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Prosecutors Summon Former Russian Premier --> Mikhail Kasyanov (file photo) (official website) February 22, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Russian prosecutors have called in former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov for questioning in connection with a fraud investigation.

Kasyanov has been ordered to appear before investigators on February 26 in connection with the alleged theft of budget funds by former Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Vavilov in 1997.

Investigators accuse Vavilov of involvement in the embezzlement of $230 million in a deal to sell fighter jets to India. The case was originally opened in the 1990s, but was closed down quickly for lack of evidence that a crime had been committed.

MORE: RFE/RL spoke with Kasyanov in July 2006.

The Prosecutor-General's Office reopened the case last year.

Vavilov is currently a member of the Federation Council and has parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

Kasyanov, who was fired as prime minister in 2004, has announced plans to run for president as an opposition candidate in 2008.

(with material from Reuters, AP)

Russia's Democratic Development

Demonstrators speak with local politicians in Butovo about the destruction of a local forest in July 2006 (RFE/RL)

IS RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY MANAGING? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Western powers seek to pressure Russia under the pretext of concern over its democratic development. He has said Russia is ready to listen to "well-intentioned criticism," but will not allow anyone to interfere in its internal affairs. The Kremlin has been criticized for stifling political oppostion, increasing central control over the media, and cracking down on the work on nongovernmental organizations.


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