Georgian Zelimkhan Wiki – Biography
Georgian Zelimkhan (Georgian: 1979–2019) was an ethnic Chechen Georgian national, who was a former military commander for the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria during the Second Chechen War, and a Georgian military officer during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Khangoshvili continued to be considered a terrorist by Russian authorities.
Georgian Zelimkhan Age
Georgian Zelimkhan was 38 Years old at the time of death.
Georgian Zelimkhan Murder
On 23 August 2019, Khangoshvili was assassinated in a Berlin park, by an alleged Russian GRU operative.
Khangoshvili may be among the many Chechen emigres, dissidents and alleged terrorists to be assassinated in targeted killings.
Georgian Zelimkhan Life & Career
Khangoshvili was a native of Pankisi Gorge, a region of Georgia home to a large ethnic Chechen population known as the Kist.
In 2001, Khangoshvili joined the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in its fight against Russia during the Second Chechen War. Georgian Zelimkhan was a field commander and had close ties to former Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov. Maskhadov, Chechnya’s democratically elected president, was killed in a 2005 raid by the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence agency. After returning to his native Georgia, Georgian Zelimkhan commanded a Georgian anti-terror military unit in South Ossetia during the 2008 war, but his unit was never deployed. In 2016 Georgian Zelimkhan and his family, wife and four children, sought refuge in Germany after several attempts on his life by Russian intelligence in Georgia.
Georgian Zelimkhan Assassination
On 23 August 2019, at around midday in the Kleiner Tiergarten park Khangoshvili was walking through a wooded path of the park on his way back from the mosque he attended when he was shot twice in the head by an alleged Russian assassin on a bike with a Glock 26 silencer. The gun and bicycle were afterward dumped into the River Spree, but the alleged perpetrator identified as 49-year-old Russian national Vadim S. by German police, was apprehended. The Russian state has been linked to the killing.
The search for Khangoshvili’s assassin
Georgian Zelimkhan’s alleged assassin, detained by German police, traveled on a valid Russian passport issued under the fake identity of Vadim Sokolov. Reporting by Der Spiegel and other media has disclosed that the suspect initially traveled from Moscow to Paris and then on to Warsaw, where he rented a hotel room for five days during which he traveled on to Berlin. In a report from 26 September 2019, The New York Times reported that German investigators had received a tip from an anonymous source claiming the suspect’s real identity was that of Vladimir Stepanov, a former police officer from St. Petersburg who in 2006 was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in jail. German police are said to be undetermined whether Vladimir Stepanov is, in fact, the person behind the Vadim Sokolov persona. The open-source investigative team at Bellingcat and its investigative partners Der Spiegel, The Insider, and The Dossier Centre, have concluded however that the suspect held by German police is unlikely to be Vladimir Stepanov. The same finding was reached independently by the Petersburg-based online newspaper Fontanka, who claims in a September 26 report that Vladimir Stepanov remains in a Russian prison. Bellingcat and its partners have stated that conclusive evidence proves that the suspect traveled to Berlin under a cover identity with the active support of the Russian state and that the Russian state “created a comprehensive, back-dated paper-trail for this fictitious persona in order to help him obtain the necessary travel and insurance documents, and crucially, a Schengen visa.”
“Sokolov’s passport was issued without any biometric data, the inclusion of which has been the default option for all Russian passports since 2009, except ‘in emergency situations when the applicant has no time to wait for the fingerprint encryption and printing process.’ In fact, 20 GRU operatives outed by Bellingcat in recent years, including Skripal’s hit team, have used these ‘old-style’ passports in ultimately futile attempts to hide their cover identities.”
In December 2019 a Bellingcat article identified the man who traveled under the fake identity of Vadim Sokolov as Vadim Nikolaevich Krasikov. Vadim Krasikov was the key suspect in the murder a Russian businessman and in early 2014 Russia had initiated a national and international search for the suspect – who they identified as Vadim Krasikov. An Interpol warrant was also issued by Moscow. In July 2015 however ” the Interpol notice and national search warrants were withdrawn, implying that the suspect had been detained, or alternatively no longer a suspect in the crime. The criminal investigation into the Moscow murder itself has not been closed and no other suspects have been named.”