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    EARLY RUSSIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION STARTS IN TAJIKISTAN

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    DUSHANBE, March 10, 2004. (RIA Novosti) -- The early voting to elect the president of Russia began in Tajikistan in the Ishkashim border-guard detachment (the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, the south-east of Russia) of the Russian border-guard group of the FSB of Russia on Tuesday.

    As the press service of the border-guard group said on Wednesday, the voting will go on till Saturday. The Central Elections Commission of the Russian Federation took this decision on March 1, 2004 in connection with the remote and scattered disposition of the Russian border guards.

    The early voting at the frontier pickets and posts will be held also in the Panj border-guard detachment on March 12-13, in the Moscow detachment - from March 11 to 13, and in the Kalaikhumb and Khorog detachments of the Russian border-guard group of the FSB of Russia in the Republic of Tajikistan - on March 13.

    A total of more than 400 Russian border guards, employees and members of their families must vote before March 14, 2004, and 230 more received absentee ballots to vote at other polling stations.

    All in all, according to the information of Minister of Russia's Embassy in Tajikistan Levon Dzhagaryan, fourteen polling stations for electing the president of Russia have been set up in the republic.

    About 23,000 voters, including the servicemen of the 201st motorized rifle division and of the Russian border-guard group, have been registered in Tajikistan. But just over 12,000 voters participated in the election to the Russian Federation's State Duma (the parliament's lower chamber) on December 7, 2003, the Russian diplomat noted.

    The election of the president of Russia will be held on March 14.

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