Got this off http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2004Feb10.html
He has been found. Although I have to wonder about his relationship with his wife... just taking off like that and not notifying her? *shrug*
Missing Russian Presidential Candidate Located
By Jim Heintz
The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 10, 2004; 1:32 PM
MOSCOW -- In a bizarre twist to Russia's presidential campaign, a candidate who vanished last week surfaced Tuesday in Ukraine, saying he was surprised by all the fuss that his disappearance had caused.
Ivan Rybkin, a critic of President Vladimir Putin, had been missing since late Thursday after being dropped off outside his Moscow home, according to his wife and campaign staffers.
But his staff reported Tuesday evening that he had turned up in Ukraine, and Rybkin told the Echo of Moscow radio station, "I haven't disappeared anywhere."
"I decided not to listen to the radio and TV" for a few days, Rybkin said. "I decided to go to Kiev to visit friends."
Rybkin, 57, said he was "shocked" when he read Russian newspapers on Tuesday and saw that his absence was being given wide attention.
Staff members said he was planning to return to Moscow by plane later Tuesday.
Rybkin's wife and staff had filed a missing-person report Sunday, the day after his candidacy for the March 14 presidential election was approved by the Central Election Commission.
"I have the right to two or three days of private life," Rybkin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
"Last week, I decided to take a break from the fuss around me. I left fruit and money for my wife, who now is occupied with the grandchildren, but didn't say anything to her, changed my jacket, got on the train and left for Kiev," he said, according to Interfax.
Rybkin was a national security chief under former President Boris Yeltsin, the ex-speaker of Russia's lower parliament, a participant in failed negotiations with Chechnya's rebel leadership in 2002, and a close associate of one of Putin's most vocal foes, self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky.
While the mystery around his disappearance was swirling, political observers suggested several possibilities: that his disappearance was staged as a political gimmick aimed at destabilization ahead of the election, that he fell victim to intrigues within the Berezovsky-funded Liberal Russia party, or that he was targeted in a politically motivated attack by the Russian security services.
Prosecutors opened a murder investigation into Rybkin's disappearance Monday -- and then immediately closed it, citing a lack of evidence. Hours later, a lawmaker declared that friends in the security services informed him that Rybkin was found "alive and healthy" at a resort outside Moscow. But police and Rybkin's lawyer, Marina Savateyeva, denied that.
Liberal Russia leaders have said it would be unlike Rybkin to stage his disappearance as a public relations move, as some Berezovsky critics have suggested. A longtime critic of Russian security services, Berezovsky pointed the finger at them again, hinting in an interview published Monday in the daily Kommersant that they know something about Rybkin's disappearance.
Berezovsky told Echo of Moscow on Tuesday that he had spoken to Rybkin after he turned up and that Rybkin told him that he had been tired and went to Ukraine to visit friends.
He said he told Rybkin that "it's cool to spend time with friends, of course, but the whole world has been standing on its ears for a few days" -- meaning that many people had been wondering about his fate.
Berezovsky, who has been granted asylum in Britain and lives there, said he had always known Rybkin to be a "very responsible" person and added that "if it turns out that this was an escapade, then (Rybkin's) political career is over."
© 2004 The Associated Press