RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Aug 7, 2008

070808.jpgTODAY: New Arctic map to aid territorial disputes; torture accuser disappears in Chechnya; Dagestan newspaper shut down; Russia accuses Georgia of preparing for war; Solzhenitsyn’s funeral; Russia may move bombers to Belarus, pledges to give Iran more time. A new map has been designed to illustrate historical, ongoing and potential arguments about ownership in the Arctic, which Russia claims is largely part of its own territory. On the “Eurasianist” approach of the siloviki. More on the claim by the family of Nikita Khrushchev that his reputation is under attack. The Kremlin is developing “a sophisticated selection system” to help it find new bureaucrats. Russia’s foreign ministry says that Georgia’s actions in South Ossetia “can be regarded as war preparations,” and has accused Georgia of sending warplanes into the region overnight. A Georgian minister says he believes that Russia “really wants to deescalate the situation”. Russia has asked that Iran be given more time to consider a package of incentives offered by the US in exchange for Tehran halting its nuclear program, after Iran rejected the first round. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s UN ambassador, denied that the country would push for a new round of economic sanctions. Russia is threatening to move its bombers to the EU border in Belarus if Poland and the US agree on the former hosting a missile shield.

Watch a video of the funeral of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose death is continuing to generate column inches. “The old adage, “Regarding someone who has passed away, you should either say something positive or nothing at all,” is not applicable to Solzhenitsyn,” says a reporter at the Moscow Times.A man who publicly accused soldiers loyal to Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed President Ramzan Kadyrov of abducting and torturing him has disappeared. Human Rights Watch says his life could be in danger. Russian authorities have closed Chernovik, a newspaper in the southern republic of Dagestan, accusing it of spreading extremist views that “lionize terrorists”.PHOTO: A map showing maritime jurisdiction and boundaries in the Arctic region. (PA)