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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gunmen Fire on Luzhkov's Deputy

APInvestigators examining the bullet-riddled car of Iosif Ordzhonikidze, a deputy to Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, on Rublyovskoye Shosse in western Moscow on Thursday.
Two masked gunmen opened fire on a car carrying top city official Iosif Ordzhonikidze to work Thursday, seriously wounding his bodyguard and a passenger in a passing vehicle.

One of the attackers was killed in a resulting firefight, while Ordzhonikidze, 52, escaped uninjured.

The attack is the second in 18 months on Ordzhonikidze, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's deputy in charge of the city's lucrative gambling business, foreign relations, hotels and construction.

"We see this attack as a continuation of the previous one," Luzhkov's spokesman Sergei Tsoi said, Interfax reported.

"We assume that now the investigators have the information that should them allow to catch not only the executors of the attack but also those who ordered it," he said.

The previous attack on Dec. 19, 2000, left Ordzhonikidze seriously injured and his driver dead. The case has never been solved.

Police said Thursday that the motive for the attack was unclear and opened an investigation.

Ordzhonikidze was speeding down Rublyovskoye Shosse in an bullet-proof car when a BMW 525 with blue police license plates forced it to the side of the road at about 8:50 a.m. Rublyovskoye Shosse is a high-security route in western Moscow frequented by President Vladimir Putin and other top government officials.

As Ordzhonikidze's bodyguard Alexander Golikov stepped out of the vehicle, two masked gunmen jumped out of the BMW and opened fire with assault rifles. Golikov was wounded in the chest, but returned fire, killing one gunman, the police said.

Ordzhonikidze's driver was unhurt.

Itar-Tass

Ordzhonikidze
With the help of the driver of the BMW, the second masked man pulled the body of the slain gunman into the car and they sped away.

A student in a passing minibus was wounded in the shootout by a stray bullet. RTR identified the student as Ilya Surzhin.

Golikov and Surzhin were taken to the Sklifosovsky Hospital in serious condition. The injures were not life-threatening, according to media reports.

The burned-out shell of the BMW was found shortly after the attack on an empty nearby lot. The body of the dead gunman was lying next to it. Police later identified the man by his surname, Dzhabrailov, and suggested he was of Chechen origin.

Police spokesman Kirill Mazurin said the attack appeared to be more of a warning than an assassination attempt.

"[The attackers] had to have known that officials of such a high rank have guards and that they usually travel in armored cars," Mazurin said.

He did not say who may have wanted to warn Ordzhonikidze, who has worked in City Hall since 1990.

Yury Lekanov, head of the forensics department at the Prosecutor General's Office, complained that officials in City Hall tend to be less than forthcoming in investigations of attacks, hinting that Ordzhonikidze himself had not wanted to assist in the probe of his 2000 attack.

"The investigation could have been helped along greatly if all those involved in the tragedy had actively cooperated," he said in televised remarks. "But in reality, it is often hard to do anything at all."

Ordzhonikidze's car was fired at just meters from the Mayor's Office on Leontyevsky Pereulok in 2000. After the incident, City Hall provided him with personal bodyguards and an armored vehicle.

In the spring of that year, Ordzhonikidze's deputy Vyacheslav Borulnik was also shot at while travelling in an office car. He escaped unhurt, but his driver was wounded in the arm.

Despite Thursday's attack, Ordzhonikidze went about his work as usual, Interfax reported.

He did not make any statements to the media.

Police said they discovered the police license plates on the attackers' vehicle were fake.

"The same numbers do indeed belong to a police car," Mazurin said. "It looks like they were spotted on the street and copied."

Alexander Merkushev / AP

Investigators inspecting the burned-out BMW that the attackers abandoned in an empty field after their getaway Thursday.
The car's real plates were found inside the burned-out vehicle.

City officials have been the frequent targets of attacks over the past few years. Moscow Deputy Mayor Valery Shantsev was seriously wounded after a bomb went off near his house during presidential and mayoral election campaigns in June 1996.

In 1997, the head of the city government's education committee was shot and wounded. In 1998, a hand grenade exploded by the car of Pyotr Biryukov, then first deputy head of Moscow's central district. He escaped unhurt.

In June 2000, an attacker splashed acid into the face of the deputy head of the eastern district, Viktor Zinovyev. Last summer, the first deputy head of the Zelenograd district, Leonid Obolonsky, was killed.

A number of attacks have also been carried out in the Moscow region in recent months.

Pyotr Zabrodin, the acting administration head of the Moscow region's Podolsk district, was shot dead last Friday in an attack on his car near the village of Salkovo. Three months before, the head of the Ozyorny district was killed.

And police on Monday prevented an attempt on the life of the head of the town of Reutov, just outside Moscow.