Enterprising young people in South Ossetia have lots of ideas for improving their homeland but the challenges are many. Few opportunities to develop a career at home, even fewer opportunities to travel abroad, a lack of cultural and recreational facilities, and a dearth of funding for youth initiatives mean the obstacles can seem insurmountable. Nevertheless, many are willing to try.
Last week, Grozny’s Staropromyslovsky District Court rejected an appeal from Oyub Titiyev’s lawyer, Pyotr Zaikin, to have his case transferred to another region of the North Caucasus. Titiyev, the head of Russian rights group Memorial’s Chechen branch, is the latest government critic to be prosecuted on drug charges in the republic. Zaikin says the drugs were planted by police and insists Titiyev will not receive a fair trial in Chechnya, he also accused the Russian Investigative Committee of being unwilling to get to the truth of the matter.
From 13 April, marches, meetings, and other acts of protest took place across Armenia as part of the ‘My Step’ initiative from the Civil Contract Party, and their leader Nikol Pashinyan. Protesters were struggling against the premiership of Armenia’s third President, Serzh Sargsyan. In the weeks of demonstrations, students made up the bulk of the protesters committing acts of civil disobedience, throughout Yerevan and beyond.
Magomed Khazbiyev, a well-known Ingush opposition figure and public activist, has been in a detention facility in the town of Karabulak since 11 January. He is being accused of illegal possession of weapons. He claims that the charges have been fabricated. His lawyers insist upon his release. Khazbiyev suffers from ulcers and skin disease. A suspect under investigation with such diseases should be released for treatment.
Since exiled Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli disappeared from Tbilisi, reappearing a day later in an Azerbaijani jail, suspicions of Georgian involvement in his kidnapping have remained. Mukhtarli himself has accused the Georgian government of complicity, and while this is a charge they deny, local rights groups are becoming impatient with the pace and transparency of the official investigation into his disappearance.
For better or worse, Turkish culture exerts a considerable influence on modern Azerbaijani youth culture. While for many films, television, music, and literature from Turkey offer a window into the wider world, some worry it is supplanting Azerbaijan’s own culture. [Read more…]
Azerbaijan is holding snap presidential elections on 11 April under a new constitution. Despite the opposition candidates not barred from or boycotting the race trying to present themselves as independent or oppositional, there is little doubt Ilham Aliyev will be reelected to a now extended term of seven more years.
On Sunday 18 March, Russia held presidential elections. OC Media’s correspondent in Daghestan, Aida Mirmaksumova, was in Makhachkala as a member of the territorial election commission. Vladimir Putin was declared the winner in the elections, with the official results giving 90.73% of votes in Daghestan to him. [Read more…]