Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 2 Issue: 20

In Two Weeks’ Time,” a headline in the online daily Gazeta.ru read, “Budanov Will Go Home” (Gazeta.ru, May 17). Colonel Yury Budanov, accused of strangling a young Chechen woman, El’za Kungaeva, will, one of his lawyers, Sergei Dorofeev, confidently predicted, receive a three-year sentence and will then immediately be released under the terms of an amnesty instituted last year for minor crimes by the Russian State Duma. Budanov’s lawyers insist that the colonel committed the murder in an irrational state of mind brought on by the deaths of his men at the hands of a local sniper. Commenting on Budanov’s trial, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov appeared to signal such a decision by the military court when he observed: “In human terms I sympathize with [Budanov]. One may say that Budanov is a victim of both the circumstances and of defects of legislation. Furthermore, shortly before the killing [of Kungaeva], ten servicemen of his regiment were killed by a rebel sharpshooter. As the commanding officer he could not take the deaths of his men calmly” (Russian agencies, May 16).