Former colonel Yuri Budanov was killed in Moscow on Friday, June 10. His name was connected with one of the most controversial legal proceedings in present-day Russia. His killing is obviously a provocation: Budanov was killed on the threshold of a national public holiday, Russia's Day, which the country is going to celebrate on June 12th.
The former colonel was killed at about 12:10 Moscow time, when he left a notary office on Komsomolsky Avenue. A killer shot at Budanov four times and escaped from the scene with his accomplice. The perpetrators' car has already been found: it has been partially burned out.
Budanov's case became one of the most talked-about legal proceedings in Russia in the beginning of the 2000s. The colonel was charged with kidnapping and murder of Chechen woman Elza Kungayeva. Budanov did not plead guilty during the trial. He claimed that Kungayeva was a sniper of Chechen terrorists.
Also read: Who was tried: Budanov or the Russian Army?
In 2003, the court found Budanov guilty and sentenced him to ten years at maximum security penal colony. He was relieved of his title and decorations. In December 2008, Budanov filed for an early release on parole. He was released in January 2009.
Little has been said about Budanov since then. He has never participated in any political actions. He did not communicate with reporters much, and the press was not interested in his life either.
The reaction to Budanov's killing from Russian radical nationalists was obvious. They posted countless messages on Russian forums and blogs urging everyone to respond and retaliate.
Also read: Putin needs to decide Budanov's pardon
Vladimir Markin, an official spokesman for the Russian Investigation Committee, said that one of the accomplices of Budanov's killing, the driver of Mitsubishi Lancer, was a man of Slavic appearance, RIA Novosti reports.
Maksim Shevchenko, a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, is certain that Yuri Budanov's killing is a provocation.
"This is definitely a provocation. It seems that someone is trying to make people hate and attack each other, someone is trying to incite ethnic strife," Shevchenko told Pravda.Ru.
Akhmar Zavgayev, an official representing the Chechen Republic in the State Duma, a member of United Russia faction, also believes that Budanov's killing was based on the extremists' intention to destabilize the situation in Russia, RIA Novosti said.
"Someone does not like the stability and peaceful life in the country. It's an attempt to cast shadow on law-enforcement bodies and incite international strife," the official said.
"Those who are doing that must realize that the crime will be solved, the killers will be found and punished accordingly," he added.
Read discussion on Pravda.Ru forum: Lawyer at center of Budanov case shot dead on Moscow street