Probably the most well known contemporary political assassination of a Russian citizen abroad, aside from the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, was the killing of Umar Israilov in Vienna in January 2009. Israilov, a Chechen exile and a former bodyguard of Ramzan Kadyrov, gave key witness testimony in cases before the European Court of Human Rights and other major legal filings which represent the first formal allegations based on Kadyrov’s conduct, revealing a regime of torture and rampant human rights abuses.
The murder itself was ghastly, and seemed entirely out of place on the quiet streets of the Austrian capital. Israilov spotted his two killers upon leaving his neighborhood grocery store, and immediately ran for his life before the gunmen caught up to him. Some observers speculated that it was a botched kidnapping attempt for all the public attention drawn by the murder. CJ Chivers at the New York Times has followed the story very closely.
So this week, in response to the Austrian prosecutors’ investigation and accusation that Kadyrov ordered the kidnapping and could be indicted, what does the famous Chechen warlord do? Why, make a sports analogy of course!
“It’s very fashionable — if blood is spilled somewhere, it’s usual to blame Kadyrov,” he told foreign journalists, the Web site reported. “Even soccer is infected with this illness. For example, soccer referees, when they make a judgment against the Grozny team Terek, they’re considered heroes for this … it’s said ‘They’re not afraid of Kadyrov.’”
Seriously, when will this guy ever face justice?