Colonel’s murder is vendetta – Chechen President

Investigators should consider blood revenge as a main version in the case of murder of Colonel Ruslan Yamadaev, who was shot dead on Wednesday in Moscow, believes Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

“I’m sure up to 90 per cent that the murder might have been motivated by blood revenge,” Kadyrov told journalists in the capital Grozny on Thursday.

The Chechen president pointed out that he believes Ruslan’s brother Sulim Yamadaev was involved in kidnapping civilians to ransom. Ramzan Kadyrov said according to his data Sulim had been killing those who were not paid for.

“In Chechnya a murder is never forgiven, even in a hundred years,” Kadyrov said.

But the Chechen president said he regretted the news about Ruslan Yamadaev’s death.

“He was shocked to learn about this. He was really disappointed and was eager to know all available circumstances,” Chechen presidential press secretary Lema Gudayev said on Thursday morning.

Yamadaev was killed in the centre of the Russian capital. He was shot ten times and died immediately at the scene.

Retired Colonel General Sergey Kizyun, who accompanied Yamadaev, was shot seven times and now he is in a hospital in a critical condition.

According to reports, when Yamadaev's car stopped at a red light, it was attacked by a man who came close to it and fired around 20 bullets on it. As Russian newspaper Kommersant reports, the man was wearing a gauze mask.

A criminal case on charges of murder and attempted murder has been opened. Investigators are performing forensic, ballistic and other examinations.

Ruslan Yamadaev was a State Duma deputy from 2003 to 2007 and a member of United Russia Party.

Colonel Yamadaev was a well-known man in the Chechen Republic.

Along with two of his brothers, Yamadaev fought against Russia during the first Chechen conflict. They switched sides and joined the Russian army during the second Chechen campaign.

In 2004 Ruslan Yamadaev was awarded with Russia’s highest state order – The Hero of Russia.

Ruslan was the eldest of Yamadaev brothers. Sulim is a former head of the Vostok battalion which obeys to the Russian Defence Ministry and remains the only one out of immediate control of the Chechen President.

During the recent war in South Ossetia, Sulim was also commanding the Vostok battalion, helping to oust the Georgians after their invasion.

In April, Kadyrov accused the battalion and namely the younger brother Badrudi Yamadaev of committing killings and armed raids in Chechnya between 2005 and 2007. The Chechen President then also claimed Sulim and Badrudi were linked to the disappearance of Abubakar Arsamakov, head of one of Chechen banks.

Ruslan Yamadaev denounced the accusations, saying his brothers had nothing to do with the crimes.

The Chechen President’s press secretary said on Thursday that “it is well known that Kadyrov's principle position was that a court should find out what crimes the brothers Yamadaev have in fact committed and make a decision on their responsibility”.

Investigators now say there could many reasons behind Ruslan’s murder. They vary from his business affairs to his family's involvement in the recent events in South Ossetia.

Experts say both brothers had a lot of enemies both in Chechnya and in neighbouring Georgia.

“Yamadaev's death can really destabilise the situation in the Caucasus. Anybody who is interested in that can be behind this murder,” says political analyst Kirill Koktysh.