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Disgraced Daghestani Official Denies Reported Suicide Attempt


The jailed mayor of Makhachkala, Said Amirov (in wheelchair), in a Moscow court on June 14.

The jailed mayor of Makhachkala, Said Amirov (in wheelchair), in a Moscow court on June 14.

Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov, who was apprehended at his home on June 1 and charged three days later with having commissioned a contract killing, denied on June 14 media reports that he was hospitalized late on June 11 after slashing his veins in an apparent suicide attempt. Amirov has nonetheless reportedly been transferred from the detention center where he was being held in solitary confinement to the psychiatric hospital at the Butyrka prison.

The purported suicide attempt was reported early on June 14, first by the Russian daily "Izvestia" and then by other media outlets, including "Kommersant," and, more briefly, RIA Dagestan. The two Moscow dailies quoted federal penitentiary service officials as confirming that Amirov had slashed his veins. And when Amirov appeared in court later that day, wearing tracksuit trousers and a short-sleeved white T-shirt, his right arm was visibly bandaged just below the elbow. One of his lawyers claimed the bandage was to protect the wound caused by a botched intravenous injection.

The Moscow court session on June 14 also temporarily suspended Amirov as Makhachkala mayor. He did not voice any objection to that decision. On June 13, acting Republic of Daghestan President Ramazan Abdulatipov had named as acting city mayor Murtazali Rabadanov, 51, a physicist and career academic who had been appointed rector of Daghestan State University in 2007.

Rabadanov, like Amirov, is a Dargin. He is also a cousin of one of Amirov's closest associates, Rabadan Rabadanov, who owns the Adam International Bank plus a string of companies formed in 2008-12 to administer the privatized Makhachkala water, electricity, and heating suppliers.

Murtazali Rabadanov claimed his nomination as acting mayor was unexpected. He said he has no political ambitions, and does not anticipate the appointment will be for a long period.

Media speculation in the aftermath of Amirov's arrest identified nine possible successors as mayor. They are Abdulatipov's predecessor as Republic of Daghestan's president, Magomedsalam Magomedov (Dargin), currently a deputy head of the Russian presidential administration; Deputy Federation Council Chairman Ilyas Umakhanov (Dargin); State Duma deputy and former Daghestan First Deputy Prime Minister Rizvan Kurbanov (Lak); State Duma deputy Magomed Gadjiyev (Avar); Republic of Daghestan Pension Fund head Sagid Murtazaliyev (Avar); Deputy Prime Minister Abu-Supyan Kharkharov (Avar); Industry Minister and former Deputy Prime Minister Rizvan Gazimagomedov (Avar); acting Daghestan Minister of Transport Shirukhan Gadzhimuradov, who was Amirov's closest challenger in the 1998 mayoral election; and Abdulatipov's son-in-law, Strategic Council chairman Magomed Musayev.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.

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