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4 Charged in High-Profile Murder Case in Pugachyov

Investigators have brought charges against four men over a recent high-profile murder case that ignited smoldering ethnic tensions in the Russian town of Pugachyov, the Investigative Committee said Thursday.

A 20-year-old former paratrooper was fatally stabbed by a 16-year-old Chechen on July 6 outside a cafe in Pugachyov in the Saratov Region in a fight over a girl, prosecutors said earlier. Some media reports have identified the ethnicity of the victim, Ruslan Marzhanov, as half Russian, half Tatar.

The event triggered nearly a week of angry anti-migrant protests.

The suspected killer was detained the next day, the same day that residents marched through the streets calling for all ethnic Chechens to be "evicted" from the town of 40,000, located 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Moscow, prosecutors said earlier, adding that the teenager had confessed to the killing.

"Four young men have been arrested as part of the investigation into the murder of a local resident in Pugachyov," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Thursday.

"They have all been charged with murder," he said.

Russia fought two bloody civil wars in its North Caucasus republic of Chechnya between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, and many natives of the small republic fled to other parts of the country.

Migration throughout the former Soviet Union has been intense in the past two decades and interethnic tensions have flared up periodically across Russia, often involving groups from across the Caucasus region, and ethnic Slavs, among others.

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