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Chechnya’s poet, who was for a democratic secular state in Chechnya, murdered in Moscow

November 17, 2011, 13:09 UTC+3

Investigation, however, does not rule out that persons, who had organised murder of Colonel Yuri Budanov, may be involved in this case

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MOSCOW, November 17 (Itar-Tass) — On the night of November 16, a well-knpown Chechen poet and civil activist Ruslan Akhtakhanov was shot dead near his house in Begovaya Street. Relatives and friends are sure that extremists are responsible for the murder. Investigation, however, does not rule out that persons, who had organised murder of Colonel Yuri Budanov, may be involved in this case. Earlier, Yuri Budanov was convicted of raping and murder of a Chechen young woman. The thing is that the style of the poet’s murder resembles a lot the style of criminals, who had killed Budanov.

Spokesman of the Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin says that the murder was made with exceptional impudence, in a well-lit part of the street, right near Moscow’s Third Circle Road, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. Having committed the crime, a murderer got into a car, where his accessory was waiting for him, and got lost. Later on, there was information that feasibility found five gun wounds on the dead body.

Markin said that the murder must have been a contract one, thus now investigators examine Akhtakhanov’s circle of friends, interests and social and political views, the Kommersant writes. Only an hour before the murder, Akhtakhanov recited his poems about “blood” and “spiritual” brotherhood of Russians and Chechens, thus his friends are sure that only extremists from either side could have dealt shortly with the poet. Witnesses confirm this version indirectly – four suspiciously looking men of the Caucasus origin were waiting for him after the meeting.

Ruslan Akhtakhanov was a rather well-known person in Chechnya and in the North Caucasus, the Kommersant reports. Back in 1994, he supported the regime of Dzhokhar Dudayev, became advisor to the president of independent Ichkeria on the economy. At about that time Akhtakhanov organised a Democratic progressive party, which supported establishment in the republic of an “independent democratic secular state” and active participation of businesses in political life. After Dudayev’s death, Ruslan Akhtakhanov kept the position with his successor Aslan Maskhadov, and later on after the well-known address to militants from the republic’s Head Akhmat Kadyrov, pledged allegiance to Chechnya’s official government.

As a civil activist, Akhtakhanov kept good relations with local and federal authorities to the very death, which is proved by sincere condolences from Chechnya’s Head Ramzan Kadyrov, which he offered immediately after the murder.

Akhtakhanov’s friends say that his position which he had followed throughout all powers could have become a reason of his death. They say that the poet stressed publicly that Chechnya should develop as a democratic secular state, whereas religious extremists took him as almost an apostate and made it clear for him regularly. There may be another version though – Russian nationalists may have murdered him, the newspaper writes.

The Nezavisimaya Gazeta compares the crime with the murder of Yuri Budanov, who was shot dead on June 10 of the current year. The style of the poet’s murder resembles a lot the one, used by killers who shot Colonel Yuri Budanov, the newspaper writes. Because of the similarity, experts say that both crimes may have been organised by the same persons.

Akhtakhanov’s fellow countrymen say that for the diaspora the murder of the poet was a shock, as Akhtakhanov did not have clear enemies, and he himself had not participated in any major conflicts, the newspaper reads. The police say that Akhtakhanov could have been murdered for revenge (thus suspecting the North Caucasus extremists) of for some financial conflict.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets also writes about similarity between murders of Akhtakhanov and Budanov. The weapon, the style of the murder, burning of the escape car – all that resembles a lot Yuri Budanov’s murder, the newspaper writes. This arouses automatically an image of a super professional, or about a real syndicate of killers who take orders... Right from the North Caucasus? It is not a mere coincidence that murders of more or less known Chechens happen in Moscow.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda says that Akhtakhanov used to spend most of his time with the family in Moscow, and visited Chechnya only rarely. However, his surrounding says he did not have any open conflicts in the Caucasus either.

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