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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Blogger Investigated

A blogger in the Komi republic is being investigated on suspicion of making crude comments about police officers on, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Syktyvkar prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into blogger Savva Terentyev for a February post he made on the blog of local journalist Boris Suranov describing how police searched the offices of Suranov's newspaper, Ziryanskaya Zhizhn, Kommersant said.

If charged and convicted with disseminating hate speech, Terentyev could face up to four years in prison. (MT)

Ekho Moskvy Probe

Moscow city prosecutors have confiscated materials from Ekho Moskvy connected to a recent interview on the radio station with Eduard Limonov, leader of the unregistered National Bolshevik Party, Gazeta reported.

The Presnensky district prosecutor's office is investigating whether the station broke any laws by airing the interview Monday with Limonov, a Kremlin critic whom prosecutors have accused of being an extremist.

Station editor Alexei Venediktov told Gazeta that electronic and printed transcripts of the interview had been sent to investigators. (MT)

Shchuchye Deal Near

WASHINGTON -- The United States and Russia have agreed on a formula for finishing an installation in remote southwestern Siberia that will destroy almost 2 million nerve gas weapons, a senior U.S. defense official said Wednesday.

Negotiations have been difficult, the official, Joseph Benkert, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee, but the Shchuchye project is finally completely financed at almost $1.04 billion, and Russia has agreed to work openly and efficiently.

"After detailed negotiations," Benkert said, "we are now poised to sign an agreement with Russia, which will allow us to pull the Shchuchye project across the goal line within the U.S. budget." (AP)

Unfit for Democratic Club

BRUSSELS -- Russia and Iraq are unfit to join a club of democracies founded at the United States' initiative to promote political freedom, an international panel of experts will say next week.

The advisory committee will recommend that 100 governments be invited to a November ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies in Bamako, Mali. A further 18 should be admitted as observers due to progress toward democratic norms, but 54 should be rejected, a statement said.

"The erosion of rights in Russia, the continuing inability to establish an accountable state in Iraq, and military takeovers in Thailand and Fiji should disqualify each of them from participation," the statement said.

The Community of Democracies was created at the initiative of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and held its first ministerial meeting in Warsaw in 2000. (Reuters)

Azeri Kills His Wife With Ax

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- An Azeri woman died after her estranged husband hit her with an ax while handing her a bouquet of flowers at their divorce proceedings in court, officials said.

Rasim Amiraslanov smuggled the ax into the Baku court for the hearing on how to divide property as part of their divorce.

"Amiraslanov struck his wife with an ax, hitting her very hard," a spokesman for the local prosecutors' office said. "The woman was immediately hospitalized, but it was not possible to save her." (Reuters)

For the Record

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has set up a working group to streamline the ministry, and it has already found problems with two departments: information and public relations, and propaganda and agitation, Interfax reported Thursday. (MT)

Six people died in a fire Thursday in a two-story cottage in Pushkino near St. Petersburg, Interfax reported. The dead have not been identified yet due to the severity of the fire, the cause of which is unclear. (MT)

The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Thursday that Turkmenistan's new leadership was willing to cooperate on human rights with the OSCE. (AP)

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov will travel to Saudi Arabia for the hajj on Friday in his first trip abroad since becoming president. (Reuters)