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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ryzhkov, Ligachev will testify

Mikhail Gorbachev has refused to testify at the Constitutional Court, but both his former prime minister and a top Politburo member will appear, according to Russian newspaper reports this week.

Nikolai Ryzhkov, the former Soviet premier, and Yegor Ligachev, once the party's ideology chief, told Pravda that they would comply with a request from Russia's highest court for their testimony at the ongoing Communist Party trial. Gorbachev, who learned of his invitation while on a trip to Germany this week, declined, citing the trial as a "political game", his press service reported.

The three men have been called on to clear up questions left unanswered by the 30 some witnesses who testified this summer, according to court members.

Also invited are: Ivan Polozkov, the former secretary of the Russian Communist Party; Vadim Bakatin, the former interior minister and Central Committee member; Arkady Volsky, a former Central Committee member.

According to court regulations, witnesses who refuse to appear can be fined only 100 rubles. But Nikolai Vitruk, the court's deputy chairman, said that the court might have to abort the trial if Gorbachev refuses to appear and his testimony is needed.