Investigators are saying that the journalist shot and killed today in Dagestan was “likely to have been assassinated because of his work,” according to RIA Novosti.
Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev, an editor at local newspaper “Novoe Delo,” died in his car outside his house in Makhachkala, the regional capital, after it was fired on at about 7:00 a.m. by unknown assailants, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.
It was not the first attempt on Akhmednabiev’s life, according to editor and colleague Gadzhimurad Sagitov, who said that when Akhmednabiev’s car was shot at earlier this year in a similar attack, the police only opened a case to investigate property damage.
Akhmednabiev was targeted before, was shot at as recently as January, and was complaining of death threats. Various news reports have said that he was on a “short list,” spread across the internet, of supporters of the military insurgency led by Islamist rebels in the Dagestan region of North Caucasus. He was also an outspoken critic of the government.
The journalist’s death comes on the heels of an intensification in struggle between the Russian state and the Islamist rebels. This week, the Islamist leader Doku Umarov called for militants to attack the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. And just yesterday, Russian special forces killed Umarov’s top bodyguard in Chechnya.