Moscow, Oct. 18 (Reuters): The governor of a gold-rich Russian region was shot dead today by a contract killer at morning rush hour on a bustling Moscow street not far from the Kremlin, police said.
Valentin Tsvetkov, governor of the Magadan region, was gunned down on Moscow’s Novy Arbat, a busy thoroughfare of casinos, bars and expensive fashion shops and the route to work for the elite being driven into the Kremlin. The brazen killing, on one of Moscow’s most heavily-policed streets, was the first major political assassination since President Vladimir Putin took office in May 2000 and a direct affront to his tough crime-fighting policies.
Police said the killer had hidden in wait behind a billboard and shot Tsvetkov in the head with a pistol, equipped with a silencer, as he spoke on his mobile phone near the Magadan regional headquarters in the capital.
Police said the killer also tried to shoot Magadan’s vice-governor, who was with Tsvetkov, but missed.