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Russia's Chubais Unhurt After Assassination Attempt

Anatolii Chubais (file photo) Moscow, 17 March 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Anatolii Chubais, the head of Russia's electricity monopoly, escaped an assassination attempt today near central Moscow.

Chubais was traveling in a motorcade on the Minsk highway towards Moscow when a landmine planted on the road exploded. The blast damaged none of the vehicles in the motorcade.

Then, two armed men wearing white camouflage in a nearby forest, opened fire on the motorcade with automatic weapons.

Chubais's bodyguards returned fire, and the would-be assassins fled into the forest. Preliminary reports said that a nearby motorist was injured in the crossfire.

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov says he ordered an immediate investigation: "This should be given special attention. I think the law enforcement agencies will be able to find those who ordered this crime and those who carried it out. A crime was committed, although Anatolii Borisovich [Chubais] survived, thank God, but this was a crime."

Chubais says he has "a pretty good idea" who was behind the attack, but has offered no more information. Chubais is the chief executive officer of Unified Energy System of Russia, the country's electric power monopoly.

(RFE/RL Russian Service/AFP/AP/Reuters/Interfax)