News in Brief

Journalist Admits Blackmail

A deputy editor of the independent-minded daily newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta pleaded partially guilty to extortion charges Monday, but completely denied dealing illegal drugs, RIA-Novosti reported.

Moscow's Meshchansky District Court on Monday delivered the charges to Boris Zemtsov, detained in September on suspicion of blackmail.

The Investigative Committee said Zemtsov had demanded a monthly payment of $15,000 from an official at Soyuzplodoimport, the state-controlled company that owns the domestic rights to Stolichnaya vodka, in exchange for not publishing critical articles.

Police also said they had found large quantities of illegal drugs during a search of Zemtsov's home. (MT)

EU Partnership Proposal

BRUSSELS -- Poland and Sweden proposed Monday that the European Union build an Eastern Partnership to help former Soviet republics prepare for membership by cooperating closely with the EU and with each other.

A joint proposal submitted to EU foreign ministers did not mention the membership prospect, opposed by some west European states, but said, "An offer of more profound integration with the EU should be extended to all eastern partners." (Reuters)

Ukrainian Activist Attacked

A Ukrainian human rights activist who helped three members of the banned National Bolshevik Party apply for asylum in Ukraine has been severely beaten by unidentified assailants, Ukrainian media reported Monday.

Dmitry Groisman was in intensive care with severe brain injuries in his hometown of Vinnitsa after a Friday night attack, the ForUm web site said.

Nina Karpachyova, the human rights ombudsman of Ukraine's parliament, said the attack might be connected to Groisman's professional duties, citing confidential information she had received from him and his relatives. (MT)

Kiev Mayoral Vote Results

Early partial results Monday showed the incumbent mayor of Kiev well in the lead in an election whose candidates included former heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko.

With results counted from about 15 percent of the precincts, Leonid Chernovetsky had 33 percent of the vote, followed by Oleksandr Turchynov and Klitschko, each with 18 percent. (AP)

Drunk Horseman Detained

Moscow police have detained an amateur equestrian who led a stolen horse on a drunken rampage through central Moscow over the weekend, RIA-Novosti reported.

The rider has admitted to police that he was intoxicated when he seized control of an unattended horse near Pushkin Square at about 1 a.m. Sunday, the report said. The startled animal bucked and plunged its hooves through two foreign-made cars, police said. From there, they galloped along Strastnoi Bulvar, where the horse broke a Peugeot's headlights. The pair was detained at the end of the street. Ownership of the horse has not yet been determined. (MT)