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One of most influential politicians in the North Caucasus is arrested

June 03, 2013, 11:44 UTC+3
Amirov was immediately brought to Moscow, where he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a high-profile murder of detective Arsen Gadzhibekov
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Last Saturday, Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov was detained in an operation, in which armoured vehicles and a helicopter were used in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala. Amirov was immediately brought to Moscow, where he was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a high-profile murder of detective Arsen Gadzhibekov. One of most influential politicians in the North Caucasus, head of the local branch of the United Russia Party, Amirov worked as the mayor of the Dagestani capital for 15 years and was found as the best mayor of Russia this year.

Along with him, ten more officials were put in custody, including Amirov’s nephew Yusup Dzhaparov, who is the vice-mayor of Kaspiisk, which is a Makhachkala satellite city, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported. Dagestan is waiting impatiently for what will happen next. As Said Amirov is not just the mayor of the regional centre already for the fourth term, but a politician, which already went down in the history of the republic definitely, and though he was staying in the wheelchair, he was keeping many positions in the republic by the iron rule.

Amirov is suspected right of several crimes, the heaviest one is the masterminding of the murder of acting head of the investigation department in the Sovetsky district of Makhachkala Arsen Gadzhibekov in December 2011, the Novye Izvestia daily reported. His car was gunned down by unidentified criminals not far from the entrance of the house, where the killed official lived. Gadzhibekov was involved in the exposure of several grave crimes, including a terrorist act in Kizlyar in 2010, when ten people were killed and 270 people were injured. Meanwhile, the law enforcers found that Said Amirov was involved in the so-called ‘gang of Kolkhoznik’, which was masterminded by a prosecutor from the city Kaspiisk.

Said Amirov headed the Dagestani capital for the last 15 years and was found with proper grounds as one of the most powerful politicians in the republic, the Kommersant daily reported. Amirov’s detention was preceded by several operations and arrests, which were targeted against the sabotage groups and their accomplices rampaging in the republic. The sources of the newspaper link the actions of the law enforcers not in the least with upcoming Sochi Olympics: terrorist acts follow one after another in Dagestan now, suicide bombers are still being trained in the republic that cannot but affect the security at the Olympics.

Shortly before this in Baku at the request of the Russian law enforcers detective from the police station in the Kirovsky district of Makhachkala Captain of Police Magomed Akhmedov, 25, was detained and convoyed in Dagestan then. The detectives found that the police detective could have been a perpetrator of the whole scope of contract murders. According to sources of the newspaper, at the interrogations Magomed Akhmedov told the detectives that the law enforcers, but not the gunmen, are involved in the murder of Gadzhibekov.

The arrest of Said Amirov, who was considered as an insubmersible political heavyweight in Dagestan, will lead not only to the re-division of the spheres of influence in the republican authorities. According to Kommersant sources, the next stage of decriminalization of the region will be ‘economic’, high-profile investigations in this sphere are expected soon.

The newspaper has made public the personal case of Said Amirov. In particular, his case files hold that Amirov survived an attempt on his life in 1993 that resulted in leaving him disabled. Shortly from the early nineties he survived about 15 attempts on his life. Since December 2001 he is a member of the United Russia Party. He participated in the creation of a regional party office in Dagestan and worked as the secretary of the political council of the Makhachkala office of United Russia. In 2006 he was a candidate for Dagestan president, but Mukhu Aliyev was elected republican president.

Amirov is the doctor of economic sciences, professor of the Dagestani State University. A member of the Academy of Social Sciences and Humanities, the Russian Municipal Academy. The author of the books “For the sake of the lawfulness of the order,” “We protected peace” and etc. He has many awards.

The Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported that Said Amirov was re-elected thrice as the Makhachkala mayor. He has won in the annual contest of the Russian Ministry of Regional Development in the nomination of the best head of the Russian municipal entity quite recently in late April 2013. Both sons of the Makhachkala mayor hold influential posts in the republic. Magomed Amirov is the chairman of the committee for legislation, lawfulness and state construction of the Dagestani People’s Assembly. His brother Dalgat Amirov is the head of the Dagestani branch of the Federal Bailiff Service.

Said Amirov is known in the republic as a die-hard fighter against terrorism and religious extremism, his several books on these issues were published, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily noted. He is the holder of high state medals - the Order of Friendship and the Fourth Degree Order of Merit to the Fatherland, and is awarded with the medal of the Federal Security Service for Cooperation with the Federal Security Service.

The accusations against Amirov in corruption, ties with gunmen and the masterminding of the crimes were made public in the press many times, but no one was concerned about it in Moscow, the Vedomosti daily reported. What has changed? - the newspaper contemplates. The most simply version is related with the fact that a new president will be elected in the republic in the autumn of this year. Incumbent Dagestani President Ramazan Abdulatipov, who came from Moscow, pledged to fight with the clans, and quite probably the security services are preparing the political field for his coming to power.

It is a little bit harder to imagine that the federal authorities decided to deal with Dagestan seriously at last, as the quality of the state has been almost brought to nought recently. But it is quite unclear why now in particular ahead of the Sochi Olympics. In both cases it is very important to understand whether Abdulatipov and the federal authorities behind him have a clear-cut plan of further actions.

Amirov’s arrest is in line with the tendency for weaker positions of the regional elites, the Vedomosti daily believes. Amirov’s demonstrative arrest may signal the launch of a new stage in the strengthening of the security services. Amirov could have kept at the post for the last 15 years, because the system of checks and counterbalances, which took into account the interests of the elites of different levels and state structures of different levels, functioned. The system was inefficient in terms of the quality of management, but even Russian President Vladimir Putin could hardly avoid it. Now this system is found useless and the federal law enforcement agencies can act beyond the system of checks and counterbalances.

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