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Russian president asked to investigate alien claims

Richard Galpin
BBC News, Moscow

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, leader of the Kalmykia region
Mr Ilyumzhinov made the claims in a TV interview

A Russian MP has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate claims by a regional president that he has met aliens on board a spaceship.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of the southern region of Kalmykia, made his claim in a television interview.

MP Andre Lebedev is not just asking whether Mr Ilyumzhinov is fit to govern.

He is also concerned that, if he was abducted, he may have revealed details about his job and state secrets.

The MP has written a letter to Mr Medvedev raising a list of his concerns.

In his letter he says that - assuming the whole thing was not just a bad joke - it was an historic event and should have been reported to the Kremlin.

He also asks if there are official guidelines for what government officials should do if contacted by aliens, especially if those officials have access to state secrets.

Mr Ilyumzhinov said in an interview on primetime television that he had been taken on board an alien spaceship which had come to planet Earth to take samples - and claims to have several witnesses.

He has been president of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years.

The millionaire former businessman has a reputation as an eccentric character.

As president of the World Chess Federation, he has spent tens of millions of dollars turning the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players - building an entire village to host international tournaments.



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