Prominent Chechen poet Ruslan Akhtakhanov, who long argued for Chechens to accept their place as part of Russia, has been shot dead in Moscow. The 58-year-old is believed to have been the victim of a contract killing.
Ruslan Akhtakhanov was walking away from his car when he was shot twice, first in the leg and then in the head. The shooter got away in a waiting vehicle, which was found abandoned a few blocks away with a pistol inside.
A professor at the Modern Humanitarian Academy in Moscow, Ruslan Akhtakhanov was well known for his opposition to Chechen separatism. Much of his poetry focuses on Chechnya’s place in the world and the ongoing struggle between separatists and Russia, which has led to huge numbers of deaths in the region.