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Opposition Mayor Killed, Bagapsh Wins, Elections Report

Vitaly Ustimenko, murdered mayor of Tuchkovo
Vitaly Ustimenko, murdered mayor of Tuchkovo

'A Just Russia' Mayor Murdered

Vitaly Ustimenko, the newly elected mayor of the town Tuchkovo and a member of the umbrella opposition movement A Just Russia, was murdered on Sunday. His wife was also killed.

Yulia Zhukova, a representative of the local branch of the General Prosecutor's Office, confirmed that the couple was gunned down near their home. She tells RFE/RL the crime was likely "connected to Ustimenko's political activities."

Sergei Kravchencko, secretary of the
Moscow region branch of A Just Russia, tells RFE/RL that another member of the party, who won a local election on October 11, was attacked earlier this month, and he suspects the crimes are connected.

[read in Russian]

Bagapsh Declared Winner Of Abkhazian Presidential Elections

Sergei Bagapsh has been declared winner of Saturday's presidential elections in Abkhazia. Official results indicate that he secured 59.4 percent of the vote. Despite claims by opposition candidates of vote rigging in favor of Bagapsh, 86 observers from 24 countries said the elections were conducted according to internationally recognized standards.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Inal Khanshig, editor of "Chegemskaya Pravda," says the results will probably not be contested: "Only one candidate, Raul Khadzhinba, has said that he will probably not recognize the results. The other opposition candidates, Beslan Butba and Zaur Ardzinba, have not commented, while the outsider Vitaly Bagnba has officially congratulated the president on his victory." Only
Russia, Venezuela and Nicaragua recognize Abkhazia's independence.

[read in Russian]

Golos Presents October Elections Report

Golos [Voice], the NGO formed in 2000 to defend voting rights in Russia, released a report on Monday on the October 11 regional and municipal elections. The 180-page document examines the entire electoral process, from registration through the campaign period to the balloting.

Commenting on the findings in an interview with RFE/RL, Golos Director Lilia Shibanova says, "There's nothing here that is not important. At every stage the process encountered such a quantity of violations, not only in the legislative procedures but, above all, in the very principles of the elections."

[read in Russian]