Ruslan Magomedragimov

Ruslan Magomedragimov was killed in late March 2015. He served in the army for many years, and then worked as a civilian pilot. A leader of the ethnic Lezgin community in Russia’s North Caucasus region of Daghestan, Magomedragimov was an activist of the Sadval movement. The movement was established in 1990 to promote the idea of unifying the Lezgin people living in Daghestan and neighboring Azerbaijan.

Magomedragimov was supposed to meet a friend, but instead his body was found just after 2:00 pm. His car was parked in a courtyard about 400 meters from where his body was found. His friend stated that the dash cam was removed from Magomedragimov’s car, and two of the three phones he had on him were missing. Investigators who arrived at the crime scene found another person’s fresh shoe prints in the car.

The initial conclusion by the investigators was that Magomedragimov died of heart failure. However, a coroner who conducted a post-mortem on the victim reportedly challenged this conclusion, saying Magomedragimov had a perfectly healthy heart and that the death appeared to have been the result of asphyxiation. At the same time, there were no signs of violence on the victim’s neck or body. Before his body was prepared for burial, relatives saw two dots resembling the traces of a syringe needle on his neck. On the insistence of relatives, tissue samples were sent for analysis for the presence of toxins in his body. Family and friends felt Magomedragimov had been killed as a result of his activism.

Bellingcat was able to find out that Kuashev’s assassins – Ivan Osipov and Konstantin Kudravtsyev – traveled to Makhachkala in the period before Magomedragimov’s death:

Osipov visited the town twice in January 2015, and Kudryavtsev traveled to Makhachkala just two weeks before the death — just as it happened in the 2014 Kuashev case — staying in the region from l to 16 March.

Days before Magomedragimov’s death, on 24 March 2015, Ivan Osipov flew into Vladikavkaz. He stayed in the region for six days and left back to Moscow two days after the presumed poisoning. Bellingcat states, as the data points and travel overlaps in Magomedriagimov’s case are fewer than those in Kuashev’s, they are not sufficient for a standalone conclusive assessment that he was killed by the FSB poison squad. Yet the strikingly similar circumstances surrounding the deaths of these two activists from the North Caucasus, including claims around the use of injections to induce death broadly mis-attributable to heart failure, were notable.

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