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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lenin Basher Punished

MOSCOW () -- A 22-year-old man was sentenced to four years in prison and fined 75 million rubles (about $35,000) Monday for blowing up a bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin, a news agency reported.

A court in Vladikavkaz, the capital of Russia's strife-torn North Ossetia province, found Vladimir Banin guilty of vandalism for destroying the nearly 50-year-old monument in the center of the city, Interfax said.

Banin's action last Dec. 5 came one day before President Boris Yeltsin's visit to the city and was blamed at the time on local nationalists. Banin's real motive remained unclear.