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Arrest Warrant Issued for Elusive Duma Candidate

Published: September 8, 2000 (Issue # 601)


One of the 12 candidates who have registered to run for a vacant State Duma slot in St. Petersburg now looks to be on the run from the law, as federal prosecutors this week issued a warrant for his arrest.

Mikhail Zhivilo, a Moscow-based businessman who owns the MIKOM metallurgical investment company, is being sought by the Prosecutor General's Office for his alleged involvement in an assassination attempt on the governor of the Kemerovo region, Aman Tuleyev, which the FSB said it had foiled in June.

"We have enough reason to suspect Zhivilo as having organized the assassination attempt against Tuleyev," said Boris Skopin, a spokesman for the FSB in Novosibirsk, in a telephone interview Thursday.

Zhivilo, however - who along with his brother Yury, MIKOM vice president, was one of the first candidates to be officially registered for district No. 209 - is still at large, with a number of local media reports speculating that he may have fled abroad.

Galina Zelyanina, a member of district No. 209's electoral committee, said that although candidates and their representatives are not generally obliged to let the committee know about their current activities, no committee members had seen or heard from Zhivilo or his brother since Aug. 3, when they registered.

"We have not been informed by [the Prosecutor General's Office] of the arrest warrant out on Zhivilo," she said. "But we don't know if he has even arranged meetings with voters since [registering]."

Yury Zhivilo is not considered a suspect in the case, said Skopin.

Federal prosecutors were effectively giving their backing on Wednesday to an initial arrest warrant issued Sept. 1 by their counterparts in Novosibirsk, thus bypassing the legal immunity Zhivilo acquired when he registered as a candidate.

Skopin said that Novosibirsk investigators, who opened the case in June, had initially considered Zhivilo as a "valuable witness" in the assassination case. Zhivilo was repeatedly summoned to give his testimony, but failed to show up.

Following several unsuccessful attempts to find Zhivilo at his permanent residence in Moscow, detectives then made him an actual suspect.

In early August, FSB agents from Novosibirsk came to the capital to search MIKOM's offices. The FSB took away a number of company documents.

Zhivilo had had several disputes with Tuleyev over a number of metallurgical plants in the Kemerovo region, located in Western Siberia, as well as general strategies in Russia's aluminum market.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, 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 Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meeting tonight 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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