Dagestan Yabloko Candidate Dies From Gunshot Wounds

Yabloko.ruFarid Babayev
A candidate on the liberal Yabloko party's State Duma ticket in Dagestan died Saturday of wounds inflicted by unidentified gunmen who shot him in the entryway of his apartment building, the party said.

Farid Babayev, a Yabloko candidate in the Dec. 2 Duma elections, was shot late Wednesday in Makhachkala. Doctors said he had been shot four times, including at least once in the head.

Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky connected Babayev's death to his efforts to hold the authorities accountable for human rights abuses in Dagestan.

But the region is troubled by violence linked to the separatist conflict in neighboring Chechnya, a police crackdown on Islamic militancy and internal power struggles.

Babayev had spoken out about human rights abuses, organized protests and criticized regional authorities, Yavlinsky said in a statement issued Saturday. He had investigated the shooting of a peaceful demonstrator, the abductions of civilians and the use of excessive force in special police operations, the statement said.

"Farid Babayev became one more victim of the authoritarian regime of [President Vladimir] Putin, where the physical destruction of your political opponents has become the norm," Yavlinsky's statement said.

Babayev had headed up Yabloko's ticket in Dagestan for the Duma elections.

In a campaign dominated by the Kremlin-backed United Russia party, opinion polls indicate Yabloko will fall far short of the 7 percent threshold parties must clear to win seats in the Duma.