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Russian Writer Linked to Kremlin Flees Moldovan Charges

Bagirov

A Russian writer placed under house arrest in Moldova in June for purportedly participating in public clashes in Chisinau in 2009 said Thursday that he has fled to Moscow, RIA-Novosti reported.

Eduard Bagirov, who gained fame with his 2007 best-selling novel "Gastarbaiter," depicting a migrant worker in Moscow, fled after a court ruled to place him in custody for 30 days, the report said.

Moldovan authorities are expected to place him on an international wanted list.

Bagirov faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty of taking part in an organized criminal group and in mass disorder — allegations linked to unrest in April 2009 when an angry crowd attacked the presidential administration and government buildings in Chisinau.

In late September, the Russian Embassy in Chisinau complained to the Moldovan Foreign Ministry that Bagirov was being kept under arrest illegally and was being subjected to psychological pressure.

Moldovan prosecutors also have criticized Bagirov for his literary web site Litprom.ru, which he co-founded in 2002 with writer Sergei Minayev. Prosecutors said Litprom.ru was "pseudo-literary" and aimed at "forming public opinion in Russia and the CIS," the local edition of Kommersant reported last week.

Some media reports have suggested that Bagirov and Minayev are closely allied with Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin's ideologist and first deputy chief of staff.

Bagirov also made headlines in February 2008, when he punched Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin in the face at a Moscow cafe after Kashin verbally insulted him.

Now back in Moscow, Bagirov plans to sue Moldova's prosecutor general and acting president and finish writing a book about his adventures in Moldova, RIA-Novosti said.

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