Publisher of Russian Paper Killed in Estonia

The publisher of a leading Russian-language daily newspaper was shot and killed Saturday in one of the highest-profile murders since this former Soviet republic regained independence 10 years ago. Vitali Haitov, 57, was shot twice in the head just after 3:30 p.m. local time while sitting in his four-wheel-drive vehicle in a suburb of Tallinn, the capital, police spokesman Indrek Raudjalg is quoted by the AP as saying. Police knew of no motive for the attack and have no immediate suspects, he said. Mr. Haitov, a Russian citizen and retired Soviet naval officer, owned the “Estoniya” daily, read by the country's Russian-speaking minority, estimated at about 500,000. He also published a weekly called “Vesti Nedelya Plus,” and had other business interests, including real estate. Last year, his 32-year-old son, Marian, was fatally shot in the head while sitting in a Mercedes in Tallinn. No one has been charged in that killing. Police have blamed several murders in recent years on fights for control of lucrative enterprises by competing crime gangs. About 65 percent of the country's 1.4 million population is ethnic Estonian. Many ethnic Russians immigrated to this Baltic Sea coast nation during the 50 years of Soviet rule.

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