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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 30, 2008

300408.jpgTODAY: Foreign Ministry threatens retaliatory measures for Georgia, denies it is preparing for military confrontation; Lithuania blocks Russia-EU progress; Boris Nemtsov’s white paper; Medvedev says Russian media has become “a bit boring” due to technological advances. The European Union’s foreign policy chief has warned Russia that its decision to send more peacekeepers to Abkhazia is “not wise”. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denies that the extra troops are being sent in preparation for a military confrontation, although Russia has warned it will retaliate if Georgia uses force against its breakaway regions. Meanwhile, “experts” at Russia’s Foreign Ministry have concluded that the video of a Georgian spy plane being shot down is “forgery”.

A report on Boris Nemtsov’s white paper on Vladimir Putin, which criticizes his administration for not using the oil windfall to modernize the country’s economy, army, health care, education and infrastructure. Medvedev has announced that Russia will not give up free medical care. In response to questions on whether the Kremlin has turned the press into an obedient mouthpiece, Dmitry Medvedev says the Russian media has become “a bit boring” because it is “more technologically sophisticated” than it was in the 1980s. One article focuses on yesterday’s Freedom House report on global media freedom. There are approximately a half million iPhone users in Russia, a country where Apple is not officially selling it. When Vladimir Putin leaves the Kremlin, his most prized memento will be a pen.The IMF’s new voting system will be “detrimental” to Russia. Lithuanian issues with Russia, including a broken pipeline and ill feeling over “frozen conflicts” are creating obstacles for EU foreign ministers seeking to improve relations with Russia. The Moscow Times has picked up on yesterday’s Radio Free Europe cyber-attack. Could Russia’s social networking sites be used to collect personal information? Russian women “have their sights on the super rich”?PHOTO: Russian tanks are seen during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in downtown Moscow, Tuesday, April 29, 2008. For the first time since the Soviet collapse, the May 9 Victory Day parade on Red Square will feature ballistic missiles, tanks, jets and other weapons in what will be a symbolic show of Russia’s resurgent military might. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)