News in Brief

'McCain Better for Kremlin'



A victory by Senator John McCain in the U.S. presidential election might help the Kremlin divert attention from domestic social issues, opposition politician Boris Nemtsov said as Americans voted Tuesday.

"The biggest enemy for Putin's Kremlin is the United States," Nemtsov said. "For the Kremlin it will be better if McCain wins, to perceive that we now have a real enemy."

Phone calls to the Russian government for a reaction were not answered. Government offices were closed for the People's Unity Day holiday.

Nemtsov said that he personally supported Senator Barack Obama's candidacy. (Bloomberg)




Policemen Burn Man Alive



Three Saratov policemen assaulted a man to force him to confess to stealing some gold, then doused him in gasoline and burned him to death, NTV television reported.

Prosecutors have charged the three officers with the murder of Armen Gasparyan, the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

NTV said Saturday that the three policemen had been drinking when they stopped Gasparyan in the street near his home. They beat him, then drove to their police station where they continued to attack him, trying to force him to confess to theft. They called a taxi and drove Gasparyan to a spot outside the city limits. "They then poured gasoline over him and set him on fire," Anton Pakhomov, a spokesman for the local prosecutor's office, told NTV. The taxi driver witnessed the policemen setting fire to Gasparyan and raised the alarm. (Reuters)




Bomb Injures 7 Policemen



A homemade, radio-controlled bomb exploded and injured seven police officers in Ingushetia, the Interior Ministry said.

The policemen had been responding to a smaller blast in the courtyard of a private home early Sunday. None of the residents was hurt. (AP)




Stalin's Grandson Dies



Josef Alliluyev, a grandson of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, has died in Moscow. He was 63.

The death on Sunday was reported on state television channels and independent Ekho Moskvy radio, but no cause of death or other details were given.

Alliluyev, a cardiologist, was the first child of Stalin's daughter, Svetlana. He is said to have been the only one of Stalin's grandchildren to have known his famous grandfather. Alliluyev was almost 8 years old when Stalin died in March 1953. Channel One television on Sunday broadcast a portion of a rare interview with Alliluyev in which he described strained relations with his mother, who fled the Soviet Union in 1967 and now lives in the United States. (AP)




Nashi Criticizes U.S.



About 15,000 members of the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi have staged an anti-American protest near the U.S. Embassy.

Some held lit jack-o'-lanterns for what they called the Helloween American Show, with Halloween intentionally misspelled.

On each pumpkin was written the name of someone who supposedly died as a result of conflicts allegedly unleashed by the United States. Some of the names appeared to be those of South Ossetians. (AP)




Georgia Confirms Premier



TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgia's parliament has endorsed career diplomat Grigol Mgaloblishvili as prime minister in a step billed by President Mikheil Saakashvili as the start of a reform drive.

The 150-seat parliament, dominated by Saakashvili loyalists, voted 98 to 11 on Saturday to elect Mgaloblishvili, Georgia's former ambassador to Turkey.

Only four ministers in Mgaloblishvili's Cabinet are different to those of his predecessor, and the opposition questioned why Defense Minister David Kezerashvili kept his job after the August war with Russia. (Reuters)




Transdnestr Bars Voronin



CHISINAU, Moldova -- Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has been turned away from the country's separatist Transdnestr region on the orders of its leader, Igor Smirnov, further dampening reconciliation hopes.

Voronin, who was on his way to the consecration of a church in his home village Corjova, held talks in April with Smirnov to try to resolve the separatist rebellion. The meeting was their first in seven years, and attempts to hold a second meeting have failed. (Reuters)




For the Record



About 1,000 people marched through Minsk on Sunday to remember the victims of Stalinist purges and call for an end to repression in Belarus. (AP)

The defense lawyer for Viktor Bout, suspected of being one of the world's biggest arms dealers, told a Thai court on Tuesday that his client had been illegally detained and should be released. (AP)

An Israeli court ruled Monday that Russian-Israeli tycoon Arkady Gaydamak must post a $5 million bond if he wishes to travel abroad, citing fears he might seek to flee a police investigation into suspicions of laundering $50 million. Gaydamak's office said he was "stunned" but would post the money if he wanted to travel. (AP)