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Heard in Russia: Starovoitova’s Murderer Says He’ll Name Contractor

Galina Starovoitova
Galina Starovoitova

Starovoitova's Murderer Says He’ll Name Contractor

Eleven years after the murder of politician Galina Starovoitova, the convicted mastermind of her murderer, Yuri Kolchin, announced that he is prepared to make a deal with the investigators and name the contractor of the murder. At the same time, Kolchin said that former State Duma deputy with the LDPR faction Mikhail Glushchenko, who has been rumored to be involved in Starovoitova’s murder, played no role. Starovoitova, a State Duma deputy and leader of the Democratic Russia party (Demokraticheskaya Rossiya), was shot dead on November 20, 1998 in the entrance to her apartment building in St. Petersburg upon returning from Moscow. She was accompanied by her assistant Ruslan Linkov who was also shot but survived. In 2005, Kolchin and Vitaly Akinshin were convicted of her murder and sentenced to 20 and 23 and half years respectively. Starovoitova’s sister Olga and director of the Agency of Journalistic Investigation Yevgeny Vyshenkov told RFE that they doubt that Kolchin, who has remained quiet about the contractors of the murder for all these years, will now reveal the real instigators. Vyshenkov says its appears that Kolchin wants his sentence reduced and at the same time do a favor for Glushchenko, Kolchin’s former subordinate: "According to our sources, initially they [the investigators] listened to him with interest, and then they got the impression that it was a sham... It seems to me that it’s some kind of signal to Glushchenko. Now he knows from the daily 'Kommersant' what position his former subordinate and probably friend now holds." [read in Russian]

United Russia Debriefs Provincial Press On Modernization

On Friday, United Russia's (Edinaya Rossiya) party congress got underway in St. Petersburg with a media forum hosted by political analysts who have a track record of loyalty to the Kremin. The audience was comprised of some 500 hundred journalists from provincial public television and radio stations who were lectured on the limits of freedom of speech. To the surprise of the ruling party’s apparatchiks, the loyal political analysts managed to successfully steer the lecture from an ode to the successes of Putin’s policies, to mention growing social problems and praise of initiatives towards modernization. The political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky called for the defense of the future pioneers of the modernization promised by Dmitri Medvedev. "The President [Medvedev] is calling on young, skilled and active people to action for the sake of modernization. You know full well the real situation in the regions especially. Can you imagine what will happen to those young, skilled, clever and active people when they begin to act?" [read in Russian]

Argentina's Fate Awaits Russia

Representatives of various political groups have come together to form a plan to steer Russia out of recession called the Public Anti-Crisis Initiative, which they presented at a conference at the Gorbachev Fund. The plan states that the recession in Russia is much deeper than in developed countries and that the signs of recovery that have been registered elsewhere have not emerged in Russia. The document also points to the lack of basic institutions needed for a healthy economy and the curse of widespread corruption. One of the authors of the document Vladimir Ryzhkov told RFE that the initiative has two purposes. "We have set the task to shape public opinion in favor of democracy, in favor of modernization and encouraging the public to exert certain pressure upon the ruling powers." Speaking at the conference, Igor Yurgens, director of the Institute for Contemporary Development, warned: "Where's Argentina now? Such a fate awaits great Russia if modernization is not implemented... [Russia] will no longer be in the G-8 and in real terms not even in the G-20." [read in Russian]