Further indications of the criminalization of local authority in Russia came with the arrests of a third suspect, identified only as Shanukov, in connection with the murder of Larisa Yudina, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Sovetskaya Kalmykia Segodnya (Soviet Kalmykia Today.)

Two other suspects are already in detention. One is Sergei Vaskin, a former aide to the president of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. The other is the presidential envoy to the Volgograd oblast, Tyurba Boskhomdzhiev. Yudina’s body was found on the outskirts of Elista, the capital of Kalmykia, on June 8. She had been stabbed to death.

Yudina had been under intense pressure from the local authorities, who offered bribes and threatened reprisals in an attempt to stop production of her newspaper. Undaunted, Yudina had collected material on corruption in Ilyumzhinov’s government.

For his part, Ilyumzhinov appears unfazed by the murder. He has announced his intention to run for president of Russia in 2000.