NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Liberals in the Crosshairs: The Russian opposition’s troubles are only beginning.” – The National Interest/Maria Snegovaya

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

As Russia approaches parliamentary elections scheduled in September 2016, the prospects for Russia’s so-called nonsystem liberal opposition look increasingly gloomy. Not only have democratic opposition leaders failed to create a unified coalition yet again, as in essentially every previous election – a failure that will likely diminish their already limited chances to win seats in Russia’s federal and regional parliaments […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Divide in the Russian opposition, the return of Alexey Kudrin, and a new controversy in Crimea. Media Roundup: Russia’s journalists covered the comeback of former finance minister Alexey Kudrin and the split within the Russian opposition ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections.”

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Interfax: Putin views fair competition during parliamentary election as basis for building confidence in authorities among citizens

Russian State Duma Building file photo

ST PETERSBURG. April 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has reaffirmed that the State Duma election to be held this autumn must be characterized by a fair and competitive campaign. “You understand perfectly that it is of the utmost importance for this campaign to be spared violations and proceed in an absolutely competitive and fair contest,” Putin said at […]

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NEWSWATCH: “New Russian Security Force Will Answer to Vladimir Putin. The Russian Guard is being formed ahead of coming parliamentary elections.” – Wall Street Journal

Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin is creating a new internal security force that answers directly to … Putin, ahead of parliamentary elections. … the new force … the Russian Guard, will be headed by Viktor Zolotov, who served as Mr. Putin’s personal bodyguard for 13 years. … Putin directed the creation of the force … through an executive order … under review by […]

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On My Mind [re: Kudrin and Pamfilova]

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(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – April 21, 2016) You have to wonder what drives people like Aleksei Kudrin and Ella Pamfilova. Both were in the news this week. Kudrin accepted an offer to chair the Kremlin’s top economics think tank, the Center for Strategic Reform, and called for a fundamental restructuring of Russia’s economy and political system. And […]

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Russian veteran opposition politician discusses policy, presidential ambitions

Grigoriy Yavlinskiy file photo

(Interfax – March 4, 2016) Interfax journalists Vasiliy Antipin and Andrey Novikov interview with Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: “Grigoriy Yavlinskiy: I will win elections from Putin; Yabloko founder has decided to return to big-league politics and describes his plans and his associates’ plans” Moscow, 4 March: Grigoriy Yavlinskiy has decided to return to big-league politics. Yabloko’s founder plans to fight […]

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Legitimized Elections: The Kremlin Plays a New Game

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – March 11, 2016) There was nothing unusual about the weeks running up to the 2009 Moscow City Duma election. United Russia, the party of power, hogged airtime on television and radio. Opposition candidates were routinely barred from running. Municipal workers ripped other parties’ fliers from the city streets. Maria Zheleznova observed the […]

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Putin’s Liberal Enablers

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – The Daily Vertical: Brian Whitmore – March 7, 2016) We soon may be able to add yet another name to the list of Vladimir Putin’s liberal enablers. Speculation is rampant that longtime human rights activist Ella Pamfilova will replace Vladimir Churov as head of the Russian electoral commission. Putin named the widely respected Pamfilova, who is […]

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Yabloko and PARNAS to have separate lists at elections, unified party impossible for technical, political reasons – Yavlinsky

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MOSCOW. March 4 (Interfax) – The Yabloko party founder, Grigory Yavlinsky, believes it is impossible to establish a unified PARNAS-Yabloko party, and the most likely option is to hold talks on separating candidates in single-seat election districts, but, at the same time, keeping two party lists. “We will do all that is possible and necessary. Negotiations are under way today,” […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Public support for Putin to serve another term hits highest level in four years: poll” – Reuters

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

Public support for … Putin to serve another term as president has hit its highest level in four years, a survey by a state-run pollster showed …. Seventy-four percent of Russians would vote to re-elect Putin as president, according to … VTsIOM. Putin dominates state media … and is widely expected to contest the next presidential election in 2018 …. […]

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Putin’s Pre-emptive Strike: Kremlin Moves to Liquidate ‘Foreign Agents’

