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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Public Chamber Changes

State Duma approved in a first reading Wednesday a raft of amendments to expand the authority of the Public Chamber -- and bar extremists from securing seats, Interfax reported.

Among the amendments, the chamber would be allowed to participate in the work of international organizations, and Russian officials would be obliged by law to respond to written requests from chamber members within 30 days.

The amendments also bar groups deemed extremist by prosecutors from nominating candidates to become members of the chamber. This could potentially prevent opposition groups from getting into the chamber, which is tasked with providing public oversight of the government's work. (MT)

Lawsuits in Samara March

Six Samara residents are suing the organizers of a Dissenters' March last Friday, saying the demonstration violated their rights, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

The residents have not decided how much to seek in damages, and, Artyom Morozov, a lawyer for one of the residents could not tell Kommersant how the march had violated residents' rights. The daily suggested that the authorities were behind the lawsuits and hoped to prevent further marches. (MT)

4 Charged in $1.5M Heist

Four suspects were charged with robbery and assault Wednesday in the heist of $1.5 million from a Sberbank branch in Chita, Itar-Tass reported.

If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison. The four are also suspected of killing two guards and a fellow robber in the May 12 robbery. Murder charges were not filed Wednesday. (MT)