Yamadaev Murder Suspects Detained

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 9 Issue: 39

Two suspects in the murder of Ruslan Yamadaev, the former State Duma Deputy representing Chechnya and brother of former Vostok battalion commander Sulim Yamadaev, were detained in Moscow on October 16 (North Caucasus Weekly, September 26). Newsru.com, citing the TV-Tsentr television channel, reported that a black Mercedes with tinted windshields was stopped by traffic police officers in the northwestern part of the capital and found to have fake government license plates. A search of the vehicle and those inside turned up a Makarov pistol with a silencer and two loaded magazines. Investigators said that the car was the one from which Yamadaev was shot on September 24.

According to police, three people were in the car at the time it was stopped—the driver, who is a native of Dagestan and on whose body the pistol was found, and two passengers, one of whom managed to escape. Still, Moscow officials said it was premature to connect those suspects to Yamadaev’s murder. A Moscow police department spokesman, Vladimir Korobkov, told Ekho Moskvy Radio that several people had been detained but that it was “still too early” to talk about their involvement in the Yamadaev killing.

The people detained on October 16 were not the first suspects in Ruslan Yamadaev’s murder. At the beginning of October, the newspaper Tvoi Den reported that a 53-year-old man with a previous criminal record who resembled the police’s composite sketch of Yamadaev’s suspected murderer had been detained in Moscow. That suspect was reportedly found with a Kedr machine-pistol and a silencer that was thought to have been used to kill Yamadaev. Yet the Investigative Committee under the Prosecutor General’s Office subsequently refused to confirm that a suspect in Yamadaev’s murder had been detained. At the same time, an official involved in investigating Yamadaev’s murder told Interfax that a man with a Kedr machine-pistol and a silencer had been arrested but that it was premature to say whether he was involved in the murder.

Meanwhile, Life.ru reported that according to investigators, a 53-year-old native of Moldova identified simply as “Aleksandr Ch.”, who was detained at the beginning of October with a Kedr machine-pistol, may have had a direct role in Yamadaev’s murder and resembled the description of the killer given by eyewitnesses. The website quoted investigators as saying that while the serial number on the pistol’s barrel remained intact, the weapon had not been on any list of lost or stolen weapons. “From this one can conclude that it [the pistol] made its way to the capital from Chechnya or another hot spot,” a source told the website. Life.ru noted that the Kedr machine-pistol is among the weapons used by Russia’s special services. At the same time, the website noted that both Ruslan and Sulim Yamadaev had been involved in fighting Chechnya’s rebels and that investigators were trying to link that fact to Ruslan Yamadaev’s murder. Still, Life.ru reported that the suspect’s apartment and dacha in Russian capital had not yet even been searched.

According to Life.ru, “Aleksandr Ch.” was jailed for rape back in 1973 and is a member of the Solntsevo organized crime group.