The extraordinary story of a dyed blonde powerlifter who 'killed to revenge the death" of her toppled hero.
Ustiuzhaninova's friend claimed: 'She was obsessed with Gaddafi, in love with him, and devastated when he was toppled'. Picture: Ustiuzhaninova's vk page
Athlete Ekaterina Ustyizhaninova, 24, is accused of murdering a Libyan Air Force officer on 1 October, inciting the victim's friends and relatives to attack the embassy in Tripoli a day later. After the onslaught, Russia evacuated its embassy staff and their families to neighbouring Tripoli with the Libyan government unable to guarantee their safety.
Accounts suggest the former Novosibirsk student - nicknamed 'Siberian Amazоn woman' and 'Gaddafi tribe virgin' - shot her victim seven times with a machine gun, spraying bullets into his stomach, shoulder and head. She then attacked his elderly mother, stabbing her several times in the shoulder and hand. As incredulous locals overpowered her, she scrawled 'Death to Rats' in English with the blood of her victim, it was alleged. 'I am going to kill rats because I support Gaddafi,' she said.
A friend claimed: 'She was obsessed with Gaddafi, in love with him, and devastated when he was toppled.'
However, there is no evidence she had ever met the former ruler.
Ustiuzhaninova is understood to have travelled into Libya from Tunisia during the revolution which led to Gaddafi's ouster. Picture: Ustiuzhaninova's vk page
Apprehended by Libyan police, she now faces a charge of murder and is held under close guard in detention. Ustiuzhaninova disappeared from Siberia, where she studied at Novosibirsk State University, about two years ago.
Many of her friends believed she had returned to Vladivostok where her parents lived. In fact, it is now she believed she went on a personal mission to revenge Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi's death in 2011.
In Novosibirsk, Ustiuzhaninova was a student of Foreign Language Faculty and a member of Power Sports Association.
'She left foreign language faculty and entered history faculty of our University. But then she took a gap year and never returned. She was dismissed in 2011 by the University,' a university spokesman told Komsomolskaya Pravda.
'We didn't even think of her possibly moving to Libya,' said Alexei Ivanov, a local powerlifting official. Vitaly Dubrovin, president of the Novosibirsk region International Powerlifting Association described her as 'a good girl, sociable', adding: 'She did bench press and powerlifting.'
Friends are dumfounded about the allegations that she murdered in revenge for Gaddafi's death.
Leila Tedzhetova said in her blog: 'I received several letters from her. I cant say I believed in what she was writing about. I mean I believed she was in fact in Libya, but I suspected she made up, or added to make it look more impressive.'
The friend said that in a letter to her, Ustiuzhaninova warned of her impending death.
'What you write about your coming death makes me scared and nervous,' Tedzhetova wrote to her.
Ustiuzhaninova's friends are dumfounded about the allegations that she murdered in revenge for Gaddafi's death. Picture: Ustiuzhaninova's vk page
An extraordinary poem has appeared on the Russian web which is about Ustyuzhaninova, and of which she maybe the author.
Let it be your way sweetheart (means Gaddafi)
You'll finish your days where you were born
I'll go wherever you say
I will do whatever you want
You are my only leader and my light
And nothing else I want to have
If you are fighting
I'll stand fighting by your side
A Siberian Amazon
A Gaddafi Tribe Virgin
Will die with your name on her lips
Covered with sand like in her shroud.
Her victim was named as Muhammed Soussi. She killed him after knocking at his door. It is unknown why she chose him as a target. There has been speculation of a relationship with him, and her fury that he supported the ousting of Gaddafi, but there is no confirmation.
Vitaly Dubrovin, president of the Novosibirsk region International Powerlifting Association described Ustiuzhaninova as 'a good girl, sociable'
She is understood to have travelled into Libya from Tunisia during the revolution which led to Gaddafi's ouster.
'The incident provoked relatives and friends of the slain Libyan to decide to avenge his death by attacking the Russian diplomatic mission,' said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. 'The armed attackers succeeded in breaking through into the embassy grounds, but the personnel and their family members hid in the protected premises.'
Libya's Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz denied that his government could not protect the Russians, telling BBC News that they were advised to move to a different location 'as a precautionary measure'.
Most have since returned to Moscow, with high level personnel operating from Tunisia. A group of around 10 armed attackers - said to be the victim's relatives and friends - stormed the Russian embassy compound on Wednesday night. They were armed with hand grenades and machine guns.
Accounts said there was a pitched battle with security guards and an embassy car set on fire. All Russian staff were reported safe.
Ambassador to Libya, Ivan Molotkov, spoke of the attackers being 'armed to the teeth' and resorting to 'indiscriminate firing' at windows, doors and walls.