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Russia: Yeltsin Orders Officials To Investigate Town

Moscow, 22 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Boris Yeltsin today ordered law enforcement organs to probe the situation in the western Siberian town of Leninsk-Kuznetsk, where the Russian president says "criminals have come to power."

ITAR-TASS says Yeltsin gave the order to the prosecutor-general, interior minister, and the director of the Federal Security Services (FSB). Yeltsin wants them to send a special group to Leninsk-Kuznetsk, "immediately, to prevent further criminalization of the town authorities and find out if there are such cases in other regions."

Yeltsin's order comes after the Russian daily "Izvestiya" last week published an interview with an alleged "contract-killer" from Leninsk-Kuznetsk, who accused the town's mayor, Gennady Konyakhin, of involvement in organized crime. The daily said criminals had seized power in the town, and there was "total corruption at all levels of authority."