. Duma deputy and businessman Sergei Markidonov was shot to death yesterday while campaigning for reelection in the Siberian city of Petrovsk-Zabaikalsky. Police said that the 34-year-old politician may have been killed in a drunken row, or by accident, by his bodyguard, who also died in the incident. This account was challenged by Aleksei Leushkin, a leader of the "Stability" faction to which Markidonov belonged, who said that this was a "purely political murder." Markidonov, who "did not touch liquor," had recently received death threats.
Elected in 1993 on the list of Russia’s Democratic Choice. Markidonov later shifted to the pro-government faction "Stability". Markidonov was the fourth parliamentarian killed during the present Duma’s tenure since December 1993. The previous victims were Zhirinovsky party deputy Sergei Skorochkin, "New regional Policy" faction member Andrei Aizderzis, and Communist Valentin Martemyanov. (5) Russian media commentators and the ordinary public tend to link these assassinations to shadowy business activities, or at best to the fact that the deputies tempted criminals. Three of them (the exception being the communist) were businessmen; and Skorochkin had been suspected of a murder before he himself was killed.
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