Ex-Deputy Grozny Mayor Shot Dead

Itar-TassThe body of former Deputy Grozny Mayor Gelani Shapiyev lying at the entrance to his apartment building Thursday.��
A former deputy mayor of Grozny was gunned down early Thursday morning in western Moscow in what authorities said appeared to be a contract murder.

Gelani Shapiyev was shot three times in the head by an unidentified gunman at about 1 a.m. Thursday, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

Shapiyev's body was discovered near the entrance to his apartment building on Ulitsa Krylatskiye Kholmy in an affluent neighborhood near the Krylatskaya metro station, authorities said.

The murder of Shapiyev, who coordinated security forces as deputy Grozny mayor from 2004 to 2006, is the third slaying of a former senior Chechen official on the streets of Moscow in the last three years.

Investigators, who said the attack bore the hallmarks of a contract murder, recovered a Baikal pistol equipped with a silencer from the crime scene.

The concierge on duty inside the building near the crime scene told police that she did not see anything, RIA-Novosti cited police as saying. Investigators are hoping that surveillance cameras installed near the entrance may have captured footage of the attack, police said.

In June 2006, Shapiyev was wounded in a raid he led in Grozny against two money changers, who were killed in the operation along with one police officer, RIA-Novosti said.

Shapiyev stepped down shortly thereafter and moved to Moscow.

In September, Ruslan Yamadayev, a former lawmaker representing Chechnya in the State Duma, was gunned down in his Mercedes near the White House in central Moscow. Yamadayev led a Chechen clan that had a falling out with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Another high-profile Kadyrov foe, Movladi Baisarov, was shot dead in broad daylight on Leninsky Prospekt in southern Moscow in a November 2006 police raid involving officers from the Chechen Interior Ministry.

Baisarov, the former head of security for Kadyrov's assassinated father -- former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov -- was wanted in Chechnya for alleged involvement in abductions and killings.

Most high-profile Chechens loyal to the Kremlin jump at any opportunity to move to Moscow after leaving posts in Chechnya because the republic is tightly controlled by Kadyrov's men, said Maxim Agarkov, a researcher with the SK-Strategia think tank and a former analyst with the Interior Ministry's anti-terrorism branch.

But even in Moscow they often get caught up in turf wars with rival Chechen clans, Agarkov said.

"Chechen groups with strong roots in Chechnya's current establishment don't bother to negotiate but rather resort to violence," he said.