Thousands of people gathered in the Chechen village of Geldagen for the burial of Yusup Temerkhanov, a native of the village who died on August 3 in a Russian prison while serving a 15-year sentence for the 2011 murder of notorious Russian Colonel Yury Budanov.
Budanov was shot dead in Moscow two years after his early release from prison, where he served eight years of a 10-year sentence for the March 2000 kidnapping and brutal killing of an 18-year-old Chechen woman, Elza Kugayeva.
Budanov admitted to killing Kugayeva, saying he believed she was a sniper and that he killed her in a fit of rage while interrogating her.
A Russian military commission determined that Kugayeva had also been sexually assaulted, but no one was ever charged with that.
In his own trial, Temerkhanov pleaded not guilty and denied any involvement in Budanov's killing.
Despite his conviction, Budanov enjoyed broad support in Russia. But he was hated by many in Chechnya, including pro-Russian Chechens.
Moscow-installed Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov attended the burial ceremony, writing on social media that Temerkhanov was "a hero who avenged the despoiled honor…of a Chechen girl."
Kugayeva's entire extended family appeared in Geldagen to pay homage to Temerkhanov, who was being treated like a martyr.
"The mourning for us is even greater than for you," Kugayeva's father, Visa Kugayev, said in a video that was widely shared on social media. "We are grateful to [Yusup]. He is a genuine hero. You and your entire village have the right to be proud of him. He is the pride of your village and of all of us. We are ready to die for any member of his family. He died a martyr."
Temerkhanov was buried immediately after his body arrived from the Siberian city of Omsk, but thousands of cars continued arriving in Geldagen bearing people from across Chechnya to pay their respects.
Temerkhanov died in a prison hospital in the Siberian city of Omsk, reportedly of an unspecified heart illness.
Temerkhanov was buried immediately after his body arrived from Omsk on August, but thousands of cars continued arriving in Geldagen bearing people from across Chechnya to pay their respects.
Moscow fought two wars in the 1990s and early 2000s against Chechen separatists.
In 2009, Moscow declared an end to the "antiterrorist action" in the region, although sporadic violence continues throughout the North Caucasus.