At the Kremlin meeting with the president of Russia on October 23 the leaders of the State Duma associations expressed interest in the head of state's opinion of the case launched by the Prosecutor-General's Office against abuses by Minister of Railways Nikolai Aksyonenko. After the conversation with the president speaker of the lower chamber - the State Duma - Gennady Seleznyov said that Vladimir Putin, commenting on the fact of the filing of a criminal case against Aksyonenko, said that if the prosecutor's office has materials it can open a criminal case, since it is entitled to do so. As Seleznyov noted, the president also stressed that this question should " be approached seriously", because the matter concerns a Minister. On Monday the Prosecutor-General's Office said that the criminal case on the facts of the abuses in the Railways Ministry had been filed on October 9, 2001. A number of investigative actions were taken on this case, and a number of witnesses, among them six Deputy Ministers, have already been interrogated. On Friday, October 23, Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko was called in to the Prosecutor-General's Office where a charge with excess of official powers under Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation which did damage to the state to a sum total of over 70 million roubles was filed against him.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea