TODAY: Putin will not attend G8 summit; Medvedev to take his place. President evokes Russia’s moral right to determine foreign policy due to WW2 experiences. Hackers attack President’s website; Navalny and Udaltsov face two weeks in jail; opposition anger mounting; Sukhoi Superjet crashes whilst on promo tour in Indonesia, all 47 on board feared dead
President Putin has announced he will not attend this month’s G8 meeting in Maryland due to the necessity to finalize his cabinet. He will send Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in his place. In a telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama, both leaders agreed to continue the ‘reset’, Ria-Novosti reports. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the G20 summit in Los Cabos at the end of June, which Mr Putin is expected to attend. Putin used yesterday’s Victory Day address to emphasize Russia’s ‘great moral right to stand up determinedly for our positions’ because of the suffering the country experienced at the hands of the Nazis. Video footage of the celebration can be seen here. The Moscow Times interviews war veterans from Volgograd. It may have been Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov’s last time flanking Putin at the commemoration as it widely believed he will soon be relieved of his duties.
Hacking group Anonymous has fulfilled its promise to temporarily block President Vladimir Putin’s web site. Blogger Alexei Navalny and left-wing leader Sergei Udaltsov have both received 15-day sentences for disobeying police in the recent protests. Around 50 opposition activists remain in Chistye Prudy in Moscow, ITAR-TASS reports. Apparently hundreds of protestors joined the Victory Day march in the capital. Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky gathers views from an increasingly irate movement. ‘If you people behind the red wall don’t realize [the need for reform], then the protesters with white ribbons and balloons will soon be completely replaced by ones with Molotov cocktails‘: the words of socialite and anti-Putin protestor Ksenia Sobchak. ‘As a piece of steel is formed by blows from the blacksmith’s hammer, the oppression of the authorities at each successive rally will forge the leaders of this revolution‘ says Yulia Latynina, whom she names as Navalny, Udaltsov and Ponomaryov. The Washington Post has an animation entitled ‘regime change’ here.
In a further blow to the reputation of Russia’s aeronautical industry, a Sukhoi Superjet 100, Russia’s first all-new passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union, has crashed in Indonesia. All 47 passengers are feared dead. The jet was on a promotional tour. It had been reported earlier in the day that Pakistan’s Air Indus had shown an interest in buying eight of the new jets: how the company will now feel remains to be seen.
PHOTO: In this photo released by Indonesian Air Force, the wreckage of a missing Sukhoi Superjet-100 are scattered on the mountainside in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Indonesian Air Force)