Girls hijab (left) and niqab (right). Screenshot of a video posted by the Alif TV on May 26, 2024

09 July 2024, 18:09

Week in the Caucasus: review of main events of July 1-7, 2024

Explosion in Volgograd, drone attacks, persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia, about niqabs and hijabs, 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 July 1-7, 2024, prepared by the “Caucasian Knot”.

Explosion in Volgograd

On July 6, an explosion took place at a pumping station in Volgograd. As a result, two persons – a shift supervisor and a welder – were killed. According to the preliminary information, three other persons may be under the ruins. Investigators identified violations committed during welding work as the preliminary cause of the explosion.

“The search for people under the ruins is complicated, as gas could be accumulated under the collapsed walls and there is no understanding of where exactly the people could be blocked,” the rescue services state. According to a source, the building went underground to a depth of a five-storey building.

Drone attacks

On July 5, four adults and two children were injured in Primorsko-Akhtarsk as a result of a drone attack. The victims were hospitalized. On the same day, a six-year-old girl died in hospital from the injuries she got.

The drone attack also damaged a three-storey building. Tenants were evacuated, reported Krasnodar Territory Governor Veniamin Kondratiev. According to the information released by the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD), fourteen aircraft-type drones were destroyed in the Krasnodar Territory. A total of 26 residents of the damaged house were sent to a temporary accommodation centre (TAC).

On the night of July 6, after the fall of drones, fires broke out at an oil depot in the village of Pavlovskaya and in the village of Leningradskaya in the Krasnodar Territory.

The Russian Armed Forces shot down ten drones in the Rostov Region, and as a result, fires occurred in the regional centre and the Azov region, Rostov Region Governor Vasily Golubev reported on July 5. In the Aksai District, three residential buildings burned down, in which more than fifty people lived.

Vladimir Vladimirov, Governor of the Stavropol Territory, reported that on July 8, two drones fell in the village of Moskovsky in the Izobilnensky District. “The infrastructure was not damaged,” the Governor of the Stavropol Territory wrote in his Telegram channel.

On the night of July 3, two boats traveling in the Black Sea in the direction of Novorossiysk were destroyed. No casualties or damage as a result of the attack were reported.

Persecution of pacifists and activists in Southern Russia

Sofya Musina, a resident of Sochi, was fined 50,000 roubles under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces. The reason for drawing up the administrative protocol was a post on a social network of a “modified Russian flag,” used by protesters against the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine.

A court in the Tlyaratinsky District fined 30,000 roubles teacher Zharula Ramazanov, who, in front of his fellow villagers, spoke out against the special military operation in Ukraine and the death of fighters from Dagestan in it.

The Elbrussky District Court of Kabardino-Balkaria found Vladimir Kryachko, a 61-year-old taxi driver from Tyrnyauz, guilty in two cases on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces and imposed on him two fines of 15,000 roubles each. According to the investigators’ version, while driving his clients, Vladimir Kryachko “was calling for preventing the use” of the Russian Armed Forces.

In his complaint lodged with the UN Human Rights Committee, Vitaly Fedorenko, a resident of Mikhailovsk, claimed that six fines imposed on him under the article on discrediting the Russian Armed Forces for expressing personal opinions are unlawful and violate human rights.

The Prokhladnensky District Court received an administrative protocol drawn up against local resident Viktor Marchuk. The police said that the man “publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the conduct of the special military operation, spoke negatively about the activities of public officers and the media, and expressed his disagreement with the <decisions> made by the President of the Russian Federation regarding the special military operation in Ukraine.” The court returned the protocol to the police for correction of violations.

Archpriest Andrei Drugai from Krasnodar, deprived of the right to conduct priestly services, reported that he had to leave Russia due to the threat of arrest for preaching about peace, contrary to the policies of the Russian Orthodox Church. Religious figures who oppose the fighting in Ukraine are being persecuted, notes the leader of a public organization for helping clergy.

About niqabs and hijabs

On July 1, Mufti of Dagestan Akhmad-Afandi Abdulaev announced that the Muftiate of the republic would soon issue a fatwa (a ruling based on the principles of Islam), banning wearing niqabs. There are no grounds for a general ban on wearing niqabs, but a temporary ban may be introduced for security reasons, the head of the Muftiate’s fatwa department has emphasized. On July 3, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) of Dagestan reported that a ban on wearing niqabs had been introduced in the republic.

The Coordination Centre for Muslims of Northern Caucasus declared the advisability of wearing niqabs. “There is no talk of banning wearing hijabs, and no one will speak of such a ban. Let us remind you that the laws of the Russian Federation do not restrict wearing hijabs, and, moreover, the laws allow people taking photographs in a hijab to obtain a passport,” the Coordination Centre for Muslims of Northern Caucasus emphasizes on its official website.

On July 4, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) of Karachay-Cherkessia introduced a temporary ban on wearing niqabs in the republic.

Wearing a niqab is a custom, not an obligation of a Muslim woman, the Muftiate of Kabardino-Balkaria has stated.

On July 3, a court arrested Dagestani blogger Khadjimurad Khanov for two months in a case on illegal arms trafficking. The charges of possessing a firearm and a grenade brough against the Dagestani blogger are absurd, and the attention of the law enforcement bodies is caused by the scandal surrounding Khadjimurad Khanov’s demands for an apology from a doctor in Khasavyurt who asked a patient to remove her niqab during medical examination, to which the leader of Dagestan reacted, journalists and activists believe. In their opinion, Khadjimurad Khanov did not take into account the scale of the public response against the backdrop of the militants’ attacks in Makhachkala and Derbent and the discussions about the ban on wearing niqabs in the republic.

The topic of banning wearing niqabs in the republics of North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) is not being discussed in the Kremlin, the Russian presidential press secretary has announced.

The problem of wearing niqabs is far-fetched for Russia, and the ban on wearing niqabs in Dagestan and Karachay-Cherkessia will be followed by an attack on the hijab and other attributes of Islam, Islamic scholars interviewed by the “Caucasian Knot” believe.

Official data on natives of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine

By July 7, the authorities and the law enforcement bodies reported about at least 4371 residents of Southern Russia perished in Ukraine, including 2139 residents of the North-Caucasian Federal District (NCFD) and 2232 residents of the Southern Federal District (SFD).

In Dagestan, the authorities reported about 938 local residents perished in Ukraine, in the Volgograd Region – 823, in the Rostov Region – 474, in the Krasnodar Territory – 451, in the Stavropol Territory – 436, in the Astrakhan Region – 339, in North Ossetia – 293, in Chechnya – 191, in Kabardino-Balkaria – 151, in Kalmykia – 88, in Ingushetia – 67, in Karachay-Cherkessia – 63, and in Adygea – 57.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 8, 2024 at 08:55 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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