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Prosecutors examining several versions of Russian diplomat’s murder in Abkhazia

September 09, 2013, 21:51 UTC+3
Abkhazian parliament condemns attack, expresses condolences
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Rossiya-24 freeze frame

Rossiya-24 freeze frame

SUKHUMI, September 9 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Ambassador to Abkhazia, Semyon Grigoryev, has described the death of the Embassy’s Deputy Consul Dmitry Vishernev as “a big loss for the embassy and for the entire /Russian/ foreign service.”

Dmitry Vishernev was “an experienced diplomat and a highly expert lawyer,” the ambassador said.

“He performed a broad scope of functions embracing the issuance of Russian passports to the population, the granting of Russian citizenship, and legalization of documents,” Grigoryev said in an interview with Abkhazian television.

He said the top officials of Abkhazian law enforcement and prosecution agencies had arrived at the spot of the incident immediately and had launched investigative actions. The Prosecutor’s Office of the Abkhazian capital Sukhumi instituted a criminal case.

“From the very start, the Prosecutor’s Office put forward several versions of the criminals’ motives, including Dmitry Vishernev’s activities related and/or unrelated to the professional duties and a terrorist act,” Grigoryev said. “Since an improvised explosive device has been found, the Interior Ministry is inclined to interpret the assassination as a terrorist act.“

“There are too many forces that are displeased with the strengthening of Russian-Abkhazian relations and that can’t accept the fact Abkhazia has turned into a self-styled security shield for Russia in the light of the forthcoming Winter OIympic Games in Sochi,” he said.

“There’s scarcely any doubt that Russia is Abkhazia’s only natural strategic ally,” Grigoryev said.

He said Vishernev joined the embassy staff in the fall of 2009 and had no plans to end his term of duty in Abkhazia. This was his second long-term mission outside of Russia after a mission to Belarus.

“His education enabled him to supervise the issues concerning citizens’ property rights,” Grigoryev said. “He was a member of the Russian-Abkhazian commission for ensuring legitimacy of decisions in the process of solution or the Russian citizens’ ownership rights in Abkhazia.”

Abkhazian reaction

The Abkhazian parliament condemned this brazen attack. “This is a new misfortune for citizens of the Republic of Abkhazia. Every one of us treasures special close relations with Russia, with its fraternal people; therefore members of parliament of the Republic of Abkhazia regard what has happened not only as a crime but also as a blow at friendship with Russia,” says the statement circulated on Monday.

The People’s Assembly - Parliament of Abkhazia “has no doubt that in this situation the country’s law enforcement bodies will act most promptly and professionally to investigate this brutal murder,” the statement says.

The Abkhazian parliament expresses sincere condolences to the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, to Russian ambassador Semyon Grigoryev and his colleagues and also expresses compassion and support to the relatives of the deceased and the wish that his spouse should recover soon.

First Secretary of the Russian embassy in Abkhazia, Vice-Consul Dmitry Vishernev was shot dead in Sukhum on Monday at about 8:30 Moscow time. His wife, Olga Visherneva, was gravely wounded.

The prosecutor’s office instituted criminal proceedings under three articles of the Criminal Code of Abkhazia: “premeditated murder”, “attempt at premeditated murder of two persons”, “illegal acquisition and possession of fire arms and of an explosive device”.

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