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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Mitvol Replacement Named
Natural Resources and Environment Minister Yury Trutnev appointed Konstantin Totsky as a deputy head of the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use, the environmental watchdog said Monday.
The service was short one deputy director after Oleg Mitvol resigned in April. Totsky is an army general and was the head of the Federal Border Service from 1998 to 2003. He then served as the Russian envoy to NATO until January 2008.
A long standoff between Mitvol and the watchdog’s head ended in March when another deputy left the agency, after one of the four assistant posts was eliminated. Mitvol resigned several weeks later, however, and last month became prefect of the Northern Administrative District.

Bill on $10Bln Crisis Fund
President Dmitry Medvedev has submitted a bill to the Duma creating a $10 billion crisis fund for former Soviet republics, the Kremlin said Monday.
Medvedev also appointed Deputy Finance Minister Dmitry Pankin to shepherd the bill through the Duma, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Countries belonging to the Eurasian Economic Community — a fledgling customs union encompassing Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — will contribute to the fund and be able to tap it for money for sovereign and stabilization loans and to finance international investment projects.
The fund will accumulate $10 billion, two-thirds of which will be invested by Russia.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin heads the fund. An initial agreement to create the fund was sign by Eurasian Economic Community member states on June 9.

Italy Extradites Suspect
Italy has extradited the former head of a charity purporting to assist victims of terrorism to face fraud charges at home, the Prosecutor General’s Office said Monday.
Prosecutors said Alexander Butuzov, head of an obscure charity called the Protection of Victims of Terrorism and Emergencies, accepted $110,000 between June 2002 and March 2003 from an unidentified donor who though the money would be used to provide humanitarian aid in Russia. He later disappeared, the prosecutor’s office said on its web site. Butuzov was placed on an international wanted list and found in Italy in March 2008.
He is the 16th person to be extradited to Russia this year, Interfax said.

U.S. Courts Uzbekistan
ALMATY, Kazakhstan — A top U.S. diplomat told Uzbekistan on Monday that Washington wanted to repair relations with the country, strained since a dispute over human rights in 2005 and the closure of a key U.S. military base.
“I’m convinced that we have an opportunity before us in a new administration to strengthen ties between our two countries,” U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns said, according to a transcript of the briefing provided by the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent.
Karimov told Burns he welcomed the new U.S. approach.

Kazakhs Target Internet
ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed into law new controls on the Internet that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has called repressive, local activists said Monday.
The OSCE — an intergovernmental security and human rights watchdog that Kazakhstan will chair next year — had earlier urged Nazarbayev to veto the bill. The legislation will allow local courts to block web sites, including foreign ones, and to class blogs and chatrooms as media.