MOSCOW — A former army colonel who became an emblem of Russian brutality in Chechnya after he murdered an 18-year-old woman there 11 years ago, was shot four times in the head and killed Friday in a busy Moscow neighborhood.
In 2000, Russia was engaged in the second of two bloody wars against Chechen separatists, and Yuri Budanov’s rape, beating and killing of Elza Kungayeva caused outrage in the region.
“I felt absolutely nothing,” Visa Kungayev, the victim’s father, said by telephone from Norway after hearing the news. “They’re all dogs and deserve to die.”
Budanov, who had a reputation for terrorizing his own soldiers as well as Chechens, was released from prison on parole in January 2009. The same month, the Kungayev family lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, was killed outside a Moscow metro station, along with a 25-year-old journalist. The Kungayev family later left Chechnya for Norway with their four other children.
Two opposing theories quickly arose about Friday’s shooting: Budanov was killed either by Chechens seeking revenge or by nationalists who assumed Chechens would be blamed, provoking anti-Chechen feeling.
In another high-profile case, former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was apparently sent from Moscow to a distant prison camp Friday, disrupting his request for parole, his attorneys said. They added that neither they nor his wife had been told where he was being sent or when he left.