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – February 19, 2015) Activist Pavel Chikov could react only with sarcasm when a court handed down a winding up order against his Agora legal advocacy association. “As the first NGO ever to have been liquidated in a Russian court, we are so proud,” he wrote on Twitter. The next day, another organization, […]

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Russian Politicians Ask Khodorkovsky for Endorsement As Elections Near

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – February 18, 2016) Former oil tycoon turned opposition politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s pro-democracy foundation has received dozens of requests from members of Russia’s main political parties to endorse them during an upcoming parliamentary election this fall, the coordinator of Khodorkovsky’s Open Elections project said in comments published Wednesday. The requests that came in […]

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Can Russia’s ruling party restore its reputation ahead of the elections?

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

The federal election campaign in 2011 was the least successful to date for United Russia, which saw its reputation tainted by accusations of vote-rigging and fraud. How is Russia’s ruling party preparing for the upcoming elections in 2016 and can it repair its tarnished image among voters? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – February 11, […]

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Snap Elections Wouldn’t Change Russian Ruling Structure – Poll

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 11, 2016) If elections were held in Russia next weekend, Vladimir Putin would be re-elected president and the same political parties would be elected to the State Duma, the Kommersant newspaper reported Wednesday, citing the results of a recent poll. The survey carried out by the independent Levada Center pollster revealed that 53 percent […]

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Micromanaged Democracy: Russia’s Ruling Party Schools Candidates On Campaigning

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Robert Coalson – February 3, 2016) Elections for Russia’s State Duma, as well as a large number of local contests, are scheduled for September. And the ruling United Russia party wants to make sure its candidates are prepared for any awkward encounters with voters or journalists. The party has created a largely closed section on its […]

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Interfax: Putin has not yet decided whether he will run for president in 2018 – Peskov

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has not decided yet whether he will run for president in 2018, his press officer Dmitry Peskov said. The question as to whether Putin will nominate his candidacy in the upcoming elections arose in connection with the statements about the Russian president made by a White House official, who accused the […]

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Russia May Be Close to a Revolution But Not the One Opposition Hopes For, Sociologist Says

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, December 28, 2015) Given the increasing pessimism among Russians because of declines in their standard of living, Russia may be approaching a revolutionary situation, according to Yekaterina Dobrenkova; but the revolution may not succeed or it may turn out to be very different than the one the opposition hopes for. Earlier this […]

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NEWSWATCH CNBC: “Ex-Russia Fin Min [Kudrin]: We need ‘painful’ structural reforms”

Alexei Kudrin file photo

CNBC covers remarks by former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, citing the ongoing impact of oil prices while also noting a need for Russian economic reforms, stymied by political considerations. … Kudrin acknowledged the ongoing impact of … commodities … ‘The drop in GDP (gross domestic product) this year mainly has to do with the drop in oil prices – […]

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Moscow Times: Russians Less Keen for Democratic Transfer of Power

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 4, 2015) The number of Russians supporting regular democratic changeovers of political power is at its lowest point in recent history, a poll published Thursday showed, reflecting the popularity of President Vladimir Putin amid the patriotic fervor and increasingly strong rhetoric against foreign enemies surrounding Russian military actions in Ukraine and Syria. Forty-five percent […]

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United Russia primaries candidates must take part in debates – Medvedev

File Photo of Dmitry Medvedev with United Russia Logos Behind Him

MOSCOW. Oct 15 (Interfax) – All United Russia primaries candidates must take part in election debates, and it is wrong not to do so, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a joint meeting of the party’s supreme and general councils on Thursday. “The candidates must participate in the debates, maintain a position of their own and be able to […]

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Justice Ministry Refuses to Remove Elections Monitor Golos from ‘Foreign Agents’ List

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 8, 2015) Russia’s Justice Ministry has refused to exclude independent elections watchdog Golos from the list of “foreign agents,” the Vedomosti newspaper reported Wednesday. Golos said on Twitter back in July that the ministry had begun the process of removing it from the list. Ruling that its inclusion was an “error,” the ministry also […]

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: When Kremlin candidate loses election, even voters are surprised.

