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Russian Officials Say High-Profile Killings In Tolyatti Linked

TOLYATTI, Russia -- Officials in the western Russian city of Tolyatti say several high-profile killings in the region were likely organized by one group, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Yelena Shkayeva, the spokeswoman of Samara Oblast's Investigative Committee, told journalists on November 18 that police have identified a suspect who might have been involved in the killing of the "Tolyattinskoye obozreniye" ("Tolyatti Observation") newspaper's chief editor, Valery Ivanov.

Ivanov was shot dead near his apartment in April 2002. Investigators said then that the killing was probably connected to his professional activities.

One year later, "Tolyattinskoye obozreniye" editor Aleksei Sidorov was shot dead.

In September 2010, Russian Investigative Committee chief Aleksandr Bastrykin said investigations into those killings, as well as the assassination of former Tolyatti Mayor Sergei Zhilkin and Samara Oblast deputy Duma speaker Anatoly Stepanov, had been reopened.

Vitaly Gorstkin, the chief of the Samara Oblast Investigative Committee, said that an investigation points to the killings having been organized by one group. He said all the suspects have been identified but only the one arrested thus far. No one has yet been officially charged, Gorstkin said.

Read more in Russian here