Investigation of Activist's Killing Called Too Slow

Opposition leaders accused prosecutors Friday of dragging their feet in the investigation into the killing of a National Bolshevik activist found unconscious hours after telephoning friends to say he was being followed by police.

Activists said Yury Chervochkin's death on Dec. 10 was intended as a "warning sign" to Kremlin critics, and they demanded that his killing be investigated in earnest.

The Interior Ministry's anti-organized crime unit "has distinguished itself by its savagery," said Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion who co-heads The Other Russia opposition coalition.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry declined comment on the allegations. Calls to the Prosecutor General's Office went unanswered Friday.

Chervochkin, 22, a member of the banned National Bolshevik Party, telephoned friends on Nov. 22 to tell them that he was being followed by anti-organized crime unit officers. Hours later, he was found beaten and unconscious on the street in his hometown of Serpukhov, just south of Moscow. He died three weeks later in a Moscow hospital.

Eduard Limonov, founder of the National Bolsheviks and another leader of The Other Russia, told reporters that six members have died since 2000 in circumstances "that would lead one to think of political assassinations."

"Chervochkin's killing was quite clearly a warning sign," Limonov said.