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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Chelyabinsk Speaker Dies

The speaker of the Chelyabinsk regional parliament, Viktor Davydov, died of acute heart failure in his home Sunday night, Kommersant reported. Relatives called emergency services, but Davydov died before any ambulances arrived.

Davydov had just been appointed to head the region's branch of United Russia after Federation Council member Vladislav Zhiganov resigned from the post on June 16. (MT)

Voronezh Politician Dead

Voronezh regional Duma Speaker Yury Titov died Sunday afternoon in a traffic accident near the town of Stary Oskol in the Belgorod region, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.

Titov, who would have turned 56 the next day, headed the Voronezh branch of United Russia since March 2002 and was elected speaker of the Voronezh Duma last March.

Titov, who was going to the Belgorod region on a business trip, died when the car he was traveling in skidded off the road. Titov was killed instantly, and the driver, Regional Duma Deputy Yaroslav Shevel, was severely injured. A criminal investigation was opened, the paper reported. (MT)

Oil Spill Cost $3.5M

Clearing up the oil spill from a train that derailed in the Tver region last Wednesday will cost the regional administration 100 million rubles ($3.5 million), Tver Governor Dmitry Zelenin said Monday, Interfax reported.

Regional officials have said they would sue Russian Railways Co. over the spill, which polluted the Vazuza, a tributary of the Volga River, with about 700 tons of heavy oil fuel.

By Monday, emergency situations workers had almost completed clearing the Vazuza of the oil slick and were ready to start clearing the banks of the Volga, Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Yury Vorobyov said, Interfax reported. (MT)

Estonia Ratifies Treaty

TALLINN, Estonia -- Estonian lawmakers ratified a long-awaited border treaty with Russia on Monday but only after adding a reference to the Soviet occupation of the country in a preamble.

The amendment was included despite warnings from Moscow not to add any declarations that would be unacceptable to the Russian side.

Lawmakers in the 101-seat parliament ratified the treaty in a 78-4 vote. Nineteen lawmakers did not take part in the vote. (AP)

Karabakh Elections

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Pro-government parties secured the majority of seats in parliamentary elections in the ethnic Armenian-controlled enclave of Nagornny Karabakh, election officials said Monday.

The Democratic Party of Artsakh, which supports the government of President Arkady Gukasian, won 12 out of 33 seats in the legislature, while another pro-government party, Free Motherland, got 10 seats in Sunday's vote, said Election Commission chief Sergei Nasibian.

The opposition bloc, called Dashnaktsutyun-Movement 88, obtained three seats. Independent candidates secured eight seats.

Seventy-eight percent of some 90,000 eligible voters cast their ballots in the election, Nasibian said. (AP)

Russia Praises Lebanon Vote

Russia on Monday praised the outcome of Lebanese parliamentary elections, won by the anti-Syrian opposition, and called on the new government to work for unity after the divisions and renewed sectarian tensions of recent months.

Syria, whose long domination of its tiny neighbor was further broken by the opposition victory, is a traditional Soviet-era ally of Moscow.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said in statement that a key task for the new authorities was to "produce a national consensus on the most important political and economic problems." He said the government should also develop "good neighborly and equal" relations with Syria, adapting ties to the new reality. (AP)

Cardinal Comes to Moscow

VATICAN CITY -- The highest-ranking Vatican official to visit Russia since the start of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy began a mission to Moscow on Monday to test the waters for improving ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.

In an unexpected announcement, the Vatican said Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Benedict's point man for relations with other Christians, would spend four days in Moscow.

The statement said that Kasper, a German like Benedict, had gone to "continue the dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate" begun when the new pope was inaugurated. (Reuters)