MOSCOW, July 1 -- Unknown bombers tried to scare off a candidate running for a seat in the Russian parliament by throwing a grenade in front of his election campaign headquarters in the Ingush town of Nazran, the Itar-Tass news agency reported Saturday.
No casualties were reported and the building was slightly damaged.
The building housed the campaigning staff of Vakha Yevloyev -- a man whose name will be on ballots with six others Sunday when Russia's southern republic of Ingushetia goes to the polls to choose its representative in the lower house of Russian parliament, the State Duma.
The seat in the Duma became vacant when former holder Mikhail Gutseriyev was appointed chairman of Slavneft, a joint Russian-Belarussian oil and gas company.
Some say that Saturday's bombing was a warning signal to Vakha Yevloyev who is considered to be a serious contender in the race.
According to Mogomed Yevloyev, who works as chief of his brother's election campaign, the bombing took place around 4 am Saturday when a khaki-colored UAZ van with five men inside stopped in front of the building. All passengers wore camouflage uniforms and one of them threw a grenade.
"This action aims to exert pressure on Vakha Yevloyev, who is one of the most likely winners in the election," said Mogomed Yevloyev.
A criminal investigation is under way. Investigators assume that the bomber used an F-1 hand grenade. In accordance with Article 213, part 3 of Russia's Criminal Code, the perpetrators could face the armed hooliganism charge and a sentence from four to seven years in prison.
Pre-election incidents, including assassinations, bombings, arson and other criminal acts are not rare in the post-Soviet Russia. When faced with tough opposition they cannot handle at the ballot box, political foes occasionally straighten out their conflicts by resorting to crime.
Ingushetia is the youngest of Russia's 89 regions and republics. Formerly a part of the Chechen-Ingush republic, it was separated from Chechnya on June 4, 1992, when the Russian Federation's Supreme Soviet passed a law to form the Ingush republic.