Governor of Russian Region Stabbed After Public Meeting, Most Serious Attack on Official in Years

The governor of Russia’s northwestern Murmansk region was stabbed in the stomach after a meeting with local residents, representing the most dangerous assault on a high-ranking government official in more than a decade.

Governor Andrei Chibis, 45, had just finished a meeting at the cultural center in the town of Apatity on Thursday, when a man walked up and stabbed him with a knife, according to local media reports. The town, named for a mineral used in the production of fertilizers, is located above the Arctic Circle in the Murmansk Region, which shares a border with Norway and Finland.

The suspect, who wasn’t named, told interrogators that he committed the attack because he “disliked” the governor, although he did not know him personally, Russia’s Investigation Committee said on its Telegram channel. The investigation is ongoing.

Chibis was the first high-ranking government official in Russia to be injured in an attack since 2009, when the head of the Ingushetia region, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov was wounded in an assassination attempt. In that incident, a car filled with 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of explosives blew up next to his motorcade moving along the highway near the city of Nazran. Yevkurov is now deputy defense minister.

Chibis underwent surgery for his injuries, and posted a video in his Telegram channel Friday, saying he is conscious and will recover.

Murmansk is home to operations for some of Russia’s biggest companies, such as MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC and fertilizer producer PhosAgro PJSC. The region’s port is also an important logistics point for exports. The area also hosts the main bases of the Northern Fleet, including submarines.