Andrei Brushlinsky, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Psychology, was found murdered at the entrance to his apartment building in southwest Moscow last night. According to news reports, the 69-year-old professor had apparently first been hit in the head by his attackers, who then strangled him. The police reportedly have several theories about why Brushlinsky was attacked, the main one being that he was the victim of muggers who have been increasingly active in Moscow’s South-West district. News reports did not indicate the nature of the other theories (NTV.ru, January 31). Brushlinsky’s murder was another sign that violent crime in Russia remains unchecked. Russia’s Interior Ministry reported last year that serious crimes were on the rise, with the country’s murder rate second only to South Africa’s (see the Monitor, October 3, 2001).
Brushlinsky was not the only member of Russia’s academic and arts communities victimized by crime of late. Earlier this week, for example, Aleksei Khoklov, a Moscow State University (MGU) physicist, was confronted by three knife-wielding youths as he entered his apartment on returning from a three-week business trip to Western Europe. They robbed him of 11,000 euros he had received there as honoraria for lectures. One Russian press report noted that all Khoklov’s colleagues at the university knew of his travel plans and suggested that someone from among them had acted in cahoots with the robbers (GZT.ru, January 28).
On January 11, Igor Glebov, director of St. Petersburg’s Scientific-Research Institute of Electrical Machine Building died as a result of wounds inflicted during a mugging a week earlier. On January 6, the well-known satirist Mikhail Zhvanetsky was attacked and beaten near his dacha outside of Moscow. The three assailants stole his recently purchased Mercedes, US$500 and personal papers and documents. Four members of an organized crime group from Ingushetia were later arrested in connection with the attack and Zhvanetsky’s car was found in that North Caucasian republic (Regions.ru, January 30; NTV.ru, January 6). On New Year’s Eve, Aleksei German, the well-known film director, and his son were severely beaten at St. Petersburg’s House of Cinematographers when they tried to help a waitress who was being attacked by another group of patrons. German said that immediately after the attack, when he regained consciousness, a member of the party that included his attackers offered him US$5,000 in hush money (Izvestia.ru, January 8).
TURKMENISTAN IN A SELF-INFLICTED BIND AS GAS EXPORTER.