RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Aug 4, 2008

040808.jpgTODAY: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of The Gulag Archipelago, dies in Moscow; Yabloko party criticizes psychiatric repressions; Nevzlin given life sentence; Russians increasingly opposed to single-party system; violence in South Ossetia kills 6; Yekaterinburg. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” which documented the horrors of Soviet labor camps, has died at age 89. Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the Yabloko party, has spoken out against “the revival of psychiatric repressions in the country against people whose life philosophy is unacceptable to the authorities,” after an activist was put into psychiatric imprisonment for trying to prevent workers from cutting down a large group of trees. Former Yukos co-owner Leonid Nevzlin, having been charged on several counts of conspiracy to commit murder, has been sentenced to life in prison. Nevzlin’s responding statement, issued from Israel, said, “Just as in Stalin’s time, the goal of the Kremlin is to destroy its opponents by criminalizing them with false allegations.

According to new data from the Levada Center, an increasing number of Russians are opposed to a single-party system of government.“The prospect of expelling Russia from the Group of Eight, raised by US politicians on both sides of the aisle, could tilt Russian neutrality toward its partnerships with ‘rogue states’.” Russia has accused Georgia of using disproportionate force in South Ossetia and warned it not to aggravate the crisis there after six people died in a shootout with Georgian forces. South Ossetia is sending hundreds of its children to Russia in response to the increasing violence. A group of Russian Air Force personnel will fly to Sudan as part of Russia’s contribution to the UN mission there.A special report on Yekaterinburg’s tourism and Romanov connections. Dmitry Medvedev is on a “working holiday” this week. Advertising executives say that “using the president’s name has proved to be a smart business decision in Russia.PHOTO: In this Oct. 28, 1994 file picture, Alexander Solzhenitsyn speaks in the Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower chamber in Moscow, with the state flag in the background. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, File)