Monday, February 09, 2004

BBC NEWS | Russia election candidate missing

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Russia election candidate missing

Ivan Rybkin, an opposition candidate in the Russian presidential elections, has disappeared a few days after his campaign ran a full-page ad in the Kommersant accusing Vladimir Putin of being in the pocket of big business. In a further attack, he gave an interview to the Moskovskyie Novosti in which he alleged that businessmen close to the Kremlin were benefiting from the Railways Ministry's revenues.

Obviously, one might suspect these facts to be connected.

But there is something odd about the story, as detailed here. After all, Rybkin is an associate of Boris Berezovsky, and when he was asked about Rybkin's fate he simply declared that he would re-appear today. You might have expected that the exiled financier, first of the oligarchs and diehard opponent of Putin, would have taken the opportunity to suggest he had been murdered by the same agents of the state who he, Berezovsky, believes are attempting to kill him even in London. And when things like this happen, who would be surprised? But no. According to Berezovsky, God was in his heaven and all was well with the world.

Mr. Rybkin has yet to make his advertised reappearance today.

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