Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 16

With fits and starts, the trial of Colonel Yury Budanov, accused of having strangled an 18-year-old Chechen woman, resumed in a military court in Rostov-on-Don. A Russia-wide poll taken by the Public Opinion Foundation recently found that “50 percent of respondents wanted the trial stopped and Budanov released, compared with 19 percent who were opposed” (Electronic Telegraph, April 15). The official Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta cited reports on April 13 that Budanov was intending to run for a seat in the Rostov regional Duma and that he enjoyed major public support. “It is most unlikely,” the newspaper went on, “that the court will declare its verdict on Budanov’s case by May 27, when the parliamentary election in the Rostov region is scheduled. This makes it possible for Colonel Budanov to be elected.” If Budanov is elected a deputy, the paper noted, he would then enjoy immunity from prosecution.