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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Chechen Activist Released

A Chechen activist abducted by armed men in the southern republic on Sept. 12 has been released, Alexander Cherkasov, a member of the board of the Memorial human rights organization, said Monday.

Cherkasov said that Vagap Tutakov, the former Chechen rebel envoy to the European Parliament, was released Saturday, Interfax reported.

The men who held Tutakov captive had beaten him badly before his release, Cherkasov said, adding that he was in need of serious medical attention. (MT)

Communists Allege Libel

The Communist Party has asked prosecutors to charge the tabloid newspaper Zhizn with libel over an article that said party leader Gennady Zyuganov ordered pornography in a Crimean hotel room.

Party lawyers filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General's Office over the Sept. 12 article, which featured a photocopied receipt allegedly showing that Zyuganov had ordered a pay-per-view channel called Sex View TV, the party said on its web site Thursday. The party says the receipt was forged.

Zyuganov said on a Wednesday visit to Sochi that the speaker of the Federation Council, Sergei Mironov, and his party, A Just Russia, were behind a series of "libelous publications" defaming the Communists, Interfax reported. (MT)

New Russian Catholic Head

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Paolo Pezzi as the new head of the Russian Roman Catholics, the Vatican said on its web site late last week.

Pezzi, 45, who has worked in Russia for 10 years, headed a Catholic seminary in St. Petersburg. A native of Russi, Italy, he studied philosophy and theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, before becoming rector of the St. Petersburg seminary.

He will replace Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who has been appointed the Vatican's representative in Belarus.

The Moscow Patriarchate said Friday that it hopes the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue will develop further under the new head of the Russian Roman Catholics. (MT)