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    US NOTES RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES' ATTENTION TO KHLEBNIKOV CASE

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    WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, July 15 (RIA Novosti's Arkady Orlov) - The Bush administration maintains contacts with the Russian authorities that are investigating the murder of Paul Khlebnikov and note that the mourning ceremony on Wednesday was attended by the Russian prosecutor General, said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Wednesday.

    We are gladdened by the high level of attention paid to this case in Russia, Boucher said, noting the importance of punishing the killers. In this case, quick justice is vital for avoiding the creation of an atmosphere of fear among journalists, he said.

    Though the investigation is being carried out by Russian authorities, the Bush administration has offered any help it may need. We have offered the investigating authorities any assistance that may help to detain and punish the killers, the diplomat said. The Russian side does not need such assistance now but the offer still stands.

    We maintain contacts with the Russian law enforcers, Boucher said, as well as with Khlebnikov's family and colleagues. Paul Khlebnikov was a courageous and talented journalist who symbolised the best American values of fair play, equality and openness. We revere his memory.

    Khlebnikov was killed for professional reasons, says an editorial on the murder of the chief editor of the Russian edition of Forbes, whose next edition will see the light on July 26. His professional work, with his unique style of a man possessed, provoked strong emotions. Today, when so little time has passed after his death, we can only conclude that it provoked somebody to murder, says the article signed by chief editor of Forbes Global Tim Ferguson.

    One can say about him that he gave his life for truth. Paul genuinely believed in the greatness of Russia and his sharp criticism of the post-Soviet cleptocracy [government by theft] was rooted in his desire to see Russia's greatness realised, says Forbes editor Jim Michaels.

    Forbes' web site (www.forbes.com) carried the entire archives of journalistic investigation of Paul Khlebnikov's murder.

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