RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Feb 13th, 2009

130209.jpgTODAY: IT revolution and pollution on the government’s agenda; Maria Sergeyeva: polarizing the blogosphere; Rogozin baits NATO; US-Russia space collision creates debris; schoolteacher may be fired for protesting.

President Dmitry Medvedev has ‘scolded’ the government for being slow to introduce electronic filing and storage procedures aimed at reducing the consumption of paper, and Moscow’s Mayor Yury Luzhkov has turned his attention to automobile emissions and forest conservation.  A new report from the Eurasian Development Bank reveals that 44% of Russians live in areas with serious air pollution.  Maria Sergeyeva, ‘the new face of the country’s patriotic youth and a polarizing figure in the Russian-language blogosphere,’ bases many of her criticisms of the opposition on their physical appearances, wants immigrants to ‘go home’ and knows ‘for certain’ that President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will ‘protect’ her from the financial crisis.  Yulia Latynina reportedly accused her of being ‘paid by United Russia’.  On Russia’s recent history of toadyism

The Federal Drug Control Service blames NATO‘s failure to stamp out heroin production in Afghanistan for a rise in domestic drug use.  Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin said that the military alliance’s efforts to rebuild relations with Moscow amounted to an apology and recognition it needs Russian assistance in conflict zones. ‘Of course, they do not want to apologize for what happened and what was said about us, but that would be difficult to expect from them, on the whole,’ said Rogozin, who is not one for temperate views, particularly regarding NATO.

Space officials in Russia and the United States are trying to track hundreds of pieces of debris created by the collision of a US satellite and a defunct Russian military satellite earlier this week.  A schoolteacher in Nizhny Novgorod is reportedly being pressured to leave her job after being arrested at an anti-Kremlin protest.

PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, speaks with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin during a visit to an oil refinery in the town Kirishi, near St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)