RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Dec 9th, 2008

091208.jpgTODAY: Funeral for Patriarch Alexei II held today in Moscow – video; Solidarity member to step down after receiving government post; Transparency International bribe survey; Aleksanyan case not a sign of a shift in government stance; nanomania hits the Kremlin.

The results of a new survey of senior business executives from around the world by Transparency International revealed that companies based in Russia are the most likely to pay bribes to win business in other countries.  In the latest development of the Kremlin’s ‘nanomania‘, or obsession with promoting nanotechnology, Anatoly Chubais has announced a war on ‘nanothieves‘ – ‘We will implement a system of standards to weed out swindlers who use the term ‘nano’ in the names of their companies and products just to get the attention,‘ Chubais explained.  Nikita Belykh is to give up his membership of the new ‘Solidarity’ democratic party currently being set up in Russia, after receiving an offer of a governor post in the Kirov region. 

Today’s hours-long funeral for Patriarch Alexei II, former head and builder of the Orthodox church, saw crowds and traffic ‘jam the streets‘ of Moscow.  The BBC has some video footage of the proceedings, attended by both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, which were broadcast live on Russian television.

The case of Vasily Aleksanyan, who is to be released on bail, ‘should not be interpreted as a sign that the authorities are easing their tough stance on Yukos,‘ says a political analyst.  ‘Keeping him in custody now could turn out to be more expensive for the Kremlin than letting him out.

PHOTO: Police form a cordon outside Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral where clergymen hold a funeral service for Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II, December 9, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov (RUSSIA)