The Caucasus Times reported on May 16 that residents of the village of Khasanya in Kabardino-Balkaria were prevented from holding a protest in the republic’s capital, Nalchik, to protest the killing of the head of their village’s administration, Artur Zokaev.
According to the publication’s website, republican law-enforcement units “blocked all main roads of the town of Nalchik and cordoned off the square outside the house of government” in order to prevent the demonstration. Zokaev, who was killed on May 15 by gunfire in the yard of his house in Khasanya, was an opponent of the administrative-territorial policy of the republican leadership – specifically, its plans to merge a number of Balkar settlements, including Khasanya and the village of Belaya Rechka, with Nalchik. He also backed restoring the Khulamo-Bezengisky district that existed before the Balkar people were sent into an exile in Central Asia in 1944. The new district was to include four settlements – Khasanya, Belaya Rechka, Karasu and Bezengi – as well as the village of Khulam, which is now abandoned.