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SERGIYEV POSAD -- In Russia, mayor has become a high-risk line of work. Over the past decade, more than 40 top city officials around the country have been either seriously injured or killed in targeted attacks. It happened again this week when Evgeny Dushko, mayor of a popular Russian tourist town, was shot dead in broad daylight in what investigators suspect was a contract killing.
Dushko, 35, was killed Monday on his way to a meeting to discuss a crisis over municipal services in Sergiyev Posad, a city 40 miles north of Moscow best known as the home of the Trinity Lavra, a 14th century Russian Orthodox monastery.
Prior to his death, Dushko had aired corruption allegations against local officials. He had a tense relationship with local companies and his father said local officials may have been involved. Police say his death was likely to be connected to his job.
Since 2000, at least 40 mayors or deputy mayors in Russia have been targeted.
Leaving his father’s house, Dushko was in his Volvo S60 when an unknown assailant fired at him seven times on the driver’s side, before fleeing.
When he heard the gunfire, Dushko’s father raced out of the house and saw his son bleeding. His father rushed him to hospital but two bullet wounds to the chest proved to be fatal. His wife and children were overseas on holiday at the time.
Evgeny Dushko, who served as the chairman of the city council, was elected head of the town on April 7.
His father claimed local officials and businessmen may have been involved in the killing and his son had received threats and made repeated pleas for protection after rising tensions over public utilities policy.
Two months ago, Dushko had set up a municipal state company that would handle the transfer of management of city utilities, property and construction. This created conflict with a local management company called Posad Energo, which controls most of the local contracts. Dushko had accused the company of fraud. At the same time, some businessmen and companies had accused Dushko of abuse of power.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently said corruption remained rampant at a municipal level.
Read the full story in Russian by Yuri Senatorov
Photo - akk_rus