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    RUSSIA: PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL MISSING

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    MOSCOW, February 8, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Federal presidential hopeful Ivan Rybkin has been missing since Thursday last. Proceedings were launched as his anguished wife applied to the Arbat district precinct, reports Kirill Mazurin, city police chief of PR.

    Vladimir Pronin, city chief of police, is supervising the search. Chief of the city detective board and Federal Security Service officers are in charge.

    Mr. Rybkin's promoters had failed to get in touch with him over the telephone or otherwise since Thursday, Ksenia Ponomareva, his chief of campaign, said yesterday. She has no idea what could have happened to her boss.

    The Central Election Commission yesterday registered Mr. Rybkin as presidential candidate after a check of his compliance with self-nomination formalities, availability of necessary papers, and authenticity of public signatures in his favour.

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