Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 141

There has been yet another attempt on the life of Said Amirov, mayor of Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan. Two unknown men fired on the mayor’s office yesterday with grenade launchers. Officials managed to get the mayor, who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a result of an earlier assassination attempt, out of the building and into his car. Two officials were wounded in the attack. Immediately after the explosions, the police, who had cordoned off the area, started firing at the terrorists and, according to some reports, wounded one of them. (NTV, ORT, RTR, July 22)

Amirov had already survived five attempts on his life since taking office on February 15. Before that, when he was Dagestan’s deputy premier, there had been two others. This has not deterred him from waging a determined campaign against local mafia gangs, which control almost all forms of activity in Makhachkala. Local analysts see the seizure of the government headquarters by the Khachilaev brothers at the end of May as the first step in the confrontation between the new mayor and the local mafia. That incident was provoked when local police tried to stop a motorcade carrying Nadyrshakh Khachilaev’s henchmen. The Khachilaevs are among the republic’s richest people and, until Said Amirov took office, the police would never have dared stop their cars. The Khachilaev fighters opened fire and stormed the government headquarters–essentially in order to show who was really boss in Makhachkala. Said Amirov has not, however, abandoned his campaign to turn himself into the real master of the city. As a result, he has continued to arouse fierce resistance on the part of the local mafia.