The Armenian cemetery damaged in Shushi between Oct. 5 and Nov. 3. Photo

04 December 2023, 22:50

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of November 27-December 3, 2023

Authorities against dissent in Azerbaijan, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, around Nagorno-Karabakh, natural disasters in Southern Russia, 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 27-December 3, 2023, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Authorities against dissent in Azerbaijan

On November 27, the police conducted a search in a house of Aziz Orudjev, the director of the Azerbaijani “Kanal-13” online TV Channel. An advocate reports that Aziz Orudjev has been detained on the charge of unsanctioned construction. Media expert Alesker Mamedli associates the detention of Aziz Orudjev with his professional activities. On November 28, the court arrested Aziz Orudjev for two months. On December 2, the court arrested Rufat Muradly, another employee of the “Kanal-13” online TV Channel, finding him guilty of hooliganism and failure to obey a legal request of the police.

On November 30, Nargiz Absalamova was summoned by the police as a witness in a criminal case of the “Abzas Media” online edition, after which she was detained and charged with smuggling, like her colleagues. On December 1, the court arrested Nargiz Absalamova for three months. The journalist associates the criminal prosecution against her with professional activities. The persecution of the “Abzas Media” employees is related to their anti-corruption investigations. This was announced by the “Committee to Protect Journalists” (CPJ), which requested the authorities of Azerbaijan to release the arrested journalists. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has announced that foreign funding of the “Abzas Media” violates the country’s laws.

Despite the deterioration of the Gubad Ibadoglu’s health state in a SIZO (pre-trial prison), the detainee is denied hospitalization and is not provided with qualified medical care, which violates the requirements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), claim a brother and an advocate of the opposition politician.

The names of nineteen journalists, oppositionists, and religious activists are included in the list of political prisoners updated by the Union “For Freedom to Political Prisoners of Azerbaijan”. Within two months, the list increased up to 254 people.

Religious activist Murad Abdullaev was convicted in Azerbaijan. The court reclassified his charge to a more lenient one and sentenced him to three years of imprisonment. The defence is not satisfied with the verdict and intends to file an appeal against it.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

Jonah (Ilya Sigida), a Hieromonk of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), earlier arrested for two days on the charge of resisting law enforcers during a search in his church, was fined 30,000 roubles. The court has recognized his article as discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.

In the Malgobek District of Ingushetia, a court fined local resident Mussa Khutiev, finding him guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. In Vladikavkaz, a court found the video posted by local resident Valery Ikaev to be discrediting the Russian Armed Forces and sentenced him to a fine.

The City Court of Cherkessk fined Yuri Kardanov 30,000 roubles, finding him guilty of discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.

The Maikop District Court imposed a fine of 15,000 roubles on Evgeniy Brazhnikov, a resident of Adygea. According to a report released by the Maikop District Court’s official website, on July 17, Evgeniy Brazhnikov posted a pacifist comment on the “VKontakte” social network. The resident of Adygea admitted his guilt, but reported that he suffered from an emotionally labile disorder and that he had a low level of income. The court imposed a fine less than the minimum.

The Central District Court of Sochi fined local resident Olga Verkhososova 40,000 roubles, finding her guilty under the administrative article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. According to the police protocol, the woman used her mobile phone to film a radar station placed on a ship in the seaport of Sochi and then shouted a pro-Ukrainian slogan to the military men standing next to her.

Around Nagorno-Karabakh

In Yerevan, participants of a rally demanded to implement the resolution on the reunification of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. The issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh’s status should be considered taking into account the Azerbaijan’s failure to fulfil its obligations and comply with the international law, state political analysts.

Heaps of garbage have been dumped on the territory of the Ghazanchetsots cemetery southeast of the Cathedral of St. Christ the All-Savior in Shushi. This is the sixth Armenian cemetery destroyed since November 2020 in Artsakh, announces the “Caucasus Heritage Watch” organization.

On November 27, 25 families of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned from Baku to Fizuli, and the number of residents returning to the city reached 1106. Azerbaijani analysts point out possible problems with the resettlement of residents. It is not enough to simply provide housing to people, but it is also necessary to ensure the functioning of the infrastructure and create jobs.

Natural disasters in Southern Russia

On November 24-25, due to heavy rainfall, dozens of houses were flooded in the city of Goryachiy Klyuch and the Bezymyanny rural district. The state of emergency was imposed in the city. On the night of November 27, the Mediterranean cyclone, which flooded some cities in Turkey, reached Crimea and struck the Krasnodar Territory and the Rostov Region. The cyclone destroyed many embankments and beaches, tore roofs off houses, and caused accidents.

In Krasnodar, Anapa, Sochi, and Novorossiysk, strong winds knocked down trees and injured several people. The hurricane tore off roofs from buildings, damaged power lines, and residential buildings were flooded as a result of the heavy rainfall. A foreign cargo ship ran aground near the Anapa village of Vityazevo because of a storm. The bodies of two persons killed during the storm were found in Sochi and Novorossiysk. Due to bad weather in Southern Russia, 995 people were evacuated.

In Sochi, the railway service, which was interrupted due to trees blown down on the contact line of the tracks, has been restored, reports Sochi Mayor Alexei Kopaigorodsky.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By December 3, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 2997 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 1470 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 1527 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 689 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 615, in the Rostov Region – 326, in the Krasnodar Territory – 255, in the Astrakhan Region – 240, in North Ossetia – 240, in Stavropol Territory – 218, in Chechnya – 139, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 114, in Kalmykia – 51, in Ingushetia – 44, in Adygea – 40, and in Karachay-Cherkessia – 26.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on December 4, 2023 at 10:15 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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