Yuri Budanov. Photo from Anna Politkovskaya's article "Budanov's Case No. 14-0012-OOD", published on the website of the "Novaya Gazeta" on May 23, 2002 (NovayaGazeta.Ru)

10 June 2011, 23:40

Moscow policemen do not rule out provocations in context of Budanov's murder


Vengeance and provocation are named among the versions of the murder of former Colonel Yuri Budanov, who was convicted back in 2003 for murdering a Chechen girl. Meanwhile, the Moscow police is taking steps to curb possible attempts of nationalist-minded groups to use the murder for their own benefits, said a source from local law enforcement bodies.

Let us remind you that Budanov, who in 2009 was released from colony, where he was serving his sentence for murdering Elza Kungaeva, 18, a resident of Chechnya, was shot dead this afternoon by four shots in his head in Komsomol Avenue in Moscow.

The attackers - there were two of them according to preliminary information - managed to escape in a white Mitsubishi Lancer. The car was soon found; also, investigators found a pistol with a silencer, from which the former colonel was shot dead. In total, there were four shots at Budanov, says the statement posted on the website of the Investigatory Committee of the Russian Federation (ICRF).

According to a source, the gunman was dressed in military uniform, the ITAR-TASS reports.

According to his story, the investigation does not rule out that the murder was committed for provocative aims; however, it is too early to state that some ethnic groupings could be behind the killing. "There is no information to confirm such a version at the disposal of investigators," said Vladimir Markin, spokesman of the ICRF, as quoted by the RIA "Novosti".

As reported by a source from law enforcement bodies, the version of Budanov's murder as a revenge for the murder of the Chechen girl will be considered among the first ones. The source has reminded that the murder of Elsa Kungaeva "had aroused broad public attention, particularly in Chechnya and Northern Caucasus as a whole."

"Many people there believed and believe that the cruel abuse of the girl was a sort of their personal insult; they were ready to commit this step of revenge," said the source as quoted by the "Interfax".

"This murder will surely spur up the nationalistic sentiments in Russia," said Dmitry Dyomushkin, one of the leaders of the all-Russian nationalist movement "Russians", making his comments on Budanov's murder. According to his version, nationalists "have no doubt that the traces of this killing lead to the Chechen Republic."

Adam Delimkhanov, the closest ally of the head of Chechnya and a State Duma Deputy, called the murder of Yuri Budanov "an act of revenge," the "Gazeta.Ru" writes.

Liudmila Tikhomirova, who was defender of the Kungaev family in the case of Colonel Yuri Budanov, does not associate the murder of the ex-Colonel in Moscow with the criminal case on the murder of the Chechen girl Elza Kungaeva. "So many years have passed; and I'm not sure that Budanov's murder has anything to do with that criminal case. Moreover, he was convicted for that crime," said Tikhomirova.

She has rejected the suggestion that Elza's family could organize Budanov's murder. "As far as I know, the Kungaevs live in Norway; and ordering a murder is beyond the nature of the head of the family," she added.

"Nobody knows for sure what Budanov was doing after leaving prison. It is quite likely that the roots of the murder can be found in his activities," suggested the lawyer.


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