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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Painting Returned

MOSCOW (AP) -- A 19th-century Russian painting was returned to a Moscow museum Friday after a dispute between British art collectors and Russian officials.

"In the Hayfield," painted around 1827 by Alexei Venetsianov, was installed at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in a ceremony attended by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi and British Embassy representatives.

A British citizen of Russian descent had willed the painting to the Tretyakov, but after his death in 1997 Britain's National Gallery objected to its export to Russia. In 2000, the Culture Ministry launched legal action to obtain an export license for the painting, and finally received one last November. The painting had been in storage in the Russian Embassy for more than three years, Itar-Tass reported.

Seleznyov in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) -- Russia should strengthen its presence in Central Asia in light of increased U.S. activity in a region, Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said Friday during a visit to the region.

After 2 1/2 hours of talks with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov in the Tajik capital, Seleznyov urged closer cooperation between Russia and Tajikistan.

"Geopolitically these [Central Asian] countries belong more to the sphere of Russian interests," Seleznyov said at a news conference.

Hearings Boycott

MOSCOW (AP) -- Four protesters detained after organizing a rally in support of a Russian military journalist convicted of treason said Friday that they will boycott their own court hearings.

"Those detained believe they did not violate anything, and therefore the attempt to bring them to trial is unsubstantiated," the four said in a statement.

The four protesters were among about 20 people at a rally in support of Grigory Pasko on Monday at Lubyanskaya Ploshchad.

Attacker Identified

MOSCOW (MT) -- Renowned satirist Mikhail Zhvanetsky has identified one of his alleged attackers among a gang of car thieves detained by police, Interfax reported Friday.

On Jan. 5, Zhvanetsky was attacked near his dacha in Serebryany Bor by a group of men who stole his new Mercedes sports utility vehicle, $600 in cash and a suitcase containing his notes. According to media reports, he suffered minor injures. On Thursday, Moscow police detained five suspects, all natives of Ingushetia, in southern Moscow and linked them to 10 car thefts since Oct. 2001, Interfax reported.

Anti-Terrorism Decree

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to take measures to freeze terrorist assets, intercept weapons supplies to terrorists and take other steps in line with a UN anti-terrorism resolution approved in September, his office said Friday.

The decree, released by the presidential press service, says people responsible for terrorist acts outside Russia must be considered criminals under Russian law.

New Labor Party

MOSCOW (MT) -- A founding congress was held Saturday for the Rossiskaya Partiya Truda, or the Russian Labor Party. Duma Deputy Oleg Shein was elected chairman, and union leader Sergei Khramov was elected chairman of the party's federal council, Interfax reported.