RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec 11th, 2008


TODAY: Abkhazia struggling under Russian influence?; EU and US can’t agree on Russia; Piontkovsky article; Russia adds Nicaragua to its Latin American portfolio; blogger accused of ‘satanism’.

An opinion survey of ‘transatlantic trends‘ suggests that, whilst Europe and the US are equally concerned over Russia’s growing power, there is little agreement on how to deal with that power.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has suggested that Russia is ready to build a ‘common economic space‘ with the US and Europe, if all sides are on equal footing.  The EU has added its voice to criticism of Russian authorities’ raid of the offices of human rights group Memorial.  Read a translation of an article by Andrei Piontkovsky on his recently being acquitted of charges of extremism, in which he discusses Russia’s coming ‘thaw from below‘.  What is the ‘true weight‘ of Russia?  Hard to tell when it is constantly being over or underestimated, says this columnist.

A day after President Dmitry Medvedev and the Argentine President Cristina Fernandez called for a world not dominated by the United States, the Russian navy has announced that its ships will visit Nicaragua as part of their Latin American mission.  

This evaluation of Abkhazia’s relationship with Moscow, implying that the gains offered in protection are somewhat outweighed by heavy military presence and a strong cultural influence.  A Russian ‘internet personality‘ who called a decree canceling radio and television entertainment programs during the funeral of Patriarch Alexy II an ‘insult‘ to his ‘atheist sensibilities’ has been accused of fomenting religious discord.

PHOTO: A woman tries on a fur coat at a fur fair in Moscow December 10, 2008. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin (RUSSIA)