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Russian Regional Leader Blames Insurgency For Scholar's Killing

NALCHIK, Russia -- The president of the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria has blamed the local wing of the North Caucasus insurgency for the killing of a Circassian scholar, RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service reports.

Aslan Tsipinov, a respected ethnographer and folklorist, was shot dead on December 29 by two unidentified assailants outside his home in a Nalchik suburb.

Kabardino-Balkaria President Arsen Kanokov, who is also Circassian, said the killers' "cynicism and cruelty" was boundless.

He called on the republic's Interior Ministry, the head of which was recently replaced, to find those responsible for Tsipinov's death.

The slaying of Tsipinov was not on the December list of attacks and killings posted on the insurgent website on January 1.

But in a separate video posted on the same website on January 2, Islamic insurgent leader Abdullakh confirmed that it was his fighters who shot dead republican Mufti Anas Pshikhachev in Nalchik on December 15.

Kabardino-Balkaria is located near the volatile Russian regions of Chechnya, Daghestan, and Ingushetia, where the authorities are battling an Islamic insurgency and attacks on security officers and government officials are a near-daily occurrence.