Moscow Mob declares war on politicians: As an MP is shot dead in the street, violence enters the mainstream of Russian politics, writes Andrew Higgins from Moscow

THE first member of the Russian parliament to fall victim to the Mob died on Jubilee Street - a foot from his own front doorstep and barely 15 feet from the barrel of a Czech rifle that blew apart his chest.

The single bullet, fired from a basement ventilation window moments after 35-year-old Andrei Ayzderdzis stepped from a chauffeur- driven Saab, hit him on the right side.

Mr Ayzderdzis died in about the time it took Olga Yermilova, a neighbour on the ground floor of their nine-storey block in the Moscow suburb of Khimki, to rush from her kitchen to where Russia's mafia, content previously to gun down businessmen and rival gangsters, declared war on Russia's political class too.

With tempers frayed ahead of May Day - marred last year by a bloody riot and designated again this year as a day of protest - Tuesday evening's murder has brought the poison of violence back into mainstream Russian politics.

The immediate motive for the killing, say colleagues in the New Regional Policy, a centrist parliamentary faction, is revenge for a list of 266 names Mr Ayzderdzis published recently in a local newspaper, Who's Who. They appeared under the headline: 'Leaders of the Criminal World.' Among these names, they say, is the 'thief- in- law' - the Russian equivalent of godfather - who paid for the bullet.

But there is also talk of Mr Ayzderdzis' duties outside the State Duma: his chairmanships of MDK, a private bank, and the International Business Corporation. At least 10 bankers were killed last year, as were upwards of 100 entrepreneurs.

Politicians and the police generally shrug off contract killings, effectvely blaming the victims themselves for keeping bad company. Not this time.

President Boris Yeltsin yesterday vowed action: 'I have given orders for urgent measures to be taken for the discovery of the killers. They will be found and brought to meet their well-deserved retribution.' The State Duma, seething with rage and rumour, called a closed-door session and later members boarded buses to Khimki to visit the scene of the murder. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, nationalist rabble- rouser, gleefully demanded the resignation of the entire government.

'History shows that great historic events begin with shots. Thus the First World War began with a shot at Sarajevo and yesterday's shot began a new crisis in Russia . . . the system is rotten. They should go.' The Duma then passed a non- binding resolution by 239-11 demanding the sacking of Viktor Yerin, the Interior Minister - not a likely prospect as he was Mr Yeltsin's most stalwart supporter during last autumn's political turmoil.

The Communist Party leader, Gennady Zyuganov, spoke of 'political terror' and warned that the Kremlin might try to seize emergency powers. Yegor Gaidar, the reformist standard bearer in parliament, also complained of political manipulation, but from the opposition. 'This shows the dangerous state of crime in our country but I am categorically against attempts to use it to destabilise the situation.'

That Mr Ayzderzis's killer was a professional there can be no doubt: he fired once, dumped his bulky weapon amid the dirt, hissing pipes and empty vodka bottles in the basement, and fled through a window at the back.

Mob-related killings have become such an everyday event that only the more sensational attract attention, such as the murder at the start of the month of Otari Kvantrishvili, wrestling coach, philanthropist, a fixture of elite Moscow parties and, everyone agrees, big- time gangster. He was shot by a sniper as he left his favouite bath house.

A sign of how brazen Russia's underworld has become is that neither Mr Kvantrishvili nor Mr Ayzderdzis was shot after nightfall. Neighbours of the murdered MP recall the time exactly: just before they sat down for the start of the American TV soap opera, Santa Barbara, at 8:25.

'It sounded more like an explosion than a shot. I though at first the children were playing with fireworks,' said Mrs Yermilova, the neighbour first outside after the shooting.

The only hint that Mr Ayzderdzis had perhaps done better than most in Khimki is a glassed-in balcony and a new steel door finished in mock-pine plastic. Red carnations and jaunty yellow daisies now lie heaped between the lines outlining his body. 'Lives around here are counted in kopeks, just kopeks,' said Mrs Yermilova.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is require...

Recruitment Genius: Logistics Supervisor

£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate / Junior Software Developer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate/Junior Software Deve...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Store Sales Executive

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced Sales Executive ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn