Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 24

In an article entitled “A Real Rapist,’ which caused something of a political stir in Russia, two journalists, Nastya Lyrchikova and Marat Khairullin, wrote in the July 31 issue of Moskovsky Komsomolets that “the chief witness in the [Colonel Yury] Budanov case has admitted to correspondents of MK that he gave false testimony at the trial.” After meeting at Lake Baikal with the former soldier of the 160th Tank Regiment based in Chechnya, Aleksandr Egorov, and gaining his trust, the journalists were able to tape a statement by the soldier in which he admitted that what he had said at the trial was “all lies.” “The [military] procurator and I,” he recalled, “simply agreed that I would take the guilt on myself.” During the investigation in late 2000, Egorov had “told investigators that he had repeatedly rammed a shovel into the groin area of the dead body of El’za Kungaeva after she had been abducted and strangled by Budanov” (Moscow Times, August 1). Despite this admission, Egorov had been immediately amnestied in connection with the 55th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Now it appears that Egorov’s false statement had been intended to cover up a rape of Kungaeva by Budanov.