RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 14, 2008

140408.jpgTODAY: Putin to lead United Russia? Japanese Foreign Minister in Russia. GM activists; Supreme Court judge shot; Moscow to spend $64 on stray dog castration. Vladimir Putin’s acceptance of United Russia’s invitation to be its leader would “significantly entrench his power”. The Kremlin has not indicated whether Putin will accept. One UK journalist writes that the UK is the favored destination for Russian money because its regulations are less stringent than those of other countries. The article also accuses Angela Merkel of being “frightened of Russia’s control of Germany’s energy”. Japan hopes that a meeting with Russian foreign ministers will improve the chances of the two countries signing a peace treaty. The Japanese Foreign Minister started his Russian visit with a trip to the new Toyota factory in St Petersburg. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is to press US President George Bush to begin negotiations to renew the Start nuclear arms treaty with Russia, which expires next year. Dmitry Pankin, the Deputy Finance minister, announced that Russia’s decision to write off 93% of Iraq’s debt earlier this year “was made at the government level”.

Due to a rising number of attacks on the public, Moscow will spend $64 million castrating as many as 50,000 stray dogs. “Moscow’s 10.5 million residents are more likely to be attacked by a dog than by a mugger”.A high-ranking judge with the Supreme Court, who had presided over many corruption trials in Ingushetia, has been shot dead whilst changing a car tyre.The town of Chapayevsk has been so contaminated by weapons production over the years that its mayor wants the entire population relocated. A new play dramatizes the Dubrovka theatre tragedy of 2002. The wife of the “Merchant of Death” says that her husband “writes his own poetry”, and that the case against him is “fantasy”. Activists in Murmansk want a ban on GM products. Russia plans to build an orbital plant for the production of spacecraft.PHOTO: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meets U.S. President George W. Bush at Putin’s Black Sea summer retreat, Bocharov Ruchey, in Sochi, Russia, April 6, 2008. (Ria Novosti/KREMLIN/Vladimir Rodionov/Reuters)