Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 103

Yakub Usmanov, formerly one of the most active participants in the Chechen resistance movement, was killed on the night of May 23-24. Usmanov, who was running as a candidate from the National Independence Party in the elections for mayor of Djohar-gala, was found burned to death in his car. His aides believe he was murdered for political reasons: in the last few days, Usmanov had begun to pick up points in the polls and his team maintains he was set for victory in the May 31 poll. His closest rivals for the mayor’s seat were Askiriev, a member of the Supreme Presidential Council, and the incumbent mayor, Leche Dudaev, who managed Aslan Maskhadov’s presidential campaign. (RTR, May 24)

Usmanov is the first Chechen politician to fall victim to violence since Russian troops withdrew from the republic. While it may be that the political confrontation between erstwhile comrades-in-arms has begun to be replaced by violence, many Chechens blame the bloodshed on interest groups in Russia, which, they argue, remain keen to provoke a conflict between the leaders of the Chechen resistance. (RTR, May 24)

Maskhadov Hails Treaty with Tatarstan.