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15 JUNE 1998


Kirsan Ilyumzhinov announced in a 14 June interview with the TV-6 network that he plans to seek the Russian presidency in 2000, ITAR-TASS reported. At 36, Ilyumzhinov is one of the youngest regional leaders in the Russian Federation. According to official records, he is also the richest, having declared more than $1 million in 1996 income alone. Although Ilyumzhinov violated federal law by running unopposed for re-election as president of Kalmykia in 1995, the federal authorities did not seek to annul that election. Ilyumzhinov faces little political opposition in Kalmykia, and human rights defenders say his administration routinely tramples on citizens' rights and seeks to intimidate opponents. A former employee of Ilyumzhinov's administration is among the three suspects detained in connection with the recent murder of "Sovetskaya Kalmykia" editor Larisa Yudina (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 and 12 June 1998). LB

Duma deputy Sergei Ivanenko on 12 June announced that members of the Yabloko faction plan to form a commission to conduct a separate investigation into the murder of journalist Larisa Yudina, Interfax reported. Yudina headed the Yabloko branch in Kalmykia. Ivanenko said the alternative investigation will seek to put pressure on the government not to halt the probe into Yudina's murder if high-ranking officials are implicated. (Yeltsin on 15 June again pledged to personally supervise the efforts to find those who killed Yudina and said law enforcement agencies will investigate the case "at the highest level," ITAR-TASS reported.) Meanwhile, the Duma on 11 June approved a Yabloko-sponsored motion instructing the Audit Chamber to investigate the use of budget funds in Kalmykia from 1996 through 1998. Ivanenko argued that the audit will aid the investigation into Yudina's murder. LB


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