The head of a major oil trading company in Karelia was shot dead near his Petrozavodsk home yesterday, the latest of a string of businessmen to be killed. Albert Appolonov, 64, was general director of Rosika, the region’s largest oil trading company, and also had been the city’s deputy mayor. Police said the shooting was a contract murder. In an unrelated killing the same day 600 miles away in Moscow, the body of Aleksei Baryshnikov, 49, the head of the Moscow government’s transport and communications department, was found stabbed to death before the door of his home. Police were investigating whether the killing was a contract hit or the result of a robbery. Last Saturday, police and mobsters fired at each other during an overnight police raid at a fancy German-owned hotel in the center of Moscow, a suspected meeting place for underworld leaders. (9)
Businessmen (and, increasingly, politicians) are gunned down nearly everyday in Russia, where economic reforms have created often violent and underworld-dominated competition for the country’s lucrative resources. The number of contract killings in Russia soared from 102 in 1992 to 562 in 1994, according to the Interior Ministry, and may well exceed that in 1995. Most of the assassinations remain unsolved.
Moscow Frowns on Baltic Security Initiatives.