RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec. 26, 2007

261207.jpgToday: State corporations; GPS satellites launched and ballistic missiles tested; Lavrov discusses foreign policy; anti-globalists hold anti-luxury rally in St. Petersburg. The State Duma began passing laws to set up new state corporations in the autumn of 2007. The campaign for state corporations is “the logical conclusion of the first stage of the construction of capitalism in Russia”. At a meeting on the implementation of national projects, Dmitri Medvedev announced that “A free, educated and healthy person is the main thing that determines perspective for the country’s development now.

Russia launched three satellites into space to activate a global positioning system, with a view to fully developing a rival to the US GPS system before the European Union does. A Russian submarine in the Barents Sea successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile, hitting a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula. It was also reported that the RS-24, the missile tested, is capable of carrying at least three nuclear warheads. The maiden flight of Russia’s new passenger Sukhoi Superjet has been put back until next year.Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia expects Britain to take the initiative on improving bilateral relations. “We value our partnership with Britain. But it was they who took the first step in the creation of the current situation. So we expect from them another first step to rectify it.” Lavrov also spoke out about Iran’s nuclear program, saying that Moscow saw no economic necessity for Iran to continue to enrich uranium. “We are attempting to persuade the Iranians that the freezing of this program would be beneficial for Iran in as much as it would lead to immediate negotiations with the six [international negotiators], including the United States.” Speaking on foreign policy highlights for 2007, Lavrov said that US acceptance of the Russian proposal to share its Gabala radar base in Azerbaijan would lead to “an unprecedented level of partnership and co-operation”.“Anti-globalists” are planning to hold a “rally against luxury” in St. Petersburg this week. “Outlawed by Stalin in 1929, P G Wodehouse – or Pyelem G Vudhaus as he is known – has undergone a remarkable revival in Russia since the ban on his books was lifted in 1990.(PHOTO: Russia’s First Deputy Premier and presidential candidate Dmitry Medvedev smiles as he poses with children, who gathered for the New Year Party at the Grand Palace of Congresses in Moscow’s Kremlin on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service))