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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

New Registration Chief

President Vladimir Putin has appointed a former prosecutor to head up the Federal Registration Service, which is charged, among other things, with registering political parties and nongovernmental organizations.

Putin signed a decree appointing Sergei Vasilyev, a longtime regional prosecutor and investigator, as head of the agency, the Kremlin said on its web site Tuesday.

Vasilyev worked in the Chelyabinsk, Tyumen and Moscow regions before coming to Moscow in 2001 to work in the personnel department of the Prosecutor General's Office.

He went on to work as chief prosecutor for the Moscow region, and in 2006 was appointed deputy justice minister.

Vasilyev replaces Sergei Movchan, who had held the post since December 2004. (MT)

Pensioners Protest

Thousands of elderly people took to the streets across the country Tuesday to demand increased pensions.

Some 500 elderly people gathered on Gorbaty Bridge near the White House calling on authorities to raise the minimum pension. The protesters released black balloons to signify their lack of confidence in the government.

Similar rallies were held in the Voronezh, Kursk, Samara, Stavropol, Khabarovsk and Altai regions, among others.

Nationwide protests also are planned for May 1. (MT)

Inquiry Into Newspaper

Moscow city prosecutors have opened an inquiry into whether the opposition newspaper United Civil Front broke the law, Interfax reported Tuesday.

A special edition of the newspaper, which is published by The Other Russia, a coalition of political opposition forces that includes Garry Kasparov's United Civil Front group, contains information about disobeying City Hall's ban on an opposition march that the coalition scheduled for Saturday on Pushkin Square, prosecutors said. The newspaper is distributed for free. (MT)

Gryzlov Backs Luzhkov

United Russia leader Boris Gryzlov voiced his support Tuesday for another term for Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

"Luzhkov is a co-chairman of United Russia, and the party sees him as mayor in the future," Gryzlov said, Interfax reported.

Vedomosti reported Monday that Luzhkov might seek the Kremlin's blessing to remain in power this week. (MT)

Tkachyov Seeks New Term

Krasnodar Governor Alexander Tkachyov has asked President Vladimir Putin to nominate him for another term, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Putin's envoy to the Southern Federal District, Dmitry Kozak, received the request from Tkachyov and will meet with regional legislators, political parties and nongovernmental organizations to discuss it. Tkachyov was first elected governor in 2000. (MT)

Bagapsh Hospitalized

Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh has been hospitalized in Moscow with heart trouble, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Bagapsh was taken to a hospital Monday in Sukhumi, capital of the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia, but doctors there insisted that he be transferred to Moscow. Doctors said his condition was stable. "I am feeling all right, but doctors' orders must be followed," Bagapsh said. (MT)

10-Year-Old Strangled

A 10-year-old girl was found strangled to death in the stairwell of the apartment building where she lived in the Moscow region, the Prosecutor General's Office said Tuesday.

The girl, Anastasia Butenkova, was found dead at around 5 p.m. Thursday in the town of Tomilino, southeast of Moscow, prosecutors said in a statement. The regional prosecutor's office has opened an investigation. (MT)

Litvinenko 'Very Nervous'

BERLIN -- Former security agent Alexander Litvinenko looked "very nervous" when he arrived for a meeting in London last November shortly before he fell ill and died, a businessman who took part in the meeting, Dmitry Kovtun, was quoted as saying Tuesday.

Kovtun and another businessman, Andrei Lugovoi, met Litvinenko in a hotel bar Nov. 1. "Litvinenko terrorized Andrei with his calls: He absolutely wanted to meet us," Kovtun told Germany's Hamburger Abendblatt.

"Litvinenko only came to the hotel for a short time. He was very nervous -- I thought he was drunk." (AP)

Arrested for Beer Run

A Russian mariner sailing his inflatable boat to buy beer was arrested by Japanese police, Itar-Tass reported.

The off-duty chief mate of a merchant ship, Sergei Vashkevich, landed on the eastern tip of Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Saturday and bought a case of beer for $80 at a highway rest stop. But he was arrested as he headed back with the 24-bottle case.

Vashkevich, 29, who lives on Sakhalin Island, was turned over to prosecutors Monday on charges of entry without necessary documents. (MT)