Before the astonished glance of his colleagues and in the heat of session of the Senate, a Russian senator has been stopped this Wednesday in Moscow suspect of murder. Rauf Arashukov, 32, who was the youngest parliamentarian in the Senate, is accused of hiring assassins to end the life of a well-known youth activist and a former security consultant.
Arashukov, who had been late for Wednesday’s session, tried to escape when he was cornered by the Russian federal security services (the well-known FSB). He did not succeed. Minutes before, and at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office and with the security forces guarding the door, his fellow senators voted to deprive him of the immunity that would have prevented his arrest.
Arashukov, from the Karachay-Cherkessia region of the northern Caucasus, is accused of murder, of participating in an armed group and of putting pressure on witnesses. Investigators believe he orchestrated the murders in 2010 of Aslan Zhukov, leader of the Circassian human rights movement Adyge Khase – which advocates the independence of the Russian Federation region -, and Frall Shebzujov, the former adviser to the president of Karachayevo-Cherkessia Boris Ebzeev
The activist was shot in his car when he cleaned it in a car wash facility. The security adviser was beaten to death with baseball bats. Both cases had remained unresolved until a special investigative group arrested three men who pointed to Senator Arashukov as the one who ordered the crimes, a source close to the investigation told the RBC newspaper. The killings caused a huge commotion in the region, and during these years there have been demonstrations against impunity.
Arashukov became interested in politics at age 18. And from regional posts, he climbed until he was nominated and sent to the Council of the Federation, in 2016. He has been arrested there. Other senators have explained to local television that before the vision of the security forces and voting on their immunity in progress, the politician has tried at all costs to leave the room and even hide inside. The president of the Council of the Federation, Valentina Matvienko, ordered him in an icy voice to sit down and Arashukov ended up obeying.
“It has been a complete surprise for everyone. Including the suspect, who arrived late for the session, “Senator Sergei Kalashnikov told the Interfax news agency. The authorities decided to deploy the device in the Federal Council because they thought there was a risk of flight. They suspect that Arashukov wanted to flee to the United Arab Emirates and that he had even forged a residence permit.
The arrested senator is the son of a well-known and powerful businessman who coincidentally has also been arrested on Wednesday for a case of financial fraud. The man, senior executive in Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, is accused of stealing gas worth 30,000 million rubles (400 million euros), as detailed by the agency Interfax.