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Russian airline executive Yaroslav Odintsev (file photo)

The head of the Russian state air carrier serving President Vladimir Putin and other top-ranking officials have been placed under house arrest on charges of abuse of office.

A Moscow court said on September 13 that Yaroslav Odintsev, the director of the Special Flight Detachment Rossiya airline, has been put under house arrest for two months pending the official investigation.

The probe has focused on accusations of misspending funds earmarked for the purchase of air conditioning systems, according to Russian media reports.

Odintsev has denied the allegations.

It is the latest in a series of corruption investigations targeting top Russian officials.

On September 9, the acting head of an anticorruption agency at the Russian Interior Ministry, Dmitry Zakharchenko, was arrested for receiving bribes after police found banknotes worth more than $120 million in a raid on a Moscow flat.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax

The European Union has said that parliamentary elections in Belarus on September 11 show the need for "comprehensive electoral reform."

Two opposition figures won seats in the September 11 elections -- the first opposition parliamentarians to win seats in 20 years.

But the chief of the Organization for Security and Cooperation's short-term observer mission in the country, Kent Harstedt, told RFE/RL on September 12 that the elections were "in no way free and fair."

In a statement on September 12, European Commission spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said the vote "shows the need for comprehensive electoral reform as part of the broader democratization process, in cooperation with international partners."

"We expect the Belarusian authorities to resume the work on this without delay," the statement added.

Parliament has been dominated by allies of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Belarus has not held a vote that was assessed free or democratic since the early 1990s.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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