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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov 6, 2015

TODAY: Putin and Medvedev stand by position that Egypt crash cause remains unknown; increase in allegations that Islamic State bombed the plane in retaliation for Syria strikes; airline regulator suspends flying certificates for 737s, may restrict airlines; Astakhov wants sex ed classes banned in Tyumen; pessimistic demographics; Russia’s banks still struggling; pro-Kremlin protesters on the rise.

The official Russian position is that the cause of the Russian passenger jet crash in Egypt last weekend remains unknown, but US President Barack Obama is the latest to add his voice to the theory that there was a bomb on board the plane, saying he believes it is a possibility. President Vladimir Putin slammed British Prime Minister David Cameron for failing to share intelligence that allegedly points to an Islamic State bomb being behind the crash; Putin also told Cameron not to jump to conclusions about the crash before the evidence has been released; a sentiment echoed by Dmitry Medvedev during a government meeting.  Former deputy prime minister and now ex-pat, Alfred Kokh, says Russia must admit that the crash was a terror attack by Islamic State, made in retaliation for air strikes in Syria.  If the terrorist attack theory carries, Putin will have to deal with this interpretation somehow; RFE/RL suggests a number of ways the Kremlin could handle this.  Russia’s airline regulator is suspending flying certificates for Boeing 737s in use in Russia in the wake of the crash, and proposed legislation would restrict the number of Russian airlines to just two or three.

Pavel Astakhov, the children’s ombudsman, has demanded that Tyumen, in Siberia, stop teaching sexual education classes in schools because they are ‘inappropriate’.  Most Russians will never reach the age of 71, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  Roughly 9% of Russia’s banks were shut down this year, Sberbank is offering free corporate banking services to those who have lost their lenders, and there’s no sign of conditions easing in the near future.  Journalist and liberal Mikhail Fishman is the new editor of the Moscow Times. The Economist profiles Sergei Shoigu, the Defence Minister, with specific focus on his relationship with Vladimir Putin and his mastery in serving in the government for over two decades  ‘without making any notable enemies‘.

A survey by a Russian social research center found a 12% increase in respondents who attended pro-government rallies since Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012.  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s statement regarding the news of Putin’s latest Forbes’ ranking was an equal mix of modest and boastful.  The New York Times reviews Steven Lee Myers’ new book about Putin’s rise to power.

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin poses for a photo with Leila Alieva, right, daughter of Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliev, in Moscow’s Kremlin, Russia on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2015, after an awarding ceremony. (Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)