RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec 12th, 2008

121208.jpgTODAY: Putin names mountain after KGB; crisis sparks worries of unrest; 90th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s birth; Poland modernizing its military; Russian troops leave Perevi.

An imagined scenario of what might happen as a result of the financial crisis, including protests and violence, has been branded an incite to extremism by Russian authorities – are the Kremlin’s fears legitimate?  This UK columnist thinks so: ‘The crisis threatens to reveal the glaring failure of Putin’s reign to take advantage of strong economic growth and relative stability to push forward with modernisation and reform.‘  An ‘ultraright‘ artist was booed after winning Russia’s top contemporary art award, the Kandinsky Prize, and this BBC report suggests that Russia’s nationalist groups could increase as a result of the financial crisis.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has named a peak in the Caucasus Mountains in honor of Russian spies.  The previously unnamed mountain has been named ‘the Peak of Russian Counterintelligence Agents‘.

On the 90th anniversary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s birth, the newly renamed Solzhenitsyn Street is causing administrative headaches for locals and ideological headaches for Communists.  The modernization of Poland’s military is, in part, due to the threat posed by a newly assertive Russia in the aftermath of the Georgian war, says the New York Times.  Russian troops have left the Georgian village of Perevi, ‘easing fears of confrontation in the area‘, following EU discussions with the Russian foreign ministry.

PHOTO: Russian Young Guards pro-Kremlin youth movement members wave flags as they gather for a demonstration in central Moscow, December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin (RUSSIA)