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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

35 Tajik Troops Freed

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Thirty-five government troops captured last fall in eastern Tajikistan were freed by rebel forces Tuesday, according to a government spokesman.


They were released as part of a truce signed last month by President Emomali Rakhmonov and the opposition leader Said Abdullo Nuri, Interfax reported.


Another 20 government troops still held by the opposition in the eastern town of Garm are to be freed soon, Interfax said, citing unidentified sources. The government, meanwhile, freed six opposition supporters Saturday.





estern Siberia.


Pro-Yeltsin governors were re-elected in only two regions -- Khabarovsk, in the Far East, and Astrakhan, in southern Russia -- with the remaining four elections going to a second round.


Regional governors automatically qualify for seats in the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament.


The head of the Kremlin's campaign in the regions put a positive spin on the results Monday. The opposition is "assuredly losing," the contest, Deputy Chief of the Presidential Administration Alexander Kazakov told reporters.


Whatever their party affiliations, most of the new governors were people the Kremlin can do business with, Kazakov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "With the exception of Yury Lodkin, elected governor in Bryansk region, these are reliable people who have experience of managerial work," he said.


However, while the Kremlin has hitherto been able to use its economic influence to bring governors into line, Sunday's polls have brought to power a brace of governors who are unlikely to respond to such coercion.


"The problem with yesterday's elections is that they were won by people who are not particularly pragmatic," said Vyacheslav Nikonov, a Yeltsin campaign advisor, in an interview Monday.


The latest returns come on top of an electoral season in which fewer than half of the local ballots have gone in favor of the incumbent.


But so far the Kremlin has professed itself confident that the newly-elected governors will cooperate with the center, whatever their political affiliation.


According to Alexander Kinsburgsky, an analyst with the Vox Populi polling organization, that phenomenon has already been seen in the Kursk region, where Alexander Rutskoi was elected governor on Oct. 20.


Previously, Rutskoi has been outspoken in his criticism of the Yeltsin administration. But once installed as governor, he declared himself ready to cooperate with the Kremlin. "Without that, it is impossible to run a region," he was reported as saying.


But the latest results show that the balance of power between the center and the regions is shifting outwards.


Originally, most of the members of the 178-seat Federation Council were appointed by presidential decree. From now on, all will be elected, making the upper chamber less compliant. "There are people sitting in the Federation Council now who cannot be sacked by the president, and that is very important," said Nikonov.