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Reuters covers a recent Russian regional election in which the ruling United Russia party suffered defeat. When Communist Sergei Levchenko beat the incumbent from President Vladimir Putin’s party to become governor of Irkutsk region in Siberia on Sunday, even the voters who backed him were surprised: the Kremlin doesn’t lose elections. The result is said to raise questions about the […]

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Russia’s Regional Elections Marred by Pressure on Observers, Fraud

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – September 14, 2015) Multiple violations were registered by independent elections watchdogs during Sunday’s regional elections across Russia, and in the most drastic development, the office of an observers’ organization was raided by police who said they had reason to believe it was a murder scene. The Central Elections Commission (CEC) said it […]

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Golos reports numerous electoral violations

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MOSCOW. Sept 14 (Interfax) – The movement Golos, which campaigns for voters’ rights, said in commenting on the outcome of the unified voting day that the elections in Russia had taken place with numerous violations, and that use of administrative technologies had been involved. “Bearing in mind the outcome of the public monitoring of the September 13 elections, we believe […]

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Interfax: United Russia loses four district head elections in Tomsk Region

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TOMSK. Sept 14 (Interfax) – Four United Russia candidates failed to win district head elections in the Tomsk Region, the party’s Tomsk regional secretary Sergei Ilyinykh told an Interfax press conference on Monday. “United Russia candidates won in six districts; independents won in four – Bakchar, Krivosheino, Zyryansky and Alexandrovsky,” he said. There are several reasons why the party’s election […]

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Russian Regions Prepare to Vote After Campaign of Tricks, Complacency

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – September 11, 2015) On Sunday, the governors of 21 Russian regions and more than 1,300 heads of small city administrations will be elected, together with deputies for 11 regional parliaments and 25 city legislatures. The nationwide elections, known as unified election day, are considered by some analysts to be a final rehearsal […]

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Poll shows three parties likely to be elected to next Russian parliament

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Interfax – September 3, 2015) With one year to go, half of Russian citizens have said they intend to vote in the next parliamentary election in Russia scheduled for 13 September 2016, according to an opinion poll conducted by Levada Centre. Thirty-one per cent have said they are “very likely” to vote and 19 per cent said they will “definitely” […]

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Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign

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Subject: Running for Office in Siberia: Part IV: History, Perspective and the Components of a Modern Campaign Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the […]

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Running for Office in Siberia

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Subject: Running for Office in Siberia Part III Date: Fri, 21 Aug 2015 From: Sarah Lindemann-Komarova <echosiberia@gmail.com> Running for Office in Siberia A series on the District #35 Election for Novosibirsk City Council: Part III: Becoming an Official Independent Candidate By Sarah Lindemann-Komarova [Founder, Siberian Civic Initiatives Support Center 1995 – 2014. Helped to establish this as the hub for […]

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Russian Opposition Cornered by Authorities in Regional Election Race

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 10, 2015) Attempts by the opposition’s Democratic Coalition to take part in upcoming regional elections have been thwarted by local election commissions’ refusal to register its members as candidates, in what analysts say is a concerted effort to nip opposition bids in the bud. The coalition, which consists of opposition firebrand […]

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Russian church spokesman calls for “rotation” of political elites

Archpriest Vsevolad Chaplin file photo

(Interfax – August 4, 2015) There should be a “rotation of elites” in Russia and young people should come to power, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin has said. He was speaking at a meeting with participants in the II International Interfaith Youth Forum in Izberbash (Dagestan), privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 4 August. “Today we need a […]

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Opposition Mayor of Russian City Refuses to Go Without a Fight

Petrozavodsk

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 3, 2015) In an office building in Russia’s northern city of Petrozavodsk, chance encounters between representatives of the mayor’s office and the local legislature who share the building are avoided at all costs. Petrozavodsk, capital of the republic of Karelia, is one of very few Russian cities with an elected mayor […]

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PARNAS supporters holding rally in Novosibirsk over election committee meeting on registering party lists

