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Authorities in the Russian Republic of Tatarstan are increasing security measures ahead of this weekend's parliamentary elections there, fueling opposition fears that the extra police presence could isolate independent election monitors and hide vote fraud.

Police will step up street patrols during voting "to prevent unnecessary incidents," an officer told RFE/RL. Authorities also visited registered gun owners and convicted felons, and all businesses that sell guns or explosives will be closed on election Sunday.

More puzzlingly, however, authorities apparently hauled off some mentally ill residents to treatment facilities in connection with the voting.

-- RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service

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