GOVERNOR DIES WITHOUT A VERDICT

Author: Vladimir Fetisov

GOVERNOR DIES WITHOUT A VERDICT. (By Vladimir Fetisov. Kommersant, March28, 2002, p.9. Condensed text:) Tula A memorial service will be held at the Tula House of Officers today for Nikolai Sevryugin, former governor [of Tula Province] and former member of the Presidential Council. Sevryugin headed the province from October 1991 to March 1997. He was one of the first regional leaders to be appointed for having demonstrated a commitment to democracy at the right time, and one of the first democrats to be accused of corruption.

The first post-Soviet leader of Tula Province died on Tuesday evening [March26] at the age of 63 in an ordinary city hospital. The cause of death was heart failure....

As a member of the Presidential Council, Mr.Sevryugin took an exceedingly hard line on the Chechen war, insisting that it be waged until the separatists were utterly defeated, no matter what the cost. In Tula Province, Nikolai Sevryugins last years in office were marked by corruption scandals. Two of his deputies and several officials from the province administration wound up in the defendants dock, and the governors approval rating plummeted to almost zero. In March 1997 he suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Vasily Starodubtsev, and on June5 of that year he was arrested and charged with bribe-taking. According to investigators, in the waning days of his term as governor, Mr. Sevryugin signed an agreement on mutual offsets that benefited the Moscow-based Rostrabank and was paid $100,000 for his signature.

In 1998, the ex-governor, along with his son Andrei (who was accused of serving as a go-between in the bribe-taking incident) and the alleged bribe-giver, bank officer Valery Fedorchenko, went on trial in the province court.... But Judge Yevgeny Nekra-

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sov deemed the evidence insufficient and, in response to a petition filed by the defense attorneys, sent the case back for further investigation. The upshot was that ...

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