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    RYBKIN'S DISAPPEARANCE WILL NOT EFFECT CAMPAIGNS

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    MOSCOW, February 10, 2004 (RIA Novosti correspondent Maria Balynina) - The disappearance of Ivan Rybkin, a presidential candidate and former Duma speaker, will have no effect on the election campaign, Sergei Mironov, the chairman of the Federation Council (the upper chamber) and a presidential candidate, told journalists on Tuesday.

    "In any case, I consider it too early to rush to conclusions," he said.

    Mr. Mironov does not exclude either, "something actually happened to Rybkin, or the possibility that his disappearance was planned."

    "But, the disappearance of any person is disturbing," he said.

    Ivan Rybkin disappeared without his possessions on the evening of February 5. On Sunday, his wife gave a statement about his disappearance to the police. The FSB and the office of the public prosecutor are conducting a search.

    On Saturday, the Central Election Committee confirmed Mr. Rybkin as a presidential candidate.

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