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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Grozny Mayor Quits

The Associated Press

NAZRAN, Ingushetia — The Kremlin-backed mayor of Grozny, Bislan Gantamirov, announced his resignation Thursday, RTR television reported.

Gantamirov gave no reason for quitting, though he and Akhmed Kadyrov, head of the Kremlin-appointed Chechen administration, have long been at odds.

Meanwhile, officials leading the war in Chechnya signaled that the goal of liquidating Chechen rebel leaders had been replaced by the aim of arresting them and bringing them to trial.

"First of all, we must stick to existing laws," Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Federal Security Service, said in an interview published Thursday in five newspapers. "The tasks are to detain, arrest and bring to court those who committed crimes."

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who also took part in the interview, said that federal authorities had managed to bring down combat casualties through better organization and coordination on the ground. However, he said that noncombat casualties among troops were growing — comprising one-fifth of all troop deaths. "Disorderliness, laxity — both drunken and due to frivolity," he said.

On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky announced official troop casualty numbers for the 20-month-old war in the rebel region: 3,096 dead and 9,187 wounded. Human rights groups and some soldiers contend that the toll is much higher.

Hunt for New Premier


KIEV — President Leonid Kuchma's efforts to defuse the political crisis in Ukraine faltered Thursday when parliamentary leaders failed to agree on a candidate to replace ousted Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko.

Petro Symonenko, leader of the powerful Communist Party faction whose no-confidence vote ditched Yushchenko last month, said he could not back any of Kuchma's candidates, heralding what could be a long struggle over the succession. "We won't support them because they will continue with Yushchenko's policies," Symonenko told reporters as he emerged from the hourlong meeting with Kuchma and other party leaders.

Olexander Volkov, head of the minor pro-Kuchma Democratic Union party, said he believed a candidate might be found Friday. "The president instructed us to decide on a candidate who could be proposed to him tomorrow," he said.

Itogi Eyes Time

The Moscow Times

The Itogi political weekly plans to shift its coverage to popular science with the help of Time, the U.S. news magazine, media reported Thursday.

Itogi lost its partnership with Newsweek, Time's U.S. rival, in an ownership shuffle last month that saw control of the magazine switch from the Media-MOST media holding to state-dominated Gazprom-Media and its allies.

Dmitry Biryukov, director of Itogi's publisher Sem Dnei, said he hopes to reach a deal with Time for rights to reprint its content, reported.

He said Itogi mainly wanted to purchase popular science stories.

Ivanov Flies to U.S.

The Associated Press

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov left Thursday evening for the United States for meetings with U.S. President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other American officials.

Strategic stability, regional security and economic ties will be the focus of talks, according to a Foreign Ministry statement. Ivanov and Powell have three meetings scheduled for Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told ORT television. Ivanov is also to meet with Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.