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Contract Killings


Sunday, 30 September 2007


The hitman or killer (pronounced "keeler" in Russian) is a phenomenon of the country's shock transition from communism to a market economy.

You would use the Russian verb zakazat' to order a pizza or a plane ticket but when you "order someone", in the popular parlance, it means you want them killed by one of these hired hitmen.

If Russian media accounts are to be believed, his wages can range from a modest $100 to sums running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the target.

When Ms Politkovskaya was shot at her home, there did not appear to be any attempt at robbery and the presumed weapon, a Makarov pistol, was left at the scene together with its used cartridges.

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