The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation upheld a decision to draw a border between the republics of Ingushetia and Chechnya. In September the two republics signed an agreement to define the border between them. This was the first time that the border has been defined since the split of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic after the collpase of the USSR. The agreement became law in each republic in October, but a group of Ingush deputies challenged the law. The Chechen-Ingush border dispute has sparked violence in recent years, and been exploited by Islamists who seek to create a "Caucasus Emirate" covering both republics, a resurrection of the insurgent state established by Muslim rebels in the 19th century. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection?)
A massive protest encampment erected in front of Tbilisi's parliament building demanding the resignation of Georgia's government prompted President Georgi Margvelashvili to meet with demonstration leaders and remove his chief prosecutor. The latest round of mass protests began over accusations of a government cover-up in the slaying of two youths. But pressure was building for weeks. The first protests broke out in mid-May to demand drug legalization after a series of police raids on nightclubs. Gay rights advocates took to the streets to mark International Day Against Homophobia—to be confronted by gangs of neo-Nazis, who tried to intimidate them into dispersing, giving Hitler salutes and chanting "death to the enemy!" The protest wave indicates a new generation tired of rule by ex-Soviet elites coming of age—but starkly divided between more liberal and harshly reactionary currents. (Photo: OC Media)
Last year, horrific reports emerged from the southern Russian republic of Chechnya that authorities were rounding up gays in detainment camps and subjecting them to torture —the first time this kind of thing has happened in Europe since Nazi Germany. Now the reign of terror is being extended to drug users and small-time dealers, who are facing torture at the hands of Chechen security forces as part of the same ultra-puritanical campaign. Reports describe electric current being applied to suspects to induce them to "confess." No one has survived without confessing, victims are told. (Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection?)
Alarming reports are emerging that Chechyna has opened "the first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler," following a "gay purge" in the southern Russian republic.
The vote over the name change from South Ossetia to Alania reveals how the autonomist aspirations of the Ossetians (however legitimate) have been exploited in the Great Game.
Armenian security forces stormed a police station that had been seized by opposition militants in the capital Yerevan, amid growing protests over losses in Nagorno-Karabakh.
As the worst fighting since a 1994 truce breaks out in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey's President Erdogan asserts himself as protector of Azerbaijan, pledging to back Baku "to the end."
"Omar the Chechen," a top-ranking ISIS commander apparently killed in a US air-strike in Syria, is said to have been trained by the Pentagon when he fought the Russians in Georgia.
Russia's National Anti-Terrorist Committee announced that security forces killed three militants who had sworn allegiance to ISIS in a shoot-out in Dagestan.
The government of Georgia accuses Russian military forces of encroaching on its territory in the contested South Ossetia enclave, seizing a section of BP's Baku-Supsa pipeline.
The Russian policy establishment is hypothesizing an ISIS hand in the bloody attack by Chechen insurgents in Grozny—and implying that the West is in turn behind ISIS.
With the Winter Olympics underway in Sochi, Russian special forces troops have killed several suspected militants in a series of raids in Dagestan, just across the Caucasus.