RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – April 3, 2008

030408.jpgTODAY: NATO summit to take place tomorrow, unlikely that invitations will be extended to Georgia and Ukraine. Russian reporter granted political asylum in the UK. Suspended official tries to link Berezovsky to Politkovskaya murder. Time to disband NATO? One British journalist says that Russia has “legitimate grievances” with the alliance. Is Moscow’s NATO strategy political or economic? UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has “sided with more cautious EU allies against President George Bush” over US support for the admission of the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. A NATO spokesman says he does not expect the two countries to be granted future membership at the alliance’s summit in Bucharest. One newspaper calls this a diplomatic failure for Bush.

Russia’s Transport Minister says Russia and Cuba need to rebuild trade ties that were severed after the fall of the Soviet Union.US presidential candidates “are increasingly playing the Russophobia card in their campaigns”. Dmitry Medvedev has called for the building of 1 million homes per year on “idle” federal land confiscated from ministries and agencies and held in a new state-run development fund.Yelena Tregubov, a Russian reporter who wrote a book critical of the Kremlin and later escaped a bomb explosion outside her Moscow flat has been granted political asylum by the UK. The suspended head of Russia’s Investigation Committee, Dmitry Dovgy, is claiming that Boris Berezovsky was behind the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.PHOTO: Map of NATO members and countries seeking to join. (AFP/Graphic)