The head of a Russian boarding school has been detained on suspicion of ordering a brutal contract killing aiming to eliminate her love rival.
Svetlana Khananashvili, 37, an accountant and wife of a Moscow politician, is fighting for her life after suffering major blood loss when she was stabbed six times in the face, neck, both lungs, and abdomen.
Vasilisa Maslova, 35, head of a private school called Russian Harvard, a crammer for teenage children of wealthy provincial families, has been taken into custody over suspicion she was behind the clumsy murder attempt.
Two of the headmistress’s former students Nikolay Frolov, 21, and alleged accomplice Irina Pogarchenko, 20, were also detained on suspicion of carrying out the attack.
Maslova was the ex-lover of Moscow city politician Mikhail Khananashvili, 34, a member of the liberal Yablokoparty, according to law enforcement sources. He denied she was his mistress but admitted that she “had quite strong feelings for me” and that this was likely the motive for the attack.
Maslova’s lawyer said she is currently pregnant, claiming the father is her "husband".
A law enforcement source alleged that “it turned out that Maslova was previously the mistress of Svetlana's husband Mikhail Khananishvili,” according to Russian tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.
“About six months ago, the couple broke up.
“Maslova, as far as is known, was very upset and she decided to physically eliminate her rival.
“She probably hoped that afterwards Mikhail would return to her."
During her interrogation Maslova said she wanted to frighten the victim, not to kill her, it was reported.
Frolov, now a student at prestigious Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, was pictured by Life news outlet at a court custody hearing. He is suspected of carrying out the stabbing on Masolva’s orders.
Another ex-Russian Harvard student Pogarchenko is suspected of tailing Svetlana Khananashvili ahead of the attack.
The victim lost more than four litres of blood and is now on a life support machine, her husband Mikhail Khananashvili said. The aim of the attack was “to leave me without my wife.”
He admitted the accused, Ms Maslova, “had quite strong feelings for me.”
“We had friendly and business relations, we were close friends.
“But when it became clear that all this went in the wrong direction, so to say, I began to reduce our relations almost two years ago.”
His wife had been attacked previously when she was hit over the head, he said.
“This is the second attack ... Unfortunately, I believe she (Maslova) is behind it.”
A spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee said: “Having ambushed the woman, the suspect stabbed her at least six times with a knife in the neck and torso.”
Maslova then allegedly drove her ex-students from the scene.
The Multi-lingual Maslova- described by colleagues and a brilliant teacher and school director who was "courageous" and "gorgeous", had a bruise in one eye when she appeared in court.
Her school - specialising in foreign languages - has the reputation of assisting troubled children from wealthy families to reach prestigious Russian universities.
She and Frolov face up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
The school is not linked to Harvard University.
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