MOSCOW, May 13 (RAPSI/RIA Novosti) – Two alleged Russian nationalists suspected of involvement in a number of high-profile murders, including the audacious 2009 shooting of a human rights lawyer in downtown Moscow, have been detained in Serbia and Ukraine, Russia’s Investigative Committee said Monday.
Ilya Goryachev and Mikhail Volkov had been on the international wanted list as part of the criminal case opened into the BORN (Battle Organization of Russian Nationalists) extremist group on multiple charges related to a string of killings.
According to the Investigative Committee, the two men are connected to the murders of lawyer Stanislav Markelov in 2009 and judge Eduard Chuvashov in 2010 in Moscow. It was not clear from the statement what Goryachev and Volkov’s exact alleged role in those murders was, as other suspects have previously been arrested over both those killings.
The investigators also link Goryachev and Volkov to a series of other killings, including those of a police officer, three anti-fascist activists and the 2009 slaying of former Thai boxing world champion Muslim Abdullayev.
The Russian authorities are seeking the extraditions of Goryachev from Serbia and Volkov from Ukraine, with a view to placing them in custody in accordance with an arrest warrant issued earlier by Moscow’s Basmanny District Court.
The charges against the two suspects include murder, organizing and taking part in an extremist organization and arms trafficking, meaning they face life sentences if convicted.
Chuvashov, who presided as a federal judge over a number of hearings on far-right groups, was gunned down in his apartment building in what law enforcement agencies described as revenge for lengthy sentences he handed out for hate murders.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) earlier named several suspects in the case, including two Moscow Region residents who had lasting connections to underground armed groups and who were arrested last year. Another suspect in the case, 28-year-old Moscow resident Alexei Korshunov, died in an accidental grenade explosion in Ukraine in October 2011.
Prominent human rights lawyer Markelov was shot dead in downtown Moscow on January 19, 2009 along with Novaya Gazeta reporter Anastasia Baburova, who had witnessed the shooting. In 2011, two ultranationalists, Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgeniya Khasis, were convicted of those murders, which had prompted an outcry and criticism of Russia in the West. The prosecution also considered that crime to be revenge for Markelov’s anti-nationalist activities.
The rightist news portal Pravy Mir calls Goryachev a co-founder and former leader of the Russky Obraz nationalist group, which took its roots in Serbia’s banned Obraz far right organization and which has expressed support for Tikhonov and Khasis, the couple convicted of the murder of Markelov.
“Ilya Goryachev hasn’t been hiding during the past two years, he lived in Serbia where he has a residency permit,” Yevgeny Valyayev, a representative of the Conservative Rights Group, told the rightist web site modus-agendi.org on Monday.
Neither of the wanted men was available to comment on Monday.
Ukrainian law enforcement officials confirmed that a 31-year-old Russian member of a nationalist group had been detained in Kiev on Friday, but did not reveal his name.