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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 25, 1998


Americans everywhere join people across Russia in mourning the murder of Russian parliamentarian Galina Starovoytova. Through her work as a deputy in the State Duma, as an adviser to President Yeltsin, and as an early advocate of political change in Soviet times, Ms. Starovoytova made an immeasurable contribution to the development of democratic values and institutions throughout Russia. This tragic crime represents an assault on the Russian people's aspirations to build a society that is peaceful, tolerant and governed by the rule of law. It is a terrible loss for friends of democracy around the world.

In recent days, the outpouring of grief in Ms. Starovoytova's beloved St. Petersburg and throughout Russia has testified to the enduring strength of the values she championed throughout her career. In mourning her loss, Russians and Americans are reminded of the importance of sustaining democracy and civility even at the most difficult times. Indeed, we are troubled by recent expressions of anti-Semitism and extremism in Russia, and we will continue to stand with those who, like Ms. Starovoytova, have been leading Russia toward a more pluralistic, more tolerant future. Our thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends.