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Russian activist and son shot dead

VORKUTA, Russia, July 25 (UPI) -- A Russian activist who campaigned against higher utility charges and compulsory television antenna charges in her city has been shot dead together with her son.

Human rights watchdog Memorial has linked the killing of Lyudmila Zhorovlya, 55, and her son Konstantin, 22, to her clashes with the mayor and authorities of the northern city of Vorkuta, The Moscow Times reported Thursday.

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Zhorovlya was shot at about 6 a.m. Thursday after she opened her apartment door to her assailant, a spokeswoman for the Russian republic of Komi's Interior Ministry said. Her son apparently had tried to fight back.

Last year Zhorovlya assisted residents in lawsuits against city authorities, calling for compensation over steep hikes in utility bills, said Igor Sazhin, regional head of Memorial.

According to Sazhin, she was preparing to sue the city administration for requiring residents to pay for television antennas produced by a local company that were installed whether residents wanted them or not. Reportedly she had telephoned a friend the night before the murder to say she had been threatened by company representatives.

Police reportedly were also considering the possibility that the killings were connected to a computer business run by Zhorovlya's son.

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