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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Rybkin Co-Heads Party

MOSCOW (MT) -- Former Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin will co-chair the pro-Boris Berezovsky wing of the Liberal Russia party along with Berezovsky, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Berezovsky will be responsible for party "strategy," while he will take on the "tactical" side.

He said he will be Liberal Russia's "crisis solver."

The decision to appoint Rybkin as a party co-chairman was made during a meeting of pro-Berezovsky party members on July 4, Kommersant reported.

Last month, pro-Berezovsky members elected Mikhail Kodanev as a co-chairman.

Kodanev, however, was detained shortly afterward in an investigation into the murder of State Duma Deputy Sergei Yushenkov, a co-chairman of the wing of Liberal Russia opposed to Berezovsky.

MUR Demotions

MOSCOW (MT) -- Several Moscow police officers in the elite criminal investigations directorate, or MUR, have been demoted as internal affairs investigates whether officers in the police unit ran an extortion ring, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Igor Gubanov, a senior MUR official, and several other officers will be reassigned to lower-ranking posts in other, less-prestigious police units after they failed to pass qualification tests given to MUR's 780 officers following the arrests of their colleagues late last month, the newspaper said.

Six MUR officers and a lieutenant general in the Emergency Situations Ministry have been arrested and charged with fabricating evidence in order to blackmail victims and extorting protection fees from Moscow businesses.

The suspects remain in custody.

Attack on Deputy

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Unknown assailants opened fire on the house of a State Duma deputy early Tuesday and left explosives outside, Rostov police said. No injuries were reported.

A statement from the Rostov-on-Don police department did not specify whether Stepan Shorshorov, a deputy with the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, was at home when the attack occurred.

After being called to the scene by neighbors, police found about 30 shell casings around the house and a bag containing sticks of dynamite, the statement said.

There was no immediate comment on possible motives for Tuesday's attack.

Sniffer Cat on Prowl

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Move over bomb-sniffing dogs, here comes Rusik, the fish-sniffing cat!

Police battling fish smugglers have deployed a cat to sniff out contraband, including the Caspian Sea sturgeon that produce Russia's world-famous caviar.

A police control post in the southern Stavropol region adopted Rusik one year ago and he now helps officers conduct spot checks on vehicles, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday.

The cat had distinguished himself with an outstanding nose for fish.

"The cat finds it in any hiding place," a police spokesman in Stavropol was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying.

He said Rusik was fed on confiscated fish.