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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: June 15, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Chechen Suspect in Nemtsov Murder Case May Be Tried in Military Court
5 years
Central Bank of Russia Reduces Key Rate to 11.5%

Zaur Dadayev, the main suspect in the murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, was determined to have been serving in the armed forces at the time of the murder, Kommersant and TV Rain reported.

A source has told Kommersant that on February 27, 2015, the night of the murder, Dadayev was still serving in the Chechen Interior Ministry in the Sever Battalion, although earlier it was claimed that he took a 30-day leave at the end of which his resignation was to have gone in effect.

According to Kommersant's information, while gathering material for their client Zaur Dadayev, his lawyers sent an inquiry to the Sever Regiment of the Interior Troops in Grozny (army unit I4156) in which the accused had served. From the response received in recent days it follows tat at the moment of the murder of Mr. Nemtsov - late on the evening of February 27, 2015 -- the accused Dadayev was a staff officer of the regiment. As the Sever leadership states, Lt. Dadayev, deputy commander of a
special motorized battalion had served in the regiment a little less than nine years, although his military service calculated by the so-called privileged count is 13 years, 8 months. From this the conclusion can be made that Zaur Dadayev spent almost the entire period of his service in the combat zone and took part in combat.

On New Year's Eve, the lieutenant submitted to the command of the unit a report of his resignation to the reserves at his own wish, although before this, he wished to spend the vacation time owed him.
During his vacation, the officer, as Kommersant reported, went to Moscow where he planned to meet with friends and former fellow servicemen to resolve some debt disputes. We note that lats year, Mr. Dadayev entered the Moscow Industrial University with a major in "banking." By coincidence, he was expelled from the university on the day of the murder of Mr. Nemtsov on the grounds of non-payment of the latest tuition fee.

Dadayev was on vacation all through February and only on the last day of the month, Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Vnukov, commander of the North Caucasus region command of the Russian Federation Interior Ministry Internal Troops, issued order no. 9 "On Personnel," ordering Alibek Delimkhanov, commander of the Sever Regiment, to dismiss Lt. Dadayev into the reserves. We note that February 28 -- the day after the murder - Zaur Dadayev was formally counted as a servicemen. Only on March 1, Col. Delimkhanov issued his instruction No. 32 to remove Dadayev from the lists of personnel in the unit and remove all forms of his privileges. On that day, Lt. Dadayev, as follows from the answer of the commanders, turned in his service files and officially left the post. Upon his resignation, the officer was paid his severance pay in the amount of three times his salary, and his documents were sent to the military commission in Malgobek (Ingushetia) for placement on the military register according to his place of residence.

All of this means that Dadayev as well as his fellow defendants could be tried in a military court.

Alexey Venediktov, the editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy, explained the ramifications of the defendant who was on active duty at the time of the murder:

Translation: It will be closed, and on the grounds of the military base.

That means the public and press will not be able to attend.

Sever has generally been referred to as a battalion, not a regiment in the past. Delimkhanov was transferred to another position in the Internal Troops. Dadayev has been linked to Ruslan Geremeyev, another Sever officer who is said to have organized the murder and is now said to be on the international wanted list after rumors he fled from Russia.

Shamsudin Tsakayev, a prominent attorney who is one of the lawyers defending Dadayev, said he didn't see a problem in the change of venue and "counted on the objectivity of the military court."

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick