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Russian Governor's Italian Trip Prompts Calls For Probe

Russian anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny
A weekend trip to an Italian resort by Volgograd Governor Sergei Bozhenov and some 40 regional officials and their families has prompted calls for a probe into whether state funds were used to pay.

Anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny and a local opposition website have called for a formal inquiry amid conflicting reports of the trip's purposes and the fact that it coincided with Bozhenov's birthday on April 8.

Russian newspaper "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" reports that members of the governor's entourage offered differing explanations, with some saying the trip was for business -- to meet with Italian agriculture officials and experts -- while others said it was a private vacation that was personally funded.

Bozhenov was appointed less than two months ago by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Based on reporting by AFP