Putin party candidate killed by tycoon friend: probe

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A local candidate in Vladimir Putin's ruling party in northern Russia has died after being beaten by a tycoon friend he was visiting over the weekend, investigators said on Monday.

Innokenti Buchin, a candidate for the town of Tikhvin in Saint Petersburg's Leningrad region, was attacked in the home of a 39-year-old entrepreneur whose name was not revealed, the regional investigative committee said.

The businessman has been arrested and charged with causing injury with grievous intent. Buchin died of his wounds in hospital.

Putin's United Russia party is still expected to dominate December 4 elections to the State Duma lower house of parliament, which will be followed by a March presidential vote that is expected to return him to power for the third time.

He served two terms as president in 2000-2008 and could now retain a leadership role through 2024.

United Russia's popularity has slipped in recent months because of corruption allegations and a sense among a growing number of voters that lawmakers have unethically close ties to big business.

© 2011 AFP

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