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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

General's Widow Murdered

A general's widow was murdered during a robbery in Moscow on Friday, Interfax reported.

The 68-year-old woman was stabbed twice in the chest and beaten. The unidentified general's Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner and two gold medals were stolen in the attack.

A law enforcement source said police had a suspect in the case. (MT)

Shaimiyev Backs Monopoly

Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev has thrown his weight behind the introduction of a state alcohol monopoly, Interfax reported Friday.

"It would be much simpler to keep close track of all alcohol that is produced and sold and of the excise fees received for it, because there aren't that many companies in this country that produce alcohol," Shaimiyev said. (MT)

Pasternak's Grave Vandalized

Unidentified vandals damaged the grave of poet and novelist Boris Pasternak at a cemetery outside Moscow, television networks reported Friday.

The vandals set fire to plastic wreaths they found at the cemetery and burned them on top of the gravestone.

Workers at the graveyard in Peredelkino said the damage could not be repaired until spring. (AP)

160 NGOs Are Registered

Human rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have resumed work in Russia, along with most of the other foreign nongovernmental organizations forced to suspend operations three weeks ago.

The Justice Ministry's Federal Registration Service on its web site Friday published a list of about 160 NGOs now on the official register, including the two human rights groups. Another 30 foreign organizations' applications were still pending.

The decision to speed up the registration process appeared to be a response to strong international concerns. (AP)

Russia Replies to Polish Jets

Russia has delivered anti-aircraft systems to Belarus to counter the acquisition of F-16 fighter jets by Poland, Itar-Tass reported Friday, citing an official from the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Russia sent four S-300 anti-aircraft systems to Belarus, where they have already been installed, the official said. It was not possible to receive comment from the Defense Ministry.

"The headquarters of the CIS air defense alliance has long kept a close eye on NATO's steps to widen its possibilities in Poland and the Baltic states," the official said. (AP)

Agency Backtracks on Borat

The Federal Agency for Culture and Cinematography has reversed its position on the movie "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," saying it had not banned the film, but merely recommended that it not be distributed, RIA-Novosti reported last Thursday.

The agency told The Moscow Times on Wednesday that it had refused permission for the film to be shown in theaters because it might be "offensive to certain nationalities and religions."

Yury Vasyuchkov, head of the agency's department that licenses movies for distribution, told RIA-Novosti that Twentieth Century Fox, the makers of the film, had not asked for permission to distribute it. (MT)

Yanukovych Lashes Out

KIEV -- Ukraine's prime minister marked his first 100 days in power on Friday by accusing the post-Orange Revolution governments of pushing the country to the verge of crisis.

"After a year and a half in power, the government has not provided positive results," Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych said of his political rivals. "Quite the contrary, the ideology of social populism has totally drained the economy and caused a number of serious problems." (AP)

Our Ukraine in Opposition

KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's political party on Saturday confirmed its plan to move into opposition, ignoring the president's urgings against such a move.

"Our Ukraine is a political force that opposes the current government … and is not responsible for its policy," said Roman Bezsmertny, the party's executive leader. (AP)

Constitution Needs Work

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Felix Kulov said Friday that the new constitution voted in after a weeklong opposition rally was adopted under pressure and needed clarification.

"Fear and pressure are bad assistants when it comes to making decisions," Kulov said during talks with Markus Mueller, an envoy from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. "Many matters need clarification." (AP)

5 Islamist Suspects Detained

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Tajik authorities have detained five suspected members of a banned Islamic group, officials said Friday.

An Interior Ministry official said that five men, arrested Wednesday in the northern town of Isfara, were members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The IMU, an al-Qaida-linked group, has been blamed for bombings and armed incursions across Central Asia.

Those arrested were involved in plotting an attack on local officials in September, the official said. (AP)

Air Patrols Will Continue

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer assured the Baltic states on Friday that the rotating air-policing mission would continue after 2007, when the current program is set to end.

NATO jets have been patrolling the skies over Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia since they joined the alliance in 2004.

"I don't know of any Baltic airspace; I only know about allied airspace. That's more than just a nuance," de Hoop Scheffer told reporters after meeting with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus. (AP)

Nazarbayev Rejects Advice

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Friday that his country had had enough of foreign advice and should not "blindly copy" Western models of democracy.

It was not clear what prompted his speech, although it came during the same week that Kyrgyzstan changed its constitution to slash its president's powers, and ahead of a likely rejection of Kazakhstan's bid to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. (AP)