Tskhinvali Leader Refuses to Quit, Slams Opposition

In the press conference on September 16, aired by “Ir” TV channel, Kremlin-backed Tskhinvali leader Anatoly Bibilov commented on key concerns raised in the wake of the alleged torture-death of inmate Inal Jabiev on August 28.

The press conference comes shortly after Bibilov has proposed to the “parliament” the candidacy of Gennadiy Bekoyev as a new “head of government” of the occupied region. The “MPs” are set to discuss the appointment of Bekoyev in a session on  September 18. According to the Tskhinvali “legislation”, the “president” appoints a “prime minister” following the “parliamentary” approval.

The leader of the occupied region reiterated that he refuses to step down, claiming that only some 500 protesters had been asking for his resignation. “It is not 500 people that have elected me. The president will be here until the next polls, scheduled for 2022,” Bibilov stated.

Bibilov also rejected opposition’s calls to fire Uruzmag Jagaev, the “prosecutor-general” of the occupied region. Slamming opposition politicians for bringing “political dimension” into the criminal case, Kremlin-backed leader said the dismissal of Jagaev would only be possible if a criminal case were opened against him.

Tskhinvali leader assured that he had taken all the investigative actions in relation to Jabiev’s death and the beatings of two other persons – also detained on the attempted murder of Naniev – under his control. However, he denied allegations as if he had been also aware of the abuses back when the violent interrogations of the three detainees were still underway.

He then slammed 17 boycotting “lawmakers,” half of Tskhinvali’s 34-member ‘parliament’, who had suspended their mandates earlier in September demanding Jagaev’s resignation, noting that they will need to give up their salaries and stop using service transport, “so that the boycott of the MPs is apparent to people”.

Death of Inal Jabiev, detained for the attempted murder of the then occupied region’s interior minister Igor Naniev, sparked protests in Tskhinvali, leading to the dismissal of the entire “government” on the same day. Despite Bibilov’s pledges to hold perpetrators accountable, the public, joined by the opposition, have been pressing on with their demands for the resignation of Bibilov himself, as well as Jagaev.

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