Allies of Slain Russian Lawmaker Receive Death Threats


MOSCOW (AP) -- Political allies of a prominent Russian liberal lawmaker gunned down last week have been receiving death threats since her slaying, a party member said Wednesday.

Dmitry Shagin, an artist who heads the Northern Capital movement organized by lawmaker Galina Starovoitova, said that he and his colleagues have been receiving telephone threats since her death Friday, Russian news reports said.

Russian media have suggested that Starovoitova may have been killed to prevent Northern Capital from winning local parliamentary elections in St. Petersburg set for Dec. 6.

Starovoitova, 52, also a leader of the reformist Russia's Democratic Choice party, was shot to death by unidentified assailants on the stairs of her apartment building in St. Petersburg.

The killing of such a prominent politician has caused an uproar in Russia and prompted calls from all sides for a crackdown on the country's growing lawlessness. Scores of business leaders and others have been gunned down in recent years in contract killings that are almost never solved.

President Clinton on Wednesday also condemned the attack, calling the killing "a terrible loss for friends of democracy around the world."

Starovoitova's aide, 27-year-old Ruslan Linkov, suffered serious head wounds during the attack. Doctors described his condition Wednesday as "moderately serious," the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.

Linkov talked to police after regaining consciousness earlier this week, but investigators said they learned nothing significant.

The Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified detective as saying that police believed "the contract for murdering Starovoitova originated from St. Petersburg, not Moscow," as investigators earlier suggested. The detective gave no other details.

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