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Kazakh Authorities Order Opposition Newspaper to Close

Kazakhstan's Information Ministry has ordered a popular opposition newspaper to close.

In ordering the closure, the ministry accused the Respublika newspaper of inciting ethnic hatred by publishing an interview with a prominent Russian politician who made disparaging remarks about Kazakhs.

The paper's deputy editor Galina Dyrdina called the closure order politically-motivated, and vowed to appeal. The newspaper has been dogged by lawsuits and attacks, including a firebombing.

Government critics in Kazakhstan say the order is part of a crackdown on free media ahead of possible presidential elections in December.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ruled the former Soviet Republic since its independence in 1991, and is expected to run again in December.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters.