Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dagestani Blames Foul Play for Election Loss

A Dagestani politician is appealing to have the republic's presidential elections annulled because, he claims, he was prevented from running by rivals who had him drugged and manacled to a radiator on the eve of the vote.

Ali Aliyev claims he managed to get free, but was too late to take part in the vote in Dagestan's Constitutional Assembly to choose a new chairman of the State Council, the highest executive post in the North Caucasus republic. In Aliyev's absence, the 68-year-old incumbent, Magomedali Magomedov, was re-elected.

President Boris Yeltsin endorsed Magomedov's June 25 election, and Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko visited Dagestan this month to congratulate the veteran politician on his win.

Aliyev, head of an organization representing ethnic groups in the Caucasus, said at a news conference Friday that he was registered as one of the three candidates in the vote.

He alleged that opponents, who included Yeltsin's envoys in the region, had him eliminated because he threatened to blow the whistle on corruption in Dagestan, which is widely believed to be the center of Russia's illegal trade in vodka and caviar and which swallows massive federal subsidies.

Aliyev, 60, claimed that Magomed Khachilayev, a minister in the Dagestani government, and his brother Nadir Khachilayev, a State Duma deputy, teamed up with representatives of the Russian president in the North Caucasus to talk him out of running in the elections.

When persuasion didn't work, they gave him poison in a shot of vodka on the eve of elections and drove him to a half-built house on the outskirts of the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala. The next morning, Aliyev said, he woke up with his wrists tied to a radiator and his head covered in blood.

Still feeling dazed, Aliyev tried to get into the Constitutional Assembly building to take part in the vote, but he was not allowed in.

He said that had his brother, Izet, not seen him being carried unconscious out of his house the previous night, he would have faced a worse fate. "I could have been killed if my brother hadn't seen me," he said.

The Dagestani Supreme Court ruled that Aliyev's case was groundless and threw it out.

Eduard Urazayev, spokesman for the State Council, denied that any members of the Dagestani government were involved in Aliyev's abduction.

He said Aliyev was not a legitimate candidate because he was not nominated by at least one member of the State Council, as required by law. "I don't see a connection between [the Khachilayev brothers and presidential representatives] and what happened to Aliyev," Urazayev said. "I believe the speculation is based on the fact that Yeltsin has publicly expressed his support to Magomedov."

Aliyev said if his appeal to the Supreme Court failed, he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights.