ST. PETE GOVERNOR DOESN'T SEE EXTREMIST CONNECTION TO SENSATIONAL MURDERS

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ST. PETERSBURG, October 29 (RIA Novosti/Northwest's Anna Novak) - There are no grounds to assume now that extremists were behind a series of sensational murders in St. Petersburg, city governor Valentina Matvienko said to a newsmen's audience.

She is supervising detection of murders with a nationalist undercurrent. Khursheda Sultanova, a little Tajik girl, Nikolai Girenko, expert on interethnic relations, and Wu Anh Thuan, Vietnamese college student, were among the victims.

"It is too early to make whatever conclusions now, but I am making bold to offer some assumptions. I think it was all acts of hoodlumism and banditry. We have no grounds for now to suspect organised extremists. Anyway, it is up to investigators to make final conclusions," said Ms. Matvienko.

"St. Petersburg has always been a multiethnic city clean of xenophobia, and it is our duty to do all we can to rule out more outrages," stressed the governor. She is sure the crimes will be successfully detected, she added.

Several persons are suspected of the Vietnamese boy's murder, and evidence is being collected against them. The men will, most probably, be indicted three weeks later, a city police officer said to Novosti.

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