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General Lebed Joins Ryzhkov's Faction in Russian Duma

Moscow, Jan. 31 (RFE/RL) - Russia's pro-communist "People Power" deputy group announced today that presidential candidate Gen. Aleksandr Lebed has joined its faction in the Russian State Duma.

"People Power" is led by former Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai Ryzhkov, a staunch anti-reformer. He says his faction now counts at least 35 deputies in the 450-seat chamber.

Lebed, the former commander of Russia's 14th army in Moldova's Trans-Dniester region, was elected to the Duma from a single mandate constituency last December. But the party he led, the "Congress of Russian Communities," failed to clear the five percent threshhold to make it into parliament.

Lebed is currently one of four candidates who have announced their intention to campaign for the presidency in elections scheduled for June.