“No one in the Republic would ever dare arrest the Arashukovs.” Relatives of murdered in Karachay-Cherkessia tell how they lived all this time
Since 2010, they had been fighting for investigations of murders of their relatives.
Detention of senator Rauf Arashukov brought hope to families of those murdered in 2010: in particular, leader of a youth movement Adyge Khase Aslan Zhukov and a counsellor to the President of the Republic Fral Shebzukhov. Now, the families hope the instigator of the crimes will swallow the medicine.
Zhukov’s sister Alla Kambieva told Znak.com that all these years the investigation and authorities had been closing their eyes to the matter and waving off it. This summer, they decide to be more active, started holding rallies in the Republic’s cities and approached a building of the regional Investigative Committee. As a result, the criminal cases into murder of Aslan Zhukov and Fral Shebzukhov were accepted for the investigation by the central office of the Investigative Committee.
Fral Shebzukhov’s brother Ruslan is convinced that the instigator of Shebzukhov’s murder is going to be identified. In his words, many people called him and congratulated upon the matter following the high-profile arrest of Arashukov.
Relatives of the murdered believe the arrest of Arashukov is now possible only thanks to their efforts and bringing the topic to the federal level. Thus, in Kambieva’s words, 2-3 years ago, she sent an appeal to Ivan Sydoruk (deputy head of the Prosecution Service) and told him the case was not being considered. They promised to help. When they - along with the Shebzukhovs organized a press-conference in summer - the State Duma member Tamara Pletneva noticed them. She was terrified with the story, offered her empathy and also promised to help expose the truth.
Ruslan Shebzukhov believes the investigative bodies of the Karachay-Cherkessia had been slowing down the process intentionally, as all of them had been Arashukov’s proteges. “No one in the Republic would ever dare arrest the Arashukovs.” He started believing in changes only when in September, last year, testified to a certain colonel of the Federal Security Service who asked not to tell anyone about the visit.
Kambieva notes that the investigator in the case (related to the murder of Aslan Zhukov) was Arashukov’s friend Timur Betuganov who did everything on orders from the senator. In particular, he even asked the witnesses to change their testimonies in favour of Arashukov. When Betuganov carried out the investigation into the murder of Aslan Zhukov the way Arashukov wanted it to be carried out, he received an off-roader as a present; after that, they went on vacation to Spain together.
Another investigator in the case was Zareta Jankezova who asked Zhukov’s mother why the latter couldn’t just stay at home and why she always got to learn new circumstances of the criminal case. When Zhukov’s mother said she won’t let this pass and complain to Moscow, Jankezova answered they were free to contact Jesus or whoever, but the case “is already closed,” because it had been paid and there was nothing to do about that.
Wife and sister of Aslan Zhukov
Now Betuganov helms the Center for Countering Extremism of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Republic, and Dzhankezova became Deputy Head of the Investigation Directorate of the Republic. That is, they were not punished, but on the contrary, they were promoted, the sister of Aslan Zhukov is outraged.
She also noted that when she was scanning the materials of the criminal case, she didn’t even see that Arashukov was interrogated, they did not take any action against him, although the conflict between her brother and Arashukov was known, it was in the testimony of Aslan’s girlfriend. At the same time, according to her, she knew that the investigators nevertheless collected materials against Arashukov, but all this was kept separately. Therefore, when the central office of the ICR requested all materials on Arashukov, all these document folders were sent to Moscow. Rauf Arashukov was close friends with [Kazbek] Bulatov (in the summer he was acting Head of the Investigation Directorate of the Investigative Committee for Karachay-Cherkessia, now holds the position of First Deputy Head of department. - Ed.). They went to restaurants together, Bulatov was at Raul Arashukov’s birthday party, where Nikolay Baskov (famous Russia singer) performed, there were many security officials on that party. Of course, during such a friendship Bulatov would not have transferred anything to Moscow against Arashukov Jr., but he kept it as compromising material just in case.
“Last summer,” Kambieva continues, - Rasul Adzhiev went to surrender to the investigators, because they wanted to eliminate him. Frightened for his life, he wrote a confession, in which he said that he had killed Zhukov by order of Arashukov. Then he also said that in 2010 he had come up with a version that he had committed the murder due to jealousy, because Rauf [Arashukov] demanded that from him,” says Zhukov's sister.
Moreover, they did not even put him under house arrest, and to the indignation of the injured party the investigator stated that he did not trust Adzhiev’s testimony because he had previously told one version, then another one, as if there were no guarantees that Adzhiev would not offer the third version. Later, Adzhiev was nevertheless arrested.
The fact that Rauf Arashukov may have been involved in the murder of Aslan Zhukov was also mentioned in 2012 and in 2017 by one of the perpetrators of another murder, Adviser to the President of the Republic Fral Shebzukhov, Mogamet Dzhubuev, as well as the organizer of this crime, Rustam Kopsergenov. But to the question of Ruslan Shebzukhov about why the investigation does not pay attention to these testimonies, he always received formal replies, saying that the case is being investigated, wait.
One of the pickets of opponents of Arashukov in summer 2018 in Cherkessk
“When I fought to ensure that the customers of the murder of my brother Fral [Shebzukhov] were found, I did not feel safe in the Republic, everyone told me that I could be killed too. If even my brother, the Presidential Adviser, was killed, who am I? A simple worker, already receiving retirement benefit, who would protect me? Killing me is a piece of cake," - said Ruslan Shebzukhov.
Alla Kambieva, in turn, says that they were under pressure - many friends of her brother, who supported them all this time, were targeted in far-fetched cases, one was even beaten by Arashukov’s guards. When after another picket in the summer of 2018 she and her mother were invited to the reception by the Prosecutor of the Republic, Alexander Tereshchenko, he directly said: “What can we do?” The woman believes that the Arashukovs were convinced they would never be sent behind bars, that they could do whatever they wanted, but now they have gone too far.