13 November 2023, 23:48
Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 6-12, 2023
Rain of awards for Kadyrov family, detainees in Makhachkala, opposition in Azerbaijan, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, Vagif Khachatryan’s case, destruction of Armenian Church in Nagorno-Karabakh, 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 November 6-12, 2023, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.
Rain of awards for Kadyrov family
While Caucasus experts are arguing about the motives for awarding Adam Kadyrov, on November 7, Kazbek Kokov, the leader of Kabardino-Balkaria, announced that he had awarded the son of Ramzan Kadyrov with the highest award of the republic, the Order of Merit for the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic (KBR). The day earlier, Mufti of Karachay-Cherkessia Ismail-Khadji Berdiev handed over the Order of Merit for the Ummah (Muslim community) to Adam Kadyrov, who beat in a SIZO (pre-trial prison) Nikita Zhuravel, a resident of Volgograd, prosecuted in a case on the burning of the Koran.
On November 9, Ramzan Kadyrov awarded his nephew and advisor-assistant with the title of Hero of Chechnya, noting that he also handed over to Khamzat Kadyrov the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, II degree.
On the same day, Magomed Daudov, the chair of the Chechen parliament, posted in his Telegram channel a video from the ceremony of awarding the highest order of the Chechen parliament “Daimekhkan Siy” to Akhmat, Eli, and Adam Kadyrov. Magomed Daudov emphasized that the Ramzan Kadyrov’s sons “set guidelines for what a real Chechen should be.”
The appointment of Ramzan Kadyrov’s son as the head of the security department of the leader of Chechnya fails to correlate well with labour legislation for teenagers and emphasizes the hereditary principle of the formation of power in the republic, Caucasus experts point out. They believe the above appointment is a test for Adam Kadyrov of his ability to lead Chechnya following his father.
Meanwhile, on November 8, in the village of Kadi-Yurt in the Gudermes District, law enforcers conducted a raid and completely cordoned off the village. Sources reported about the detention of several dozen local residents, According to sources, one of the detainees spoke out in support of Palestine. The detentions in the village of Kadi-Yurt could be provoked by the people’s reaction to the Palestinian events, but there is no reliable information about the reasons for the raid yet, human rights defenders note.
Detainees in Makhachkala
On November 5, the Chief Directorate for the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) reported in its Telegram channel that the police were still engaged in identifying those involved in the riots at an airport in Makhachkala. The police detained 201 people for violating public order and drew up administrative protocols against 155 of them.
The Magaramkent District Court of Dagestan considered the cases against two local residents who were charged with organizing an unsanctioned public event. Both men posted a picture with an inscription calling for people to come out to a protest rally in Makhachkala. The court sentenced Gadjikerim Shikhkerimov to 20 hours of compulsory labour and fined Balamet Balametov 20,000 roubles.
On November 7, Rufat Ismailov, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs for Dagestan, and Dalgat Abdulgapurov, Deputy Head of the MIA’s Investigating Department, were detained in a case on receiving a huge bribe. The court arrested Rufat Ismailov for two months, and the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs pleaded not guilty.
Opposition in Azerbaijan
Elkhan Aliev, an opposition party activist, is not receiving the necessary medical care in a SIZO (pre-trial prison), despite his deteriorating condition after a heart attack. This was reported by the activist’s father. Human rights defender Rufat Safarov called for Elkhan Aliev to be hospitalized.
The complaint filed against the arrest of Orkhan Gadjily, a son of Arif Gadjily, the chair of the “Musavat” opposition party, was dismissed. “Orkhan Gadjily called the case against him fabricated and politically motivated with the aim of revenge for his father’s opposition activities,” noted advocate Nemat Kerimli.
Activist Bakhtiyar Gadjiev has been charged with tax evasion. The activist considered the new charge, like the previous ones, fabricated and politically motivated.
The trial in a case against journalist Osman Narimanoglu is being deliberately delayed, and it has been going on for more than 16 months already, states journalist’s wife Arzu Rzaeva. The woman considers the situation as moral pressure on her husband.
Nine congressmen and a senator from New Jersey appealed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in connection with the arrest of Gubad Ibadoglu in Azerbaijan. They called on the US Secretary of State to strengthen measures for the release of the politician, said Galib Bairamov, a brother of the arrested man.
Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia
The Pravoberezhny District Court of North Ossetia fined Viktor Lizunov, recognizing that the slogan the man wrote in support of Ukraine discredited the Russian Armed Forces. The Aksai District Court of the Rostov Region sentenced local resident Mikhail Golovin to a fine.
Viktor Femelidi, a resident of Volgograd, who posted a comment insulting the Russian military, was fined for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The court took into account that the Volgograd resident is a I Group Invalid person and fined him 15,000 roubles.
On November 9, a public prosecutor requested a court to sentence Valery Badmaev, the editor-in-chief of the “Modern Kalmykia” publication, to three years of imprisonment for reposting a video on the social network.
The Kamyzyaksky District Court fined Ramon Tursunov, a resident of the Astrakhan Region, 30,000 roubles in a case on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The resident of Astrakhan posted comments on the “VKontakte” social network that “contained the information contributing to the loss of trust in the Russian Armed Forces.”
The Kirovsky District Court of Volgograd fined local resident Gegam Asratyan 30,000 roubles. The man posted a video on YouTube in which he expressed the slogan used by Ukrainian militaries as a greeting.
Vagif Khachatryan’s case
In Baku, a court sentenced Vagif Khachatryan, a resident of Nagorno-Karabakh, to 15 years of imprisonment, finding him guilty of participating in crimes against residents of the Azerbaijani village of Meshali.
A public prosecutor noted that in accordance with the laws of Azerbaijan, the maximum punishment for Vagif Khachatryan should be life imprisonment. However, according to the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan, people over 65 years old may not be sentenced to life imprisonment, but the maximum penalty for them could be 20 years of imprisonment. However, since 1991, for such crimes, the laws of Azerbaijan have provided for punishment in the form of imprisonment for terms of 10 to 15 years. Based on the above, the public prosecutor requested the court to impose the maximum possible sentence on Vagif Khachatryan in the form of imprisonment for a term of up to 15 years.
Destruction of Armenian Church in Nagorno-Karabakh
The “Caucasus Heritage Watch” (CHW), an international organization for the protection of Caucasian heritage, released a report on a study of the destruction of the village of Mokhrenes in the Gadrut District of Nagorno-Karabakh. The CHW documented the complete destruction of the Armenian village in the summer of 2022, including the St. Sarkis Church of the 18th-19th centuries among the destroyed buildings.
Satellite images from October 2021 show the village and the St. Sarkis Church completely intact. However, already in July 2022, satellite images show the church and most of the buildings as ruins. According to satellite images from October 2023, a new building has been built on the site of the Armenian church or an attempt has been made to restore the old building.
Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine
By November 12, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 2878 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1412 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1466 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).
In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 660 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 596, in the Rostov Region – 318, in the Krasnodar Territory – 247, in North Ossetia – 226, in the Astrakhan Region – 222, in Stavropol Territory – 208, in Chechnya – 138, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 112, in Kalmykia – 46, in Ingushetia – 44, in Adygea – 37, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 24.