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    Russian Communists to Protest NATO Ulyanovsk Transit Base

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    Russian communists will hold on Saturday a series of rallies against the projected deployment of a NATO supply base on the Russian territory.

    Russian communists will hold on Saturday a series of rallies against the projected deployment of a NATO supply base on the Russian territory.

    The Kremlin's intention to allow NATO to set up a hub for Afghan transit operations in the Volga region city of Ulyanovsk has triggered mass protests amid claims the deal would undermine Russia's national interests and security.

    Deputy Chairman of the Russian Communist Party Vladimir Kashin told RIA Novosti on Friday that up to two million people could take part in the protests around the country.

    The main rally will be held in Ulyanovsk, the birthplace of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.

    “The protest action in Ulyanovsk, where the authorities are planning to allow the deployment of a NATO base, will be the largest and gather communists from all regions of the country,” the party said in a statement.

    The communists have earlier demanded that two referendums, an all-Russian and a regional one, be held over the base deployment issue.

    The Russian authorities have repeatedly dismissed concerns over the deployment of a NATO transit hub in the middle of the country claiming it would involve only the transport of non-lethal cargoes, which would be subject to customs checks.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that the transit hub at Ulyanovsk airport would remain under Russian customs control and would have no NATO civil or military personnel.

     

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