RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec 24th, 2008

241208.jpgTODAY: Russia to increase number of nuclear missiles; Duma to raise ‘financial literacy’, comedians avoiding the crisis; Russia wants UN corruption officials out; Nikita Belykh, Anna Politkovskaya.

The State Duma is in the process of creating a state program for 2009 that will raise the level of financial literacy in society, supposedly guarding against further financial crises by ‘raising the population’s level of trust in the banking system‘.  But there are worse jokes, particularly amongst Russian comedians who are steering clear of making any overly insightful gags about the crisis.  The Russian government is seeking to oust a senior UN corruption investigation team as revenge for their probes into a Russian diplomat and national, and supposedly as part of a larger push to thwart aggressive investigations.

Part of Russia’s defense procurement package for 2009-2011 will see a fourfold increase in strategic nuclear missiles and a 28% increase in arms spending.  Russia plans to station missiles in Belarus if the US goes ahead with its plans for a missile defense shield in Poland.  Read a special report on Nikita Belykh’s government appointment and his plans to be ‘an apolitical governor‘.  A lawyer for a suspect in the killing of Anna Politkovskaya has questioned the soundness of the prosecution’s case.  Where does the Russian government want you to go for your current affairs updates?

PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gives a doll to 9-year-old Dasha Varfolomeyeva in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow on Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)