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Yabloko Campaigner Flees Bashkortostan After Arrest
The Moscow Times,
By Oksana Yablokova, Staff Writer

Thursday, March 30, 2000

A Yabloko party activist has been detained by police and held for a night behind bars in Bashkortostan in connection with Yabloko's opposition to the regional leader, his sister said.

Dmitry Khrustalyov is the second regional Yabloko activist detained in the past week in what appears to be a national campaign against the liberal opposition party.

He was arrested Monday evening at party headquarters in Beloretsk, his sister Marina Khrustalyova, who also works for Yabloko, said in a telephone interview from the Bashkir city.

Khrustalyov, 33, who ran for parliament in December from a single-mandate seat and lost, headed Grigory Yavlinsky's presidential campaign in the republic.

Bashkortostan leader Murtaza Rakhimov, who rules the semi-autonomous republic with a firm hand, accused Khrustalyov and the Yabloko leader of insulting his honor in leaflets distributed before the State Duma vote.

Khrustalyova said her brother was detained for failing to appear in court Monday in a civil case brought by Rakhimov over the leaflets. He had been out of town campaigning and had not received the summons, she said.

Detention for failing to appear in court is rare, especially in a civil case.

Tuesday morning, Khrustalyov was taken before a judge, who released him and ordered him to inform Yavlinsky of the case and return that afternoon. Instead, he took a train to Moscow, his sister said.

Khrustalyov was responsible for printing and distributing the 300,000 Yabloko leaflets, Artur Astafyev, a Yabloko official in the Bashkir capital, Ufa, said by telephone.

The leaflets, printed in the neighboring Chelyabinsk region, contained Yavlinsky's address: "Yabloko candidates have continually opposed Murtaza Rakhimov's blatantly nepotistic regime, which has been squeezing out the republic's oil, gas and natural resources." The leaflets also said that "Yabloko is seeking to have Rakhimov removed from his post as the republic's president."

Khrustalyova said police have demanded the names and addresses of everyone in the republic who worked for Yabloko during the parliamentary campaign.

Police and court officials in Beloretsk did not answer their phones Wednesday afternoon.

Last Friday, police detained Krasnoyarsk Yabloko activist Viktor Gitin on suspicion of taking bribes during his term in the previous Duma.

During his presidential campaign, Yavlinsky was the victim of a smear campaign from the state-controlled television channels.

Last Wednesday, masked men in the Moscow region town of Noginsk stormed the campaign headquarters of Yabloko member Vera Krylyshkina, who was running for head of the local administration.

ei Stepashin on Grigory Yavlinsky's proposals