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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Gusinsky Gets Bail

The Associated Press

MADRID, Spain A Spanish judge on Friday ordered Vladimir Gusinsky freed on $5.5 million bail but placed him under house arrest pending a decision on whether Spain will extradite him to face fraud charges in Russia.

Judge Baltasar Garzon made the decision after a 15-minute hearing at which Gusinky appeared with his lawyers.

Gusinsky, 48, was arrested last week at a villa he owns in southern Spain on a warrant issued by Moscow. As of Friday afternoon he had not yet posted bail. Gusinskys lawyers were not available for comment as to when he might do so.

Garzon set strict conditions for Gusinskys house arrest, saying police must be posted both outside and inside his villa in the southern town of San Roque in Cadiz province.

Gusinsky must also ask the judge and police for permission if he wants to leave the house to run an errand, and be accompanied by police if he is allowed out. Also, any vehicle entering or leaving the premises must be searched by police.

In requesting bail, Gusinskys lawyers said the mogul did not present a risk of fleeing the country because his wife and children live in the villa.




Diplomat Rehabilitated

The Associated Press

Russia officially acknowledged Friday that Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who was arrested by the Soviets after helping tens of thousands of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Hungary, was killed by Soviet authorities for political reasons.

The two-page statement from the Prosecutor Generals Office was the latest step forward in the painful process of clarifying the circumstances of Wallenbergs mysterious disappearance more than half a century ago.

According to the statement, the prosecutors office said it had concluded that Wallenberg and his driver "were repressed by Soviet authorities." It said they had been arrested without grounds as "socially dangerous" individuals and deprived of their freedom.

Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov signed a verdict posthumously rehabilitating Wallenberg and his driver, Vilmos Langfelder, as "victims of political repression," the statement said.

However, the circumstances of their death remained unclear, with the statement saying only they had died in Soviet prisons.

A separate Swedish-Russian investigative commission is scheduled to issue its final report in Stockholm on Jan. 12.




Tatar Poll in March

The Moscow Times

The Tatarstan parliament decided Friday to hold elections for the republics next president on March 25, Interfax reported.

Incumbent Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev said he would decide whether to run for re-election shortly after New Years.

Shaimiyev has already served two presidential terms, the first starting in 1991. Tatarstans Constitution does not impose a limit on presidential terms.

The parliament also approved an amendment to a local election law Friday, allowing candidates who do not speak the Tartar language to run for the presidency, Interfax said.




Security Pact Ratified

The Associated Press

The State Duma on Friday ratified an agreement with the United States on security guarantees for U.S. satellite launches in Russia. The agreement, signed in January, contains safeguards against U.S. technology being stolen as American satellites are prepared for launch in Russia.

The agreement is intended to allay Western companies fears about industrial espionage. The satellites are usually kept in sterile rooms near launch sites for several weeks as final checks are made and fuel cells filled.

The State Duma approved the agreement 298-8. The agreement is now subject to approval by the upper house, the Federation Council, which is expected to pass it.




Crime Fighter Named

The Moscow Times

Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo has named his chief economic crime fighter to run a new national law enforcement powerhouse that will be independent from local authorities.

Rushailo on Thursday installed the head of his ministrys economic crime committee, Valery Guryev, to run the Federal Criminal Police Committee.

The committee, which will have command over numerous Interior Ministry departments and their regional branches, is intended to help fight organized crime and corruption across the country.

"Independence from regional governors will make our work more effective," said an officer from the organized crime department, speaking Friday by telephone.




NATO Plans Office

The Associated Press

NATO plans to reopen its information office in Russia that was closed following the alliances bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.

Vladimir Ashurov did not say exactly when the office would reopen but that only technical issues remained to be resolved such as finding office space. It is expected to open again sometime in 2001.




Stalin Turns 121

Reuters

GORI, Georgia Hundreds of Georgians celebrated the 121st anniversary of the birth of Josef Stalin on Thursday in one of the few places where the late Soviet dictator is still openly revered his hometown.

About 500 people gathered outside the colonnaded museum erected in his honor in Gori, a small town some 65 kilometers west of Tbilisi where the future revolutionary was born on Dec. 21, 1879.