RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 24, 2008

240408.jpgTODAY: Clashes during IOC visit in Sochi over housing. Military parade planned for May 9. Russia firm on support for Georgia’s breakaway regions. The Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church. Practice for a May 9 parade of Russian military hardware on Moscow’s Red Square, the first since the Soviet era, included over “100 tanks, rocket launchers and armored vehicles, flanked by 8,000 soldiers.” A retired colonel involved in the first parade in 1945 commented, “When you are dealing with other countries, you should not look weak.” A new television movie about Chechnya “has given viewers one more reason to believe Russia is under siege by foreign enemies with intricate conspiracies aimed at destroying their country.Holodomor: “an anniversary that Russia will not commemorate.” Despite calls by Western powers, Russia will not rescind its plan to strengthen ties with the breakaway Georgian regions, saying wants to promote their economic development, not annex them.

The International Olympic Committee tour of Sochi was disrupted when police clashed with residents protesting against plans to demolish their homes to make way for the 2014 Winter Olympics.In many areas, the Kremlin have turned the Russian Orthodox Church “into a de facto official religion.” What do Russians think about the ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin?Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov is in the process of developing Snob, a networking website for “upwardly mobile Russians”. “As a rule, these are generally not poor people,” said Prokhorov. A new website offers an online databaseproviding extensive confidential information about Russian citizens to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.PHOTO: A visitor walks past Andy Warhol’s artwork Skull, left, and Ladies and Gentleman, during a pre-sale viewing of modern art works displayed in Moscow, Wednesday, April 23, 2008, before they are due to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)