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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bukovsky Vows Probe of FSB, KGB

MTBukovsky, center, speaking to reporters Wednesday, a day after returning to Russia for the first time in 15 years.
A day after arriving in Russia for the first time in 15 years, Soviet dissident and presidential candidate Vladimir Bukovsky said Wednesday that if elected, he would order the investigation of possible crimes committed by Soviet and Russian security agencies.

Short-breathed and occasionally wiping sweat from his brow, Bukovsky -- who spent more than 12 years in Soviet camps and psychiatric hospitals from the age of 16 -- said at a news conference that he would initiate an investigation of "all the crimes of the Soviet regime and its heirs" if he is elected president in March.

Among those to be investigated, Bukovsky said, would be all the heads of the KGB and one of its Russian successors, the Federal Security Service, which was led by President Vladimir Putin in the late 1990s.

"I am giving you a chance, and I fear it could be the last one," Bukovsky said after outlining his platform.

In May, Bukovsky, 65, declared his intention to run for president in what will be the most unusual candidacy in the race, assuming he succeeds in getting his name on the ballot.

He was deported from the Soviet Union in 1976 for his dissident activities and has since lived almost exclusively in Britain, where he is a citizen. In August he received his first valid Russian passport since 1997, and he arrived in his native country Tuesday for the first time since 1992.

Analysts say that even if Bukovsky gets on the ballot, neither he -- nor any other opposition candidate -- has a chance of defeating a Kremlin-backed candidate. But Bukovsky tried to put a positive spin on his candidacy Wednesday, saying his chances of victory were "rather good" based on "independent public opinion polls" on "a number of web sites." He did not specify which polls or web sites.

Turning to foreign policy, Bukovsky said he would abandon the country's traditional antagonism toward the West and the notion of Russia's "sphere influence," as well as withdraw federal military forces from Chechnya.

He also called for a complete scrapping and rebuilding of all law enforcement structures; full independence of the judiciary and a broadening of its powers; military reform; and assistance for small and medium-sized businesses.

Bukovsky's platform was contained in an eight-page document titled "Russia on the Chekists' Hook," referring to the nickname for officers of Soviet security agencies.

Bukovsky appeared to be tired, and his hands trembled as he turned the pages.