RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 5, 2011

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TODAY: Ella Pamfilova interview; trial looms for music critic; Medvedev signs off bribery punishment bill and approves rule of law policy; Khimki defenders beaten; Romania to host U.S. missile defense site; wood bison, former Miss Russia jailed.
RFE/RL interviews former head of the Presidential Commission on Human Rights, Ella Pamfilova, on the complexities of her former role and the ‘heavy price‘ she paid for attempting to stand up to United Russia in 2007.  The Guardian reports on the impending trial of music critic Artemy Troitsky, in which he could face jail for calling a Russian musician a ‘poodle for [Vladislav] Surkov‘. ‘The prosecution is being seen as much more than just a case of studded leather handbags.‘  President Dmitry Medvedev has signed off a bill that will see the ‘absolutely new punishment‘ of higher fines for those involved in bribery – up to 100 times the amount of the bribe, with a maximum fine of $18.3 million.  Medvedev has also approved a new state policy designed to improve the rule of law, not with immediate solutions but long-term focus on ‘stemming corruption and fighting nationalist and religious extremism by providing training to state and law enforcement officials‘.  The leader of the environmentalists defending Khimki Forest, Yevgenia Chirikova, says that two activists were beaten this week by ‘private security guards hired by [...] Teplotekhnik‘ for their attempts to prevent logging, which allegedly included setting a forest harvester on fire.  The U.S. is seeking to reassure Russia that a U.S. missile defense site, to be hosted in the town of Deveselu in Romania, does not post a threat.

30 wood bison have been shipped from Canada to Russia in a bid to boost species population and ‘recreate a long-vanished ecosystem‘.  Former Miss Russia Anna Malova has been jailed in New York over drugs-related charges. 
PHOTO: Female police cadets march for World War Two veterans during a celebration to mark the 66th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany at the Siberian Legal Institute in Krasnoyarsk, May 4, 2011. Around 250 veterans gathered to watch displays and remember their comrades. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin
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