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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Russian Nationalist Wins Poll In Crimea

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea -- Russian nationalist Yury Meshkov celebrated a landslide victory in Crimea's presidential elections Monday, but he played down fears that the result would lead Russia and Ukraine into confrontation. ""All this talk comparing us to Karabakh, where does it come from?"" Meshkov asked during a press conference, referring to the Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan that has been plagued by a vicious interethnic war. ""We have nothing in common. Nothing,"" he said. Meshkov, 48, ran on a platform of monetary if not political union with Russia and won 73 percent of Sunday's vote. Nikolai Bagrov, who represented a less confrontational approach to Kiev, took only 23.5 percent of the vote. The nationalist victory, expected for weeks, was welcomed calmly in the Crimean capital. Except for a crowd of about 50 people who gathered on Victory Square outside the Supreme Soviet, the city went about its business as usual. A pro-Meshkov rally was planned for Tuesday.

Kyrgyz Reformer Triumphs In Referendum Landslide

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akayev won a resounding referendum victory in this former Soviet republic, endorsing his plan for faster reforms. Officials said Akayev, 49, a former mathematics professor, gained 96 percent of the vote, giving him the mandate to push through reforms despite objections from an ex-Communist parliament. ""These are preliminary figures but our president has won a great victory,"" Abdrisayev Baktybek, an official in the president's office, said. The official turnout was 95.3 percent of the 2.2 million electorate scattered through this Central Asian state on China's mountainous northwest frontier. Ballots posed the question whether Akayev should be allowed to finish a term ending in 1996, by which time he hopes this poor state will be on its way to becoming ""Asia's Switzerland."" A remote nation on China's northwest frontier, Kyrgyzstan became a state in 1991 when it gained independence from the former Soviet Union.

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