Police are investigating the suspected “contract killing” of a dance performer and teacher, 30, reported to have had “no enemies”.
Natalia Pronina was gunned down at close range by a hooded and masked man in Moscow, Russia, as she returned home from a choreography session.
One reported theory is that the former nightclub dancer had a secret life as an unknown “wealthy” politician’s lover but that his wife had become aware of the relationship.
Pronina – who had won prizes at international dance festivals including in Britain – was shot twice in the chest by an assassin in a black mask close to her high-rise apartment block near Akademicheskaya metro station.
Harrowing CCTV caught the moment Pronina saw the killer approach her from the shadows, before he shot her from close range.
Police sources have indicated this footage has so far not helped track the shooter.
The killer dropped the weapon and fled, say reports citing law enforcement.
Pronina was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery but died two hours after the savage attack.
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Friend Valeria told Komsomolskaya Pravda: "She had no enemies, I can say with absolute certainty.
“Only one of her admirers could be behind this because of jealousy.”
A former dancing colleague Anzhelika said: “Natasha not only danced beautifully, she is a real beauty.
“Men always clung to her and it is possible that one of the rejected fans could have killed her.”
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A “master of sport” in ballroom dancing, she is known to have formed her own team to perform at VIP corporate parties and elite clubs – including striptease.
But Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported that police are investigating a theory that Pronina had been in a long term but secret relationship with a wealthy man – believed to be an MP – who trained in martial arts.
“They had been dating until this summer, when the MP's wife learned about the affair,” said a report.
The dancer had faced “threats” from the woman, it was claimed.
It was also reported that the assassin, dressed in a hoodie and wearing a mask and glasses, had used a non-lethal self-defence gun redesigned for shooting with real bullets.
“She did not have a serious relationship,” said Anzhelika.
“She was not the type who dreams of a white dress and a bunch of kids. Her work was her life. She earned well, she could afford a lot.
“Last year, she definitely travelled four times to Milan, where he also had fans. But this year, due to the pandemic, she did not fly anywhere."
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