RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec 3rd, 2008

031208.jpgTODAY: NATO resumes relations with Russia – US position under scrutiny, Russia triumphant; Ukraine to set up special group to improve Russian relations; Bahrain and Russia to cooperate; Russia refuses to ban cluster bombs; Politkovskaya lawyer says the accused offered to turn himself in; Medvedev to crack down on unjust courts.

NATO ministers have agreed on a ‘conditional and graduatedresumption of contact with Russia after a punitive break following the Georgian war.  Georgia and Ukraine will be given assistance with building up their weapons supplies, but NATO membership is now so far offthat Moscow must be wondering what all the fuss was about‘.  This report sees the news as a ‘snub‘ to the US, another sees the US as ‘softening its stance‘.  Condoleezza Rice insisted that it was ‘not business as usual‘, but Dmitry Rogozin hailed NATO’s supposed prioritizing of its relationship with Russia.

Medvedev wants to reform the courts in an attempt to stem the embarrassingly high flow of people who, dissatisfied with Russian justice, are turning to the European Court of Human Rights.  ‘The Strasbourg court, and any international court, with all due respect, cannot and must not take the place of the Russian court system,he said.  

Ukraine does not blame Russia for the Holodomor famine, so why do so many Russians deny that it ever happened, wonders Yulia Latynina. ‘It seems that the closer a country is located to Russia, the worse Moscow’s relations are with that nation.‘  President Viktor Yushchenko has formed a ‘strategic group‘ to improve relations with Russia.  A meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa saw the two leaders identify nuclear energy and aluminum as two key sectors for cooperation, and Medvedev laid plans for Russia to hold a Middle East peace conference next year.  The 100 nations agreeing to sign a treaty banning cluster bombs do not include Russia or the US, who ‘refused‘.
A defense lawyer in the case of Anna Politkovskaya says that the man accused of the shooting offered to turn himself in earlier this year if he could be assured of an open trial by jury.  Moscow regional prosecutors are blaming an ice arena manager and a hockey club director for failing to coordinate proper emergency medical services before the game in which 19-year-old Russian hockey player Alexei Cherepanov died.

PHOTO: Portraits of slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya and two men accused in connection with her murder are attached to a map showing the area where she was killed, in a court in Moscow December 2, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov (RUSSIA)