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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Gorbachev Back in Russia

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev returned to Russia on Saturday after undergoing surgery in Germany for a blocked artery in the neck, his aide Vladimir Polyakov said.

Gorbachev, 75, was released from Munich's Grosshadern Hospital on Nov. 29 after undergoing surgery on his carotid artery on Nov. 21.

Interfax quoted Gorbachev as saying he felt "quite well" and that he planned to visit a bathhouse soon if doctors permitted, adding that he would be very careful. He said he would stay at home more and would travel and work less than he had in the past. (AP)

Rogozin's Bold Plans

The Congress of Russian Communities intends to become a powerful force of political opposition by uniting nationalist groups and contesting the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, Dmitry Rogozin, a leader of the organization, said Saturday.

"If the authorities won't work with us, they won't solve a single problem," Rogozin told reporters during a CRC congress, Interfax reported. "If they hinder our representatives from participating in free elections, including the presidential ballot, this will cause problems for them," said Rogozin, who previously headed the Rodina party. (MT)

Left-Wingers Unite

State Duma Deputy Gennady Gudkov, leader of the People's Party, said Saturday that the upcoming regional parliamentary elections in March 2007 would spur the unification process begun by five social-democratic parties, Interfax reported.

"The main thing today is the unification process on the left, social-democratic flank," Gudkov said at the People's Party congress in the Moscow region.

The five parties -- the People's Party, Rebirth of Russia, Patriots of Russia, the Social Justice Party and the Social Democratic Party -- have agreed to create a coordination council, Gudkov said. (MT)

Matviyenko Still Unaligned

St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko announced Saturday that she had no plans to join a political party, Interfax reported.

"A head of the executive branch should ensure equal conditions for all parties that participate in elections so that all parties have equal access, and so that the rights of voters are observed," Matviyenko said.

The governor said she had no intention of heading the United Russia party list in upcoming elections to the regional parliament. (MT)

20 Detained in Minsk

MINSK -- Police detained more than 20 demonstrators who rallied Sunday to demand freedom for an opposition leader imprisoned for months, rights activists said.

About 50 opposition protesters gathered on Minsk's central square to urge the authorities to free Alexander Kozulin, who was arrested in March after leading a protest march following presidential elections in which he was one of four candidates.

Several minutes after the protest started, riot police disbanded the demonstrators, beating them with truncheons and rounding up more than 20, the Vyasna rights center said. (AP)

Coup Attempt in Armenia?

Armenian authorities on Sunday detained the head of a public organization accused of plotting a coup attempt, officials and activists said.

Zhirair Sefilian, a citizen of Lebanon who heads For Protection of Liberated Territories, is facing deportation on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, said Armen Agaian, a leading member of Sefilian's group. Agaian rejected the charges.

Sefilian is a veteran of the 1988-1994 war in the disputed enclave of Nagorny Karabakh. (AP)

FSB Contest Winners

The Federal Security Service on Friday announced the winners of a contest for the best film, book, newspaper article and theatrical performance related to the agency or its successor, the KGB.

Actors Yevgeny Mironov and Alexander Baluyev, as well as singer Nikolai Rastorguyev, were among the winners, Interfax reported. The contest attracted some 250 entries, including books, movies, radio broadcasts and news articles, the FSB press office said. (MT)