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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Poet Prigov Dead at 66

Dmitry Prigov, one of the most influential poets of the post-Soviet era, died early Monday in a Moscow hospital, RIA-Novosti reported. He was 66.

Prigov had been in intensive care since suffering a heart attack July 7.

He and his close friend Lev Rubenstein were leaders of the so-called conceptualist school, which arose in unofficial Soviet art in the late 1960s. They were the first in Russia to see performance as a form of art.

Prigov was a prolific poet and his work has been widely published since the late 1980s. He was perhaps better known in the West for his live performances, which incorporated visual and musical elements. (AP)

3 Held in Girl's Abduction

Police in the Sverdlovsk region have arrested three men suspected of kidnapping and murdering a 9-year-old girl, Interfax reported Monday.

The three men, aged 19 to 24, are suspected of kidnapping the girl at around 6 p.m. Sunday in the village of Yolovka and leaving a ransom note demanding 300,000 rubles ($12,000) for her release, regional Interior Ministry spokesman Valery Gorelykh told Interfax.

All three suspects were detained by 6 a.m. Monday and admitted to kidnapping the girl and killing her after she recognized one of them, Gorelykh said. Police found her body in a gully in a nearby forest, Gorelykh said. It was unclear whether the suspects had been formally charged as of Monday. (MT)

Tajik Stabbed to Death

A Tajik man was knifed to death in western Moscow, a law enforcement source told Interfax on Monday.

A fight broke out at around 6 p.m. Friday on Ryabinovaya Ulitsa, and when police arrived at the scene, they found two Tajik men bleeding, the source said.

Witnesses said a man of Slavic appearance had stabbed the two men with a knife. One of the men died in the ambulance, while the other was hospitalized, the source said.

No suspects had been detained in connection with the crime, the source told Interfax. It was unclear whether the crime was racially motivated. (MT)

$5,000 Fine for Web Posting

A Novosibirsk court Monday fined a Ukrainian nationalist $5,000 for inciting ethnic hatred with anti-Russian posts on the Internet.

Taras Zelenyak, 36, was convicted of praising "the superiority of the Ukrainian people over Russians" in numerous posts on Ukrainian web sites, local prosecutors said, Interfax reported.

A criminal investigation was opened in February 2006 after Zelenyak's service provider alerted local Federal Security Service officials to the nature of his forum posts. Zelenyak, who in 1999 publicly renounced his Russian citizenship, conceded it was "possible that what I did was unethical." "But personally I did not intend to incite ethnic hatred," he said, Interfax reported. (MT)

Ex-Governor Investigated

Prosecutors have dropped allegations that former Amur Governor Leonid Korotkov embezzled 22 million rubles ($850,000) from regional coffers, Interfax reported Monday.

"No relationship was found between Korotkov and more than 22 million rubles missing," said Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Valentin Bursyanin.

Korotkov is still facing other charges, however, including illegally increasing utility tariffs from 2003 to 2006 to finance a Blagoveshchensk-based football club. He has also been charged with mismanaging $4.8 million from regional coffers.

President Vladimir Putin decided to remove him from office in May and replaced him with Nikolai Kolesov. (MT)

5 Charged With Spying

MINSK -- Belarus has charged four officers of its armed forces and one Russian officer with spying for Poland, state television said late Sunday.

The four Belarussians, arrested in January, and the Russian sold secret information to Poland on a joint Russian-Belarussian air defense system, the report said.

Under Belarussian law, spying can incur the death penalty although there have been no reports of the penalty ever having been applied. (Reuters)

Polish Shield in February?

The United States may start building a missile shield in Poland in February 2008, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said in an interview published in the Noviye Izvestia newspaper Monday.

"If by fall this year we reach a final agreement with the United States, and if Congress votes in favor of funding the whole program, the [construction] work may indeed begin as soon as in February next year," Waszczykowski told the newspaper.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski was to meet his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush, later Monday to iron out details of the planned missile defense. (Reuters)

Dagestani Policeman Killed

MAKHACHKALA -- One policeman was shot dead and two others wounded by two suspected militants in Dagestan, officials said Monday.

Two armed men opened fire on a police patrol inspecting an abandoned car Sunday in the town of Khasavyurt, near the border with Chechnya, killing one and wounding two. The assailants, who were shooting from a passing car, escaped, a spokeswoman said. (AP)

6 Drown in Moscow

Six people drowned in Moscow's rivers, lakes and ponds over the weekend, bringing the number of drownings since May to 109, an emergency response official told Interfax on Monday.

Another three people were saved from drowning and subsequently hospitalized, the official said. (MT)

Suspected Smuggler Killed

KIEV -- A Russian citizen suspected of weapons smuggling has been killed in a Ukrainian jail, police said Monday.

Oleg Orlov, accused of the illegal transfer of weapons to China and Eritrea, was strangled or smothered by a fellow inmate at a pretrial detention center July 4, Interior Ministry spokesman Kostyantin Stogniy said.

Ukrainian authorities claim Orlov used falsified documents to smuggle an unspecified number of missiles of at least two types to China in 2000 and at least one radar system to Eritrea in 2002.

In both cases, Orlov purportedly used state-run weapons exporter Ukrspetseksport to deliver the arms. Orlov was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2004, shortly after a warrant for his arrest was issued in Ukraine, and was extradited to Ukraine last year. (AP)

First Tajik Heist in a Decade

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Unidentified attackers killed a security guard and stole $16,000 from a bank in Tajikistan's first bank robbery since the end of its civil war a decade ago, investigators said Monday.

Prosecutors said suspected gangsters stormed into a bank in northern Tajikistan, killed a security guard and left with the money. "It was the first bank robbery since peace was settled on June 27, 1997," the Prosecutor General's Office said. (Reuters)