Russian shot dead in Austria, police probe political motive
BERLIN (AP) — Police in Austria say they have detained a Russian man after one of his compatriots was shot dead near Vienna late Saturday in what Austrian media report is being considered a possible political assassination.
Austrian news agency APA reported that the 43-year-old victim was an ethnic Chechen who had lived in Austria for more than a decade. The Kurier daily reported the victim was a critic of Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian leader of Russia’s Chechnya region.
Lower Austria police said in a statement Sunday that a 47-year-old suspect didn’t resist when he was detained by armed officers in Linz.
“The circumstances of the crime are unclear,” police said, but added that the investigation is being handled by regional anti-terrorism authorities.
A spokeswoman for Lower Austria police, Sonja Stamminger, said that a second person was detained in connection with the killing Sunday but declined to provide further details.
The Russian website Kavkazski Uzel, which covers issues throughout the Caucasus region, said the victim ran a YouTube channel containing critical commentary about Chechnya under Kadyrov.
The killing, which occurred in the Vienna suburb of Gerasdorf, follows several other attacks on Chechens abroad in recent years.
German prosecutors last month charged a Russian man in the brazen daylight killing in Berlin of an ethnic Chechen from Georgia. The victim had fought Russian troops in Chechnya and fled to Germany in 2016. Prosecutors said the suspect had been tasked with the killing by Russian authorities.
In February, Imran Aliyev, who also had a Youtube channel criticizing Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, was found stabbed to death in a hotel in Lille, France. That same month, another Chechen dissident, Tumru Abdurakhmanov, was attacked in Sweden.