Colonel Yuri Budanov was one of the most spoken-about participants of the war in Chechnya. He was arrested in 2000, tried in court for rape and murder of a Chechen girl in 2001, convicted of kidnapping, abuse of office, and murder in 2003 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Budanov admitted going into a rage and killing an 18-year-old Chechen Elza Kungaeva, a suspected sniper who attacked Budanov's unit and killed his soldiers. The rape charges were never proven. However soldiers were believed to have abused girl's dead body.
Budanov was pardoned in 2009, 15 months before completing his term. Right away, he said he was being followed by the Chechens. He repeatedly talked about black cars with tinted windows parked by his house, and asked for the government's protection. The government refused security services, Budanov went into hiding, came out in the open several months ago, and was shot in downtown Moscow in broad daylight on June 10, 2011 (last Friday)-- four bullets to his head. He was buried as an army hero on June 13. Officers and soldiers who spoke at his funeral said that he was an "officer from God," and an "honorable man and a leader who saved hundreds of lives." Zhirinovsky was one of the controversial political and social leaders who attended the funeral. He said that "Budanov paid for Russian government's failed policies."
The real moral of this story goes far beyond a daylight murder, revenge, judicial and policy failures, or Islamic intolerance. Russians took Budanov's death as a clear message that 1) it is OK to take matters in your hands, 2) no one is safe from lawlessness and the government will not protect you, 3) the legal system does not work, as it cannot satisfy either of the sides - the accusers are not content and the accused are not safe, 4) and that Russia would be much better off if it were "for Russians" only (a nationalistic statement that recently has been rising in its popularity).
The murder should have been better covered in the West, not just because killing people is wrong, but because it was another splash of oil into Russian society's fire of fascism, racism, and radicalism. Many people see in that fire an alternative to either liberal democrats or Putin's stagnation. If the majority of Russians