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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec 4, 2015

TODAY: Putin threatens Turkey during State of the Nation address; Lavrov complains of no progress in communication with his Turkish counterpart; Erdogan says Turkey has proof of illegal Russian-IS oil trade; Navalny vows to sue Prosecutor General; charter flights market shrinking; Novak slams Nord Stream expansion; Pavlensky denied bail.

President Vladimir Putin gave his State of the Nation address yesterday, focusing mainly on Turkey and only ‘poking the Americans in the eye once,notes Reuters. ‘As Putin droned on into the second half hour of his speech, state-run Channel One showed numerous officials in the audience with shut eyes.’  Putin also took the opportunity to threaten a ‘delusional’ Turkey that it would regret shooting down a Russian plane nine days ago. ‘We know what to do.’  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hasheard nothing new’ from his Turkish counterpart since the jet incident.  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Russia of being involved in an illegal oil trade with Islamic State in Syria, and claiming that Turkey ‘ha[s] the proof in our hands’. Alexei Navalny says he will take Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to court for slander, and defended his earlier statements accusing Chaika of involvement in a fraudulent business scheme.

The market for charter flights in Russia is expected to shrink by 40% by the end of this year, year-on-year.  Turkey’s low-cost airline reported a 70% plummet in passenger traffic to and from Russian cities. Russia restored power supplies to Crimea yesterday, ending an 11-day blackout.  Energy Minister Alexander Novak says Europe’s plan to expand the Nord Stream pipeline system is politicised.  A new, widely unpopular truck road tax has already raised $11.9 million since its introduction last month.  Newsweek describes Russia’s style of statecraft as ‘trolling’.

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky has been denied bail following his vandalism charge for setting fire to the street entrance of the FSB building last month.  Television presenter Pavel Lobkov hopes his public declaration of his HIV-positive status will raise awareness about the disease.  Just how many different Vladimir Putins are there these days? Somewhere around three to six, apparently.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Putin says Russian military in Syria has been fighting for Russia’s security. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)