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Russian Lawmaker Hospitalized After Strike

29 January 2005 -- One of five Russian lawmakers on a hunger strike to protest the government's controversial social reforms has been taken to a Moscow hospital.

Interfax reports that the condition of Motherland's Andrei Savelev worsened late yesterday and he had to be taken for treatment.

The small nationalist party -- which holds 39 seats in the 450-seat State Duma -- announced on 21 January that five of its members were launching a hunger strike until either the reforms are repealed or the government steps down.

Party leader Dmitrii Rogozin has said he and the three remaining deputies would continue their protest.

The deputies are taking the action to show support for pensioners who had benefits such as free public transportation and medical services replaced with cash payments.

Pensioners say the money does not cover the cost of lost benefits.