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Russian Shot Dead Near Vienna Was Reportedly A Kadyrov Critic


The reported victim, Mamikhan Umarov, was known as Anzor of Vienna.
The reported victim, Mamikhan Umarov, was known as Anzor of Vienna.

A Russian asylum seeker who was shot dead outside the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 4 was a former Chechen separatist and a critic of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, sources in the Chechen diaspora told RFE/RL.

The sources said the victim was Mamikhan Umarov, who was known as Anzor of Vienna.

Officials in Austria have said only that the victim was a 43-year-old asylum seeker from the Russian Federation and that he was shot dead in a parking lot outside a shopping center in the Vienna suburb of Gerasdorf.

Austrian police said on July 6 that the victim had declined police protection, but did not say when or specify why it was offered.

Austrian media reported that the killing is being considered as a possible political assassination.

Roland Scherscher, the head of the regional intelligence and anti-terrorism authority involved in the case, told the Austria Press Agency that the motive remains unclear, and that a political motive or perhaps an argument are both possible.

According to initial reports, the asylum seeker was shot in the head and died before ambulances arrived.

A suspect, who was also identified by Austrian authorities only as a Russian citizen, was captured several hours later about 200 kilometers west of the capital in Linz following a large-scale police manhunt.

Law enforcement authorities later on July 5 arrested another man they initially thought was a witness. After questioning the man, police arrested him as a suspect. No further details of his identity were disclosed, according to Austrian broadcaster ORF.

Police are investigating the incident and trying to determine a motive. An autopsy is being conducted on the victim, whose application for asylum had been recognized by Austria in 2007.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Vienna told the state news agency TASS that it had not been contacted in connection with the events.

In interviews and social-media posts, Umarov has said he was a former mercenary, who served in the security service under the separatist government that controlled Chechnya in the late 1990s between two devastating wars against federal forces. He frequently accused the Russian security forces of carrying out the assassinations of former Chechen separatists in European countries.

Rights groups have accused Kadyrov, who has ruled Chechnya since 2007, of numerous human rights abuses, including kidnappings, tortures, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and the targeted killings of political and person rivals both in Russia and abroad.

In February, Chechen blogger Tumso Abdurakhmanov was attacked in Sweden. He was able to overpower his alleged attacker and hand him over to the authorities.

In March 2019, the head of the Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov, declared a blood feud against Abdurakhmanov.

On January 30, Chechen blogger Imran Aliyev, also a critic of Kadyrov, was found dead in the French city of Lille. He had been stabbed 135 times. Prosecutors say they have identified a Russian-born man who returned to Chechnya immediately following the killing as the prime suspect in the case.

In August 2019, Georgian native Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a former Chechen separatist fighter, was shot dead in Berlin. Prosecutors in Germany have filed murder charges against a Russian national in that case and accused the Russian government of ordering the killing.

With reporting by TASS, AP, APA, and Kurier

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