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    RUSSIAN SPACE TROOPS READY TO VOTE MARCH 14

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Space Troops' servicemen will be among the first voters to cast their ballots in the March 14 presidential elections, voting all day long together with some other military formations, Alexei Kuznetsov, chief of the national Space Troops press center, said.

    Our servicemen will start voting in Ust-Kamchatsk, which is the remotest locality, March 13 at 11.00 p.m. Moscow time; the voting process will end in Belarus where the westernmost Space Troops facility, i.e. the Volga radar, is located, Mr. Kuznetsov added.

    Space Troops soldiers will be voting at more than 80 garrison and military-unit polling stations March 14; 12 of these garrisons and military units are stationed in other post-Soviet republics, i.e. Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

    346 conscripts voted at the Baikonur space center ahead of schedule March 10.

    This can be explained by that fact that most of them will be preparing a Proton rocket for launch; still others will be detailed for guard duty and 24-hour duty outside Baikonur, the source said.

    The Central Election Commission decided to go ahead with early presidential elections at the suggestion of the space center's commanders and the Baikonur territorial election commission.

    Mikhail Moskalev, chairman of the city territorial election commission, and Lt.-Gen. Ivan Khomenko, deputy chairman of the Space Troops' working group for elections, noted that no violations were registered during the vote, and that the voting process tallied completely with election legislation.

    About 20,000 Baikonur residents will take part in the March 14 presidential elections. Servicemen of the Russian Space Troops, as well as their families, live and work in this town, which is located in Kazakhstan, and which is leased by Russia. Civilians and specialists from the federal space agency also live and work there.

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