MOSCOW — A judge who sentenced neo-Nazis to prison for hate killings was gunned down Monday, marking the latest murder in a surge of violence against activists and officials opposed to Russian nationalists.
Moscow City Court judge Eduard Chuvashov was shot contract-style in the stairwell of his apartment building in central Moscow, Russia's top investigative body said. Chuvashov, 47, presided over several high-profile cases that involved hate killings committed by neo-Nazis and skinheads. In February Chuvashov presided over the trial of the White Wolves, agang of mostly teenaged skinheads who kicked and stabbed their victimsto death, often videotaping the attacks and posting them online. Chuvashov sentenced them to up to 23 years in jail.
The murderer used a silencer and left no shells, but investigators obtained footage from surveillance cameras showing a tall Slavic man, about 30-years-old, coming out of Chuvashov's apartment building shortly after the killing, they said.
A leading rights group pointed the finger at a far-right ultranationalist group with alleged ties to Kremlin-backed youth movements, saying it may have links to the murder and incited hatred for Chuvashov on the Internet. A nationalist leader denied the accusations.