Well, that’s what it sounds like: a lone gunman holed up with a sniper-scope rifle at a window above the open square where the president is due to appear.
Only this time the President was named Putin, and the Russian security services were able to stop the gunman before he shot anybody.
And an interesting twist: the would-be assassin is a Muslim from Tajikistan.
The incident occurred back on March 2nd, the day of the Russian presidential election. According to The Telegraph:
Russian secret services have foiled an attack on President Vladimir Putin close to Red Square, it has been claimed.
Mr Putin and his president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, were apparently targeted at this concert
A man with a sniper rifle and Kalashnikov assault gun was found and detained in a rented apartment overlooking Moscow’s St Basil’s Cathedral, on March 2, the day of the Presidential election in Russia.
Mr Putin and his president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev, appeared under the cathedral for a late-night pop concert once early results indicated that Mr Medvedev would win a landslide.
The popular Tvoi Den newspaper, which broke the story, claimed that both men could have been killed from the flat which was in the line of sight of a stage where they appeared.
The gunman was named by the newspaper as Shakhvelad Osmanov, a 24-year-old Tajik national. His sniper rifle was said to be foreign-made and to have optical lenses, it said.
The newspaper claimed that an informant told FSB officials a few days before the election that Mr Putin’s assassination was being planned.
Security officers apparently raided the apartment at 8pm on March 2 and detained the man and found a “whole arsenal of firearms,” including a sniper rifle and a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
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Close to midnight, Mr Putin, a former head of the FSB, and his ally Mr Medvedev walked from the Kremlin onto Red Square to give short victory speeches in front of thousands of celebrating supporters.
“For an experienced marksman, both would have been easy targets,” stated Tvoi Den.
The FSB was said to be hunting for the organisers of the crime. For now, the man is arrested and charged with firearms offences. The paper said that Osmanov is not thought to be the mastermind behind the assassination bid.
Did anybody else notice the telling phrase in this article?
“Mr Putin and his president-elect, Dmitry Medvedev…” [emphasis added]
No one doubted that it was impossible for anyone but a reliable and hand-picked ally to succeed ol’ Pootie-poo as president. Still, to see it stated so bluntly…