Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Actor Killed in Traffic Accident That Paralyzes Moscow

At least four people died and a large swathe of central Moscow was paralyzed for hours Wednesday after a car driven by a young movie star on the way to his birthday party crashed and burned on the Garden Ring in the early morning.

Speculation swirled that the car had "privileged" license plates and belonged to a senior official. Police added to the rumors by classifying footage from surveillance cameras as secret, one news report said.

A Mercedes driven by Nikita Yemshanov, who turned 28 on Wednesday, struck a Hyundai and a Nissan and then rammed into a lamp post, bursting into flames on impact, on Sadovaya-Sukharevskaya Ulitsa around 6:30 a.m., Lifenews.ru said.

Yemshanov apparently lost control of the car while trying to overtake the Nissan, Lifenews.ru said, citing a law enforcement source. The impact with the Nissan knocked the Mercedes into the oncoming lane, where it collided with the Hyundai head on.

Yemshanov and two others died on the spot, while four other people, including passengers in his car and the Hyundai, were hospitalized, Interfax said, citing city police.

Yemshanov's girlfriend, Yekaterina Biryukova, 24, died several hours later in the hospital, RIA-Novosti said, adding that she could only be identified by her tattoos.

Interfax, citing a medical source, said a fifth person also died in the hospital, but the report could not be confirmed. Itar-Tass said a child was among the dead.

Interfax said the Mercedes had license plates in the series "AMR 97," which is usually reserved for state officials, a group of motorists notorious for their disdain of traffic rules.

Photos from the crash site showed the Mercedes without license plates. However, another source told Interfax that the car simply had transit license plates, which are made of cardboard and burned up in the crash.

Footage from street cameras on the nearby Sukharevskaya Ploshchad, normally available for traffic police on duty, was "blocked," a traffic police source told Russian News Service radio.

Traffic police had to close off a portion of the Garden Ring to traffic after the incident, which within minutes caused traffic jams stretching for many kilometers.

Tens of thousands of motorists were stuck in the traffic jams, which did not clear up until past 2 p.m., NTV television reported.

St. Petersburg-born Yemshanov debuted as a supporting cast member in the 2004 war film "72 Meters" and has starred in more than 30 movies since. His breakthrough was when he played the lead in the mystical horror film "Dead Daughters," which was critically received on its release in 2007.

He was also prominent on the city's theater scene, performing at Тeatr.doc and the School of Modern Drama, among other venues.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more