The Afipsky Oil Refinery. Photo by the press service of the plant

30 October 2023, 22:49

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of October 23-29, 2023

Northern Caucasus chooses Palestine, fire at the Afipsky Oil Refinery, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are unravelling the knots, new awards for Adam Kadyrov, and official data on the natives of Southern Russia who perished in Ukraine, – see the review of these and other events in the Caucasus during the week of October 23-29, 2023, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Northern Caucasus chooses Palestine

On October 29, an airport in Makhachkala was closed due to riots, the participants of which protested against accepting a flight from Israel. Hundreds of people took part in the protest action, and more than 20 people were injured. The protesters broke into the airport premises, entered the runway, and clashes occurred between them and the police. The Russian Jewish Congress called anti-Semitic protests in the republics of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) not typical. The Makhachkala airport was closed, and several flight routes were changed.

On October 28, the Coordinating Centre of Muslims in Northern Caucasus pointed out the inadmissibility of inciting ethnic hatred in connection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Prior to that, the Coordinating Centre of Muslims in Northern Caucasus accused Israel of “terrorism and genocide” with the complicity of the United States and the Western countries and demanded from the UN to intervene in the situation to protect the people of Palestine.

On October 26, anonymous Telegram channels posted the addresses of synagogues and the names of rabbis in Stavropol, Krasnodar, Sochi, Nalchik, and Derbent, accompanied by anti-Semitic statements. However, the posts with addresses contained no direct threats.

On October 28, hundreds of people gathered in front of a hotel in Khasavyurt following messages on social media reporting that refugees from Israel were staying at the hotel. The police allowed the protesters to verify that there were only tourists from Russia among the hotel guests and after that the protesters left the place.

On the same day, a rally was held in Cherkessk in front of the government building of Karachay-Cherkessia, the participants of which demanded not to allow refugees from Israel entering the republic and to collect assistance for Palestine. The rally participants stated that the action gathered 500 people. According to the police, 80 people took part in the protest action. Law enforcers drew up protocols on administrative violations against 34 protesters.

In Nalchik, a fire occurred in a Jewish cultural centre under construction, and an anti-Semitic inscription was also painted on the building.

Fire at Afipsky Oil Refinery

On the night of October 29, a fire occurred on the territory of the Afipsky Oil Refinery, and it was extinguished within half an hour, reported the Kuban operational headquarters. As a result, no one was injured, and the infrastructure was not damaged.

The Afipsky Oil Refinery is a large oil refinery. Residents of the Seversky District of the Krasnodar Territory reported that they heard an explosion in the area of the oil refinery. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), on the night of October 29, 36 drones directed from Ukraine were destroyed in the northwestern part of Crimea and over the Black Sea.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

Ravkhat Avgustinov, a resident of the Akhtubinsky District of the Astrakhan Region, took part in recording a video in which he “expressed obscene language” against a military man participating in the special military operation in Ukraine. In court, Ravkhat Avgustinov pleaded guilty and was fined 30,000 roubles.

On October 25, it became known that the Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar fined local resident Ksenia Shevchik 30,000 roubles, finding her guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. According to the police, Ksenia Shevchik liked a photo with the Ukrainian flag in a WhatsApp* group.

On October 23, a hearing was held in court in a case against Kalmyk journalist Valery Badmaev. Witnesses did not appear again. In an official conclusion, an expert did not confirm that the statement in the video about the use of phosphorus bombs referred to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. According to an advocate, the expert’s conclusion confirmed the version that Valery Badmaev was not guilty in discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are unravelling knots

Khikmet Gadjiev, the assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, announced that Armenia and Azerbaijan could not agree on the implementation of the Zangezur Corridor project, but a similar project can be implemented in cooperation with Iran. Meanwhile, on October 5, Elchin Amirbekov, a representative of the President of Azerbaijan, announced the authorities of Azerbaijan insist that Yerevan should provide guarantees for traffic safety on the section of Zangezur Corridor.

When commenting on the statement voiced by the assistant to the President of Azerbaijan concerning the loss of interest in the corridor to Nakhichevan through Syunik, Armenian political analysts have suggested that the Azerbaijan’s refusal of belligerent rhetoric on the issue of the Zangezur Corridor is associated with the position of the Western countries and Iran. Azerbaijan is sending a signal to Armenia about not going to fight with it for transport communications, Azerbaijani analysts believe.

On October 26, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that Yerevan and Baku could conclude a peace agreement within the coming months. Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed that they mutually recognize each other’s territorial integrity of 29,800 sq. km and 86,600 sq. km, respectively.

Artak Beglaryan, the former State Minister of the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, stated that less than half of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh who had to leave their homes received financial support under the state programme in Armenia and that about 10% of refugees have already left Armenia for other countries.

New awards for Adam Kadyrov

On October 24, the leader of Tatarstan awarded Adam Kadyrov with the Order of Duslyk (Friendship) after a critical comment voiced by a Tatarstan parliament member about the situation with the beating of Nikita Zhuravel and the awarding of Kadyrov Jr. The MP himself had to apologize for his statement when Rustam Minnikhanov hastily distanced himself from his opinion.

In August, Nikita Zhuravel, a resident of Volgograd, taken to a Grozny SIZO (pre-trial prison) after being arrested in a case on burning the Koran, was beaten. On September 25, Ramzan Kadyrov posted a video of the beating and stated that Nikita Zhuravel was beaten by Adam Kadyrov. The leader of Chechnya praised his son for the beating. The actions of Ramzan Kadyrov’s son were also approved by the close associates of the leader of Chechnya. On October 6, Russian State Duma member Adam Delimkhanov announced that Adam Kadyrov had been awarded the title of Hero of Chechnya.

On the other day, Rashid Temrezov, the leader of Karachay-Cherkessia, announced that the son of the leader of Chechnya had been awarded the Order of Merit for the Karachay-Cherkessian Republic. At the same time, Telegram users called for the merits of 15-year-old Adam Kadyrov to be listed.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By October 29, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 2801 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1386 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1415 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 653 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 576, in the Rostov Region – 314, in the Krasnodar Territory – 232, in North Ossetia – 221, in the Astrakhan Region – 213, in Stavropol Territory – 195, in Chechnya – 138, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 110, in Ingushetia – 44, in Adygea – 36, in Kalmykia – 44, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 24.

*On March 21, 2022, the Tverskoi Court of Moscow banned the activities in Russia of the Meta Company, owning the Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, in connection with extremist activities.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on October 30, 2023 at 09:10 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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