Participants in a march under the slogan "Freedom to prisoners of the regime". Tbilisi, June 2, 2024. Photo: Interpressnews

03 June 2024, 22:57

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of May 27-June 2, 2024

Georgian parliament overcomes presidential veto, flooding in the Lori Province, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, news from Ingushetia, 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 May 27-June 2, 2024, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Georgian parliament overcomes presidential veto

On May 21, the Venice Commission (officially European Commission for Democracy through Law) strongly recommended the authorities of Georgia to consider changing the existing laws to put them in accordance with the European and international standards. The Venice Commission’s conclusions note that the law “on foreign agents” will affect open public debates, pluralism and democracy and that it also does not meet European requirements for democratic lawmaking. On May 27, the legal committee of the Georgian parliament approved the lifting of the presidential veto on the law “on foreign agents.” On May 28, MPs overcame the presidential veto on the law: 84 MPs voted against the veto, while four others supported it.

In response, the President of Georgia has called on opponents of the law “on foreign agents” to begin collecting signatures for holding a referendum and express their position in the parliamentary elections. The authorities of Georgia can still return to the path of European integration, European politicians say, noting that they are considering all options for reacting to the adoption of the law.

Meanwhile, on the night of June 1, several dozen people attacked the office of the opposition “United National Movement” (UNM) Party in Tbilisi. The “UNM” Party opposes the law “on foreign agents”. Participants in the attack opened fire from firearms and threw stones at the building. The attackers tried to break into the office, but they failed, announced Levan Khabeishvili, the leader of the “UNM” Party, as reported by the “Tbilisi Life” Telegram channel. Levan Khabeishvili clarified that there were employees in the office at the moment of the attack, including himself and his minor son. The party leader noted that the police arrived only an hour later, although a police station is located a kilometre from the place of the incident. Levan Khabeishvili believes that the police and the State Security Service of Georgia were involved in the incident.

Flooding in Lori Province

More than 140 people still stay in the flooding zone in the Sanahin Sarahart District, and rescuers supply them with food, the chief of the Armenian Rescue Service reports. The greatest damage has been caused to the village of Karkop, which is still covered by one and a half metres of water, reports the Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure. On May 27, four deaths were reported. The country’s authorities declared the villages and towns affected by the flooding a zone of disaster and allocated 300 million drams to eliminate its consequences.

On May 30, Kamo Tsutsulyan, the director of the Rescue Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Armenia, reported that in total, 441 people were evacuated from the villages and towns in the Lori and Tavush Provinces.

The local authorities are not adapting to possible climate risks in order to get people and infrastructure prepared for natural disasters, suggests Oleg Dulgaryan. Armenia is considered a climate-vulnerable country, but communities are not prepared for anomalies, Inga Zarafyan notes. The state must at least partially compensate for the damage to its citizens from natural disasters, Ani Chatinyan states.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

The Gelendzhik City Court has received for consideration a case instituted against Vasily Romanyuta on repeated discrediting of the Russian Armed Forces. The article provides for up to five years of imprisonment.

Two administrative protocols for discrediting the Russian Armed Forces have been drawn up against Vladimir Kryachko, a resident of Kabardino-Balkaria, the official website of the Elbrusky District Court reports.

Oksana Voronina, a resident of the Tikhoretsky District of the Krasnodar Territory, was fined 30,000 roubles because of a comment posted by her on a Telegram channel under the news about the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin. The Central District Court of Sochi imposed a fine of 45,000 roubles on Yuri Boretsky, a railway worker, a native of the Ukrainian city of Zhitomir. His colleagues reported the statements voiced by Yuri Boretsky at his workplace and noted that the man opposed the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine from its very beginning. The same court imposed a fine of 30,000 roubles on Yulia Vaganova. According to the law enforcers’ version, the woman posted a music video about the events in Ukrainian Bucha on her page on the “VKontakte” social network and left a comment under it.

A resident of Krasnodar was fined 30,000 roubles for shouting Ukrainian slogans.

News from Ingushetia

In Moscow, a court arrested for two months Magomed-Bashir Kalimatov, the former chief of the postal department of Ingushetia and a brother of republic’s leader, in a case on fraud and an organized criminal grouping. Public prosecutors suggest that the case is related to a case on the embezzlement of 2 billion roubles by employees of the Pension Fund and the “Russian Post”. On May 28, it became known that Usman Aushev, who served as the Mayor of Magas until 2023, was put on the wanted list. Usman Aushev is suspected of abuse of power and fraud, sources report.

On May 28, the official Kremlin’s website released a report on the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov, the leader of Ingushetia. “Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov reported to the President about the construction and renovation of kindergartens and schools in the republic. The head of Ingushetia also spoke about industrial projects and the measures aimed at increasing the investment attractiveness of the region,” the annotation to the Kremlin’s report says. The arrest of the Ingush leader’s brother and putting on the wanted list of the former Mayor of Magas are not related, analysts suggest. They believe that the brother’s arrest has shaken the Makhmud-Ali Kalimatov’s fairly strong position, but the report about the meeting with Vladimir Putin looks like support from the Kremlin, where a decision will be made on the further political career of the head of Ingushetia.

Meanwhile, three Ingush political prisoners Barakh Chemurziev, Bagaudin Khautiev, and Ismail Nalgiev, serving their sentences in a penal colony in the Stavropol Territory, filed motions to a court to replace the unserved parts of their sentences with a punishment more lenient than serving a sentence in a penal colony. However, the court refused to grant the political prisoners’ motions.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By June 2, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 4107 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 2045 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 2062 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 908 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 757, in the Rostov Region – 441, in the Krasnodar Territory – 405, in the Stavropol Territory – 392, in the Astrakhan Region – 323, in North Ossetia – 287, in Chechnya – 191, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 145, in Kalmykia – 79, in Karachay-Cherkessia – 61, in Ingushetia – 61, and in Adygea – 57.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on June 3, 2024 at 09:30 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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