Top Investigator Murdered in Dagestan

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 20

Dagestani prosecutor's office

The deputy head of the investigative committee of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office in Dagestan, Seifudin Kaziakhmedov, was shot dead in Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala on May 21. Agence France-Presse reported that he was shot six times by an unknown assailant in broad daylight. The Moscow Times on May 22 quoted the investigative committee as saying in a statement that Kaziakhmedov was shot after leaving his home with his wife at about 7 a.m. and died of his wounds at the scene, while his wife was unharmed. Citing, the English-language newspaper reported that Kaziakhmedov had left his home for a morning jog when he was shot and the assailant fled the scene in a getaway car and was being sought by authorities.

The investigative committee said Kaziakhmedov was likely murdered in connection with criminal cases he was leading involving violent crimes, while reported that he had received death threats in connection with investigations of local militants. Kavkazky Uzel reported on May 21 that Kaziakhmedov was the head of the investigative group in charge of the criminal case involving the Victory Day parade bombing attack in the Dagestani city of Kaspiisk on May 9, 2002, which killed 45 people and was blamed on Islamic militants. RIA Novosti reported on May 21 that he was repeatedly quoted by local media as saying he had faced threats from militants.

Unidentified attackers killed a police lieutenant and a local resident in the city of Khasavyurt on May 16. According to Russian news agencies, the attackers gunned down the police officer with automatic weapons as he was getting out of his car. Both the policeman and a passer-by were fatally wounded and died on the spot. The attackers managed to flee the scene of the crime in a car.  Also on May 16, an explosive device detonated on the outskirts of Khasavyurt, wounding two people.

Meanwhile, former Dagestani Vice-President Nikolai Chichvarin, appointed by federal authorities to head the Federal Tax Service’s branch in Dagestan, officially took up his new post on May 18. As the Moscow Times noted on May 19, Chichvarin’s appointment by federal tax chief Mikhail Mokretsov was an “unprecedented concession to regional authorities,” having followed a promise by Dagestani President Mukhu Aliev to oppose any official tapped by Mokretsov without Aliev’s approval.

Dagestan’s previous tax chief was an ethnic Lezgin, and local residents and officials openly resisted Mokretsov’s appointment of Vladimir Radchenko as the republic’s top tax official in February, demanding that the position be handed to an ethnic Lezgin. As the Moscow Times noted, Radchenko, who had previously headed the tax service in the nearby republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, was even briefly abducted at gunpoint by unidentified men who demanded that he leave Dagestan. While Chichvarin is an ethnic Russian, he has already served in several senior government posts in Dagestan (North Caucasus Weekly, February 6, 12 and 20).