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NOVOSIBIRSK. July 27 (Interfax) – The rally permitted by the Novosibirsk mayor’s office of the supporters of the People’s Freedom Party For Russia Without Lawlessness and Corruption (PARNAS) is taking place in front of the Novosibirsk region’s government building on Monday, an Interfax correspondent reported. Five people are declared to participate in the rally, event organizer Vadim Sukhonenko said. “One […]

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Russian Election Monitoring NGO Golos Removed from Foreign Agents List

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – July 23, 2015) The Justice Ministry is revoking the registration of election-monitoring group Golos as a “foreign agent” and has refunded the fines the non-governmental organization has paid for refusing to register voluntarily, the group said. In a surprise announcement that followed searches at the organization’s offices and its employees’ homes earlier […]

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Kremlin chief-of-staff against moving Russian presidential election

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – June 20, 2015) It doesn’t make sense to move the 2018 presidential election to an earlier date, head of the Russian presidential administration Sergey Ivanov has said. “If you ask my opinion, I see absolutely no sense in this,” Ivanov said in an interview in the Vesti v Subbotu with Sergey Brilev programme on state-owned official Rossiya 1 […]

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Moscow Edges Closer to First Referendum Since Soviet Collapse

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – June 23, 2015) Moscow looks set to get its first referendum in post-Soviet times – and one of the burning issues on the ballot will be the restoration of a monument to the founder of the secret police to central Moscow. On June 11, the Moscow election committee approved the Communist Party’s […]

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Early Election Would Benefit Putin, Not Russia

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 18, 2015) Russia’s former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, came up with an interesting idea for turning Russia’s recent economic woes to the country’s advantage: moving up the scheduled 2017 presidential election. The problem with this suggestion — which may have been floated as a trial balloon with the Kremlin’s approval — is […]

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Kremlin Weighs Early Presidential Vote as Economic Worries Mount

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ott Ummelas, Henry Meyer – June 18, 2015) The Kremlin said experts will study the idea of calling early presidential elections, a move that could give Vladimir Putin a fresh term while his approval rating remains near a record high. “This is a new proposal,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on a conference call just […]

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Election Shifts Show Kremlin Wary Of Fallout From Recession

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, June 1, 2015) The Kremlin is moving to bring next year’s parliamentary elections forward and set up snap gubernatorial votes in several provinces this year, maneuvering that analysts say shows the authorities fear a deepening recession could weaken them and galvanize the opposition. The State Duma elections in December 2011 catalyzed the […]

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Russian Constitutional Court says election monitor not “foreign agent”

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2015) Russia’s Constitutional Court has again stated that a non-governmental organization (NGO) does not have to declare itself as a “foreign agent” if it has not used funds sent to its accounts from foreign sources, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 27 May. The court made the statement, published on its website, in response to […]

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Party led by Navalny can’t run in elections

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Interfax – March 30, 2015) The Moscow City Court has upheld the Justice Ministry’s refusal to include the Progress Party in the register of parties that have the right to run in elections, an Interfax correspondent has reported, citing a decision made by the judicial collegium on civilian cases read on Monday. The court declined the complaint filed by representatives […]

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‘Foreign Agent’ NGOs Won’t Be Allowed to Monitor Russian Elections

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 8, 2014) Russia’s Justice Ministry has worked out a procedure that would allow non-governmental organizations to remove themselves from the federal register of “foreign agents” if they appeal the move and pass a snap inspection, RIA Novosti reported Monday. The move comes days after President Vladimir Putin conceded that there were […]

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Fewer Russians Ready to Re-Elect Putin, Poll Shows

Putin Descending a Staircase file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 28, 2014) President Vladimir Putin’s rating has fallen for the first time this year, with a substantial drop in the number of those who say they are ready to re-elect him, a poll by the Levada Center showed Tuesday. While a poll in August showed 57 percent of respondents would vote for Putin if […]

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New reforms aim to make regions more independent

Map of Russia

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH- June 18, 2014) Russia is reorganizing the system for electing local government bodies and redistributing powers between federal and municipal authorities. However, the reforms are the latest in a long line of attempts to make regional government more effective, and some experts are sceptical. A reform is under way in […]

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