Armenian authorities want to pull the plug on Russian television channels. They claim the programming promotes racism against Armenians and religious violence.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan recently hosted Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev. This was Medvedev’s first visit to Armenia since the Velvet Revolution. The two discussed trade and further cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union.
Azerbaijan is experiencing a dangerous string of dog attacks. The Ministry of Health says there were almost five-thousand recorded cases in early 2018. The rabid attacks point to another issue in the country: stray dogs. Locals are calling for euthanization, while animal rights activists want more humane initiatives that support sterilization and shelter options.
Starting next fall, students in Azerbaijan will be learning about religion. The study of Islam and other religions will be part of the curriculum at all universities as well as elementary and middle schools. This initiative is rather unprecedented since Azerbaijan is a secular country.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix Formula One is off to a rough start. Practice laps were cut short after 10 minutes when a British driver’s car hit a loose drain cover. Then, the crane of the tow truck that was towing the damaged vehicle failed to clear a pedestrian overpass, spilling oil. This is the fourth time Baku is hosting the F1 races. While it’s supposed to boost the country’s tourism sector, citizens are complaining about the inconvenience and congestion.
Following up on a story we brought you last week out of Pankisi Gorge, Georgia’s Interior Minister says the construction of a 5.4 megawatt hydroelectric power plant will continue only if it has the support of 90-percent of the population. Opposition to the project led to violent clashes between police and locals last week. About 30 people were injured, and several police cars were burned. Locals claim the power plant will harm the ecosystem.
Georgians have access once again to the sacred site of David Gareji—an ancient cave that consists of almost two dozen monasteries. David Gareji is on the Georgia-Azerbaijan border; Azerbaijani border guards had blocked its entrance for three days for an unknown reason.
Social media users are too quick for Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili, who couldn’t hit the ‘Undo Retweet’ button fast enough this week. Her office says her social media manager for her Twitter account (@Zourabichvili_S) accidentally retweeted a message from US President Donald Trump that called former US Vice President and now Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “sleepy.” Zourabichvili’s spokesperson says they’re also not ruling out a cyberattack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced an upcoming summit with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. The leaders will be meeting in August. Back in November 2017, the trio discussed ways to isolate the US and stabilize the Middle East.
The Region in Brief is a weekly consolidation of news from around the Caucasus region and Russia from a number of local and international outlets.