Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 64

A Russian army officer died yesterday while attempting to defuse a bomb in the center of Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan (see Monitor, April 1). The bomb had been planted on the route that Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov takes to work. (NTV, RTR, ORT, April 1) The director of the Dagestani parliament’s analytical center, Zagid Varisov, told the Monitor that local observers are convinced this was an attempt on Amirov’s life.

Amirov is a legendary figure in Dagestan. Ten attempts have already been made on his life. Throughout the perestroika years, he headed the Dagestani Consumer Cooperative Organization. Under Dagestani conditions, it is impossible to head such an organization without having close ties to the criminal world. Amirov succeeded in the post by effectively subordinating the republic’s criminal organizations to himself.

In 1993, Amirov was appointed deputy premier. Soon afterwards, his spine was injured in a since. A few months ago, Amirov was elected mayor of Makhachkala. On the day before the election, a car bomb was found in the city’s central square. According to one theory that has circulated widely in the republic, this action was intended to intimidate Amirov into pulling out of the elections.

These attacks against Amirov suggest at least one explanation. Since Amirov has been in the post of deputy premier, powerful new criminal groups have appeared in the republic, which Amirov has not been able to control. The criminal world of Makhachkala understands quite well that a politician like Amirov will not share power, and will do everything he can to make himself undisputed master of the city.

Yeltsin Meets with Greek Defense Minister.