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Laid-off Russian analyst 'asks North Korea for economic asylum'


ST. PETERSBURG, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - A communist group in St. Petersburg says it has received a letter from a local economic analyst who recently lost his job and wants their support in his claim for "economic and political asylum" in North Korea.

A spokesman for the Communists of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region said that Alexei Lebedev, who worked as a political and economic analyst in the St. Petersburg administration's financial committee, says he wants a new life in a "modest but fair" communist state, as he is tired of capitalism and the "everyday pile of unpaid bills."

The group, which is not linked to the much larger Communist Party of Russia, gets regular coverage in the Russian media for its outlandish statements.

Last month the communists called for statues of Vladimir Lenin's wife and mistress to be placed on each side of the communist leader's statue in St. Petersburg. The group has also accused sport and film stars who work in the West of betraying their motherland.

The sacked analyst reportedly plans to send an official asylum request to the North Korean Embassy in Moscow, and personally to communist leader Kim Jong-Il, and has asked the local communist group to support a swift consideration of his request.

The organization said in a statement: "Having considered Lebedev's request, the leadership took the decision to ask comrade Kim Jong-Il, North Korean representatives and the glorious Workers Party of North Korea for a positive consideration of the request from Lebedev and other managers affected by the capitalist crisis."

The organization also voiced concern over the growing number of Russian employees leaving the country, and said it would ask the Russian president to take preventative measures.

The communists also said Lebedev will have to pass a test on North Korea's history and communist doctrine, and will receive training for this if necessary.

According to official statistics, more than 2 million people are currently unemployed in Russia.

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