Russia ruling party official killed in Caucasus
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
AP PhotoA high-ranking Russian ruling party member who headed a college in the restive North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria was shot dead Tuesday in his office, officials said.
Two unidentified gunmen entered the office of Boris Zherukov, head of a local agricultural college, at about 11 a.m. (0700 GMT) and shot him twice in the head, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.
"The victim died on the spot," the statement said.
Zherukov, 54, was a top member of the ruling United Russia party, heading its faction in the regional parliament.
The party's secretary Sergei Neverov asked Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev to take the case under his "personal control," United Russia said on its website.
It was the second brazen murder to hit central Nalchik -- the main city of Kabardino-Balkaria -- since December 6, when assailants killed the young television presenter Kazbek Gekkiyev.
The North Caucasus sees near-daily violence that officials blame on militants seeking to establish an Islamic state across the impoverished region.
The relatively secular Kabardino-Balkaria has been less affected by the violence than places such as Chechnya and Dagestan, now considered the North Caucasus' most dangerous region.
But the republic has seen a rise in attacks in recent years, with 91 suspected Islamist militants and their victims killed in the first 11 month of 2012, according to regional news website Kavkaz-Uzel.ru.