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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Police Defend Actions



OMON riot police did not use excessive force during the Dissenters' Marches in Moscow and St. Petersburg over the weekend, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

Riot police acted "correctly, professionally and in accordance with the law," Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Sukhodolsky said, Interfax reported.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday on Russia Today television: "I think some over-reaction really took place, really took place, but their main role was to ensure law and order on the streets."

The Federal Security Service, meanwhile, issued a summons to opposition leader Garry Kasparov over whether he illegally called for extremist actions in a radio interview and in print ahead of the demonstrations, Kasparov's web site reported Tuesday. (MT)




U.S. Defense Secretary's Visit



U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is to visit Moscow next week amid a dispute over Pentagon plans for a missile defense shield on Russia's borders, Security Council chief Igor Ivanov said Tuesday.

Gates will arrive in Moscow on Monday, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice might visit in May, Ivanov said at a news conference. (Reuters)




Space Tourist Delayed



U.S. space tourist Charles Simonyi and two fellow crew members will return to Earth a day later than planned because of boggy ground at the landing site, a spokesman for Russian Mission Control said Tuesday.

The spokesman said spring rain had softened the ground, forcing Mission Control to move slightly the designated landing spot in Kazakhstan and push re-entry back by a day. The capsule carrying the three men will land on the Kazakh steppe on Saturday. (Reuters)




1,000 Protest in Tbilisi



TBILISI, Georgia -- More than 1,000 pensioners and war veterans rallied in the center of the Georgian capital Tuesday, protesting utility price rises and other government policies.

Hundreds of elderly people gathered in front of the mayor's office decrying the authorities' move earlier this year to cut utilities subsidies to elderly people and to raise transport prices.

Police largely stayed away from the demonstrators and intervened only to prevent them from blocking a main street. (AP)




For the Record



Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Tuesday added his voice to Russia's resentment of purported U.S. meddling in the country's politics, but also expressed concern about media freedom. "A sovereign state cannot live using patterns imposed on it," Gorbachev said, Interfax reported. (AP)

Human rights campaigners Tuesday urged the EU to continue sanctions on Uzbekistan, accusing the government of maintaining a crackdown on opponents since the bloody suppression of protests two years ago. They expressed concern that EU members could put economic concerns ahead of human rights when their foreign ministers meet May 14 to discuss the future of sanctions. (AP)