Mayor Jailed in Cherkizovsky Case Returns to Work

A Moscow region mayor who was arrested last year on smuggling charges linked to a crackdown at Moscow’s Cherkizovsky Market returned to work Friday after being released on bail, RIA-Novosti reported.

Nikolai Rybkin, a retired colonel in the Federal Security Service, was elected mayor of Star City in late June 2009, three days after being arrested in Moscow on charges of smuggling goods from China to Cherkizovsky, which was once Europe's largest market but was closed in June 2009 amid a smuggling crackdown initiated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Rybkin was released by a Supreme Court ruling dated Aug. 2, senior Star City lawmaker Alexander Shipanov told RIA-Novosti.

The size of bail was 30 million rubles ($1 million), City-FM radio reported Saturday.

Rybkin has been charged with smuggling as part of an organized group and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Former cosmonaut Alexander Volkov had taken up Rybkin's duties after his arrest.

Star City houses the training center for the country’s space program and is also home to many retired cosmonauts. Visitors need a special pass to access even residential areas.

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