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Daghestanis protest utility cuts

13 January 2023
Protesters blocking the road with their cars in the Karaman-2 suburb of Makhachkala. Screenshot from Chernovik

Protesters in Daghestan's capital Makhachkala and the south of the republic demanded that gas and electricity supply be restored.

On Thursday, two protests were held against ongoing utility cuts in Daghestan, with protesters blocking a main road in Makhachkala and gathering in front of a local government building in southern Daghestan. 

Residents of the Karaman-2 suburb of Makhachkala blocked the main road in their settlement on Thursday after having been without electricity for several days. 

Videos and photographs showed cars parked in the road with their headlights on and a small crowd of people outside of cars protesting. 

According to the local newspaper Chernovik, several people were arrested after the police arrived. 

Reports of how long residents had been without electricity vary, with local paper Novoe Delo reporting that residents had been without electricity for two days, while the Daghestani Telegram channel Sprosite u Rassula reported that electricity had been cut for four days. 

This is not the first time residents of the Karaman-2 settlement have protested against a lack of electricity. On  28 November 2021, protesters alleged that their electricity was frequently cut, despite residents having paid their electricity bills. 

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Prior to the protest, Rosseti Northern Caucasus, the electricity provider for seven North Caucasian republics, announced that electricity cuts had been caused by ‘snowfall and turbulent winds’, which went on to obstruct their repair. On 13 January, the company announced that almost 7,000 people remained without electricity in Daghestan.

Chernovik also reported on Wednesday that they had received hundreds of reports of electricity, gas, and water cuts from across the republic, with many reporting shortages of all three.  Readers wrote that children were becoming ill, and those required to work remotely risked losing their jobs. 

Sitting in the car to keep warm

Around 80 protesters gathered in the Levashinksy district of south Daghestan on Thursday afternoon, half of which has been left without gas, according to Kavkaz.Realii

‘[There’s] no pressure in the pipes. There is not enough gas to heat the houses’, a protester told the outlet. 

AiF Daghestan reported that the head of the district, the head of the gas service and the head of the police met with and spoke to the protesters, who said they had been waiting for the gas to be restored for four days, but to no avail.

‘Those who are freezing, what should they do? I put my grandchildren in the car the night before yesterday, and [we were sitting] in the [warmed] car,' one of the protesters said.

According to AiF Daghestan, the head of the Levashinsky district, Shamil Dabishev, announced at the beginning of the week that ‘the situation has stabilised and the gas pressure in the system is normalising’.