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Khodorkovskii, Pro-Kremlin Backers Square Off In Moscow

Khodorkovskii backers during a recent rally in Moscow (file photo) 12 September 2005 -- Demonstrators supporting jailed Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovskii faced off with members of a pro-Kremlin youth group in a central Moscow square today.

Around 100 opposition activists gathered in Moscow's Pushkin Square demanding freedom for the former head of the Yukos oil company, who has recently organized a bid to compete in a by-election for a seat in the State Duma while his case is being appealed.

Some 30 members of the pro-Kremlin Nashi (Ours) youth group opposed them. The two sides were separated by a police cordon.

Meanwhile, Lithuanian media reports suggest a former executive of Russia's Menatep Bank, Igor Babenko, has asked for the Lithuanian government to grant him political asylum.

Babenko's Lithuanian lawyer, Vitoldas Petravicius, claimed his client is being prosecuted in connection with the recent trial of Khodorkovskii.


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