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Television Reporter Alikhan Guliyev Shot Dead

A gunman has shot dead a television reporter who had filed a complaint that led to the disqualification of a leading challenger of the Kremlin's favored candidate in Ingushetia's presidential election last year.

Alikhan Guliyev was fatally shot in front of his apartment in northeast Moscow at about 9:20 p.m. on Friday, Interfax reported. He had been out shopping and was opening the door to his apartment at 21 Startovaya Ulitsa when he was shot twice in the back with a Makarov pistol.

A complaint filed by Guliyev prompted the removal of Khamzad Gutseriyev from the race for the Ingush presidency last year, TV Center television and Ekho Moskvy radio reported Saturday. They said he had accused Gutseriyev, the region's interior minister at the time, of campaign violations.

The candidacy of Gutseriyev, who was disqualified shortly before the April 2002 vote, was backed by Ingushetia's incumbent president, Ruslan Aushev, a hero of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who prompted the election by resigning late in 2001.

The Supreme Court ruled that Gutseriyev should have taken leave from his job as the region's top policeman during the campaign, according to election laws.

The election was won by Murat Zyazikov, an FSB general backed by President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Southern Federal District.

Itar-Tass reported that an earlier attempt on Guliyev's life was made in March 2002, shortly before the Ingush election, when he was working for the main regional television and radio company. While he had moved to Moscow since the election, Guliyev specialized in reports on the North Caucasus region, including Chechnya, which is adjacent to Ingushetia.

Police and local news agencies said late Friday that Guliyev was an employee of TV Center, and a news program on the station also said he had worked there. But TV Center spokeswoman Irina Stepanova told Ekho Moskvy on Saturday that while he may have contributed a few reports in the past, he was neither a staff reporter nor a stringer.

(The Moscow Times 21.vii.03)

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