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United Russia to discuss fight against crime at congress in Dec.

MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - The ruling United Russia party will focus on measures against crime at its congress in December, the speaker of the lower house of Russia's parliament and the party leader said Sunday.

Russia has been plagued by a series of contract murders in the past few weeks. Andrei Kozlov, 41, the first deputy chairman of the Central Bank of Russia, who oversaw bank licensing and led the efforts to close down dozens of banks for violations of banking legislation, particularly on money laundering, died September 14 after being shot the day before. Anna Politkovskaya, 48-year-old investigative journalist known for her outspoken reports on Chechnya, was gunned down in an apparent contract killing in Moscow October 7. Dmitry Fotyanov, a mayoral candidate representing United Russia, was shot October 19 while leaving his office in Dalnegorsk, a town seven time zones east of Moscow.

"Considering the latest alarming events and a series of contract murders, special attention will undoubtedly be paid to the fight against crime," Boris Gryzlov said.

The speaker said measures had to be taken to enhance the security of Russian citizens and raise the efficiency of the work of the country's law-enforcement bodies.

United Russia will hold its sixth congress December 2 in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg.

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