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St. Petersburg Police Reopen Starovoitova Murder Case

Galina Starovoitova in October 1998

Galina Starovoitova in October 1998

ST. PETERSBURG -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is relaunching an investigation into the 1998 murder of Duma Deputy and opposition politician Galina Starovoitova, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Police investigators told RFE/RL that the case was reopened after a request to do so was recently made by Starovoitova's sister, historian and human rights advocate Olga Starovoitova, and her assistant Ruslan Linkov to President Dmitry Medvedev.

The request was made after the June arrest of former Russian Duma member Mikhail Glushchenko in St. Petersburg. Glushchenko is suspected of planning the killings of three Russians in Cyprus in 2004.

His possible involvement in Starovoitova's assassination had been previously considered by investigators, as the men arrested for her murder said they had met with him several times.

Glushchenko, 51, once served as an aide to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

Starovoitova, who was a co-chairwoman of the Democratic Russia party, was shot dead outside her apartment in St. Petersburg on November 20, 1998.

Her case was officially closed in 2005 after two men were found guilty of her killing and sentenced to 20 and 23 years in prison.

On September 28, 2006, another person was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in organizing her murder.

Starovoitova's relatives say the person who ordered the killing was never caught.