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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Russian deputy shot dead
Police in Moscow
Murders of politicians are common in post-Soviet Russia
A Russian member of parliament, Vladimir Golovlev, has been shot dead in a Moscow street.

He was killed near his home in the north-west of the city.

His attackers are said to have escaped.


The murder of Vladimir Golovlev... is doubtlessly politically motivated

MP Sergei Yushenkov
Although the motive for the killing is unclear, murders of politicians are common in post-Soviet Russia and are often carried out by contract killers, the BBC correspondent in Moscow says.

The murders are not usually claimed or explained, he says.

But Sergei Yushenkov, one of the co-founders of Mr Golovlev's political party, Liberal Russia, said the murder was politically motivated.

He said Mr Golovlev had been the target of an assassination attempt some months earlier, but had escaped thanks to his dog.

A few months ago, Mr Golovlev left the Union of Right-Wing Forces, and became one of the founder members of Liberal Russia.

This new party has the political and financial backing of Boris Berezovsky, the controversial businessman who is currently living in exile in Britain.

Business scandal

But Irina Khakamada, a leader of the liberal Union of Right-Wing Forces faction in parliament, denied that the attack had political connections.

She told Interfax news agency that it was likely to be connected to the criminal allegations against Mr Golovlev.

Last year, Mr Golovlev was involved in a property scandal in his home region of Chelyabinsk.

He was charged with pocketing a fortune in a privatisation fraud and was banned from leaving the country.

The State Prosecutor ordered that the immunity from prosecution which he enjoyed as a parliamentary deputy be removed, and his case was under investigation.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Boris Berezovsky, party founder
"He was killed because he was involved in politics"
See also:

21 Aug 02 | Europe
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