT), which was included in the register of foreign agents.

**In July 2021, the Zavodskoi Court of Grozny recognized a number of posts by the “1Adat” Telegram channel as extremist and also recognized the “1Adat” Movement’s Internet resources as prohibited, and in May 2022, the Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya recognized the “1Adat” Movement itself as an extremist organization and banned its activities in Russia.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 29, 2022 at 09:40 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Source: Caucasian Knot

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