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Police Arrest Arkhangelsk Mayor

Published: July 19, 2007 (Issue # 1290)


MOSCOW Law enforcement officers stormed the apartment of Arkhangelsk Mayor Alexander Donskoi on Wednesday and took him to a detention facility, sharply escalating an ongoing battle between him and the regions governor.

The officers forced their way into Donskois apartment Wednesday afternoon and carried him out to a waiting police car, despite protests by doctors present that his blood pressure was dangerously high, Donskois aide, Eduard Gainutdinov, said by telephone.

Gainutdinov said he was speaking from the apartment. A woman could be heard wailing in the background.

Regional prosecutors said in a statement that Donskoi, 37, was detained on suspicion of illegally dipping into city coffers to pay for bodyguards for himself and his family. Prosecutors are now deciding whether to charge him formally with abuse of office, the statement said.

If charged and convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.

Donskoi was formally charged in February with faking his university diploma and participating in illegal business activities while in office, but he had been free on condition that he not leave the city. He has said repeatedly that he is innocent.

Donskois legal problems began shortly after his November announcement that he planned to run for president next year. He has said the Kremlin tried to pressure him into staying out of the race.

But he has also been embroiled in a dispute with Arkhangelsk Governor Nikolai Kiselyov.

On July 11, Donskoi posted a video on the City Hall-connected Archicity.ru showing a man resembling Kiselyov puportedly accepting a bribe. Kiselyov said in a statement posted on the regional administrations web site the following day that the video was a fake and part of a dirty campaign connected with the upcoming election season.

I have already gone to the authorities [in connection with the video], Kiselyov said in the statement.

Donskois 16-year-old son, Alexander, said Wednesdays detention was Kiselyovs revenge for the video.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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