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Prosecutors Suspect Russian Presidential Candidate Was Killed

Moscow, 9 February 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Moscow prosecutors said today they have launched an inquiry as to whether presidential candidate Ivan Rybkin, missing for four days, may have been murdered.

Rybkin, running as an independent, is one of seven candidates involved in the presidential election taking place on 14 March. Rybkin went missing after he left his apartment in Moscow on the evening of 5 February.

Moscow police launched a manhunt for the candidate yesterday after his family filed a missing persons report. Rybkin is known as an outspoken critic of president Vladimir Putin. He is a former Duma speaker and was president Boris Yeltsin's national security council chief.