Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ruslan Yamadayev assassinated

Russian Jotman reader Sanjuro informs us of yet another assassination of a political figure within the Russian Federation:

Ruslan Yamadayev, a former Chechen warlord, an ex-member of the Russian parliament and long-standing foe of Ramzan Kadyrov, incumbent President of Chechnya, and a brother of Sulim Yamadayev, another former warlord and recently discharged commander of the Russian Special Forces battalion "Vostok" was professionally assassinated yesterday in Moscow, allegedly immediately before or after a meeting with President Medvedev.

Yamadayev brothers are one of the most prominent (and armed) centers of opposition to Mr. Kadyrov in Chechnya. His brother Sulim Yamadayev's battalion "Vostok" had a prominent role in assisting fast advance of the Russian forces during the recent conflict with Georgia. Shortly after the Georgia affair, Mr. Sulim Yamadayev was relieved from the commander's position.

Russian sources (Kommersant, Gazeta) report that Ruslan Yamadayev feared assassination and as usually very careful, only driving armoured cars and taking all other precautions. The killer was following his armoured Mercedes-Benz on an Audi and fired a series of shots from a submachine gun when Mr. Yamadayev opened his window. The Kommersant commented that the likely target was his brother Sulim (brothers often used the same vehicles). The assassination happened in a tightly patrolled and CCTVed area near the Russian parliament, foreign embassies and other high-profile locations.

According to the Kommersant, assassinations on Kadyrov's foes began earlier, on Sept 17, when there was an attempted murder of Bislan Elimkhanov, another Chechen commander, who was wounded and is now recovering in hospital.

Sources: Kommersant (Russian); Gazenta (Russian); Sulim Yamadayev; Ruslan Yamadayev

You can read more of Sanjuro's recent letters concerning recent events in Russia here.

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