RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Feb. 28, 2008

280208.jpgTODAY: Medvedev accusing of monopolizing airtime; inflation still a major issue; Russian MBAs increasing in popularity; Natalia Morari refused entry to Russia; billions of dollars to go into boosting Russia’s defense industry. Central Election Commission Chairman Vladimir Churov says that the Central Election Commission will summarize presidential election results on March 7. A UK journalist has given special attention to the corruption and fervor driving the upcoming election…of Voronezh’s new mayor. Dmitry Medvedev has been accused of monopolizing Russian airtime in the run-up to the elections, after he “clocked 17.3 times more airtime on NTV than that combined for the other three candidates.” The “shadow of inflation” continues to threaten Vladimir Putin’s economic legacy and complicate the decisions facing chosen successor Dmitry Medvedev. “It’s the biggest macroeconomic problem Russia faces right now.” The popularity of the Russian MBA is increasing. One journalist examines the links between UK and Russian business schools under the headline “Politics is ignored when business is concerned.”

Moldovan journalist Natalia Morari (or ‘Morar’ as she is referred to in the press), interviewed on this blog back in December after her forced exile from Russia, has been refused entry to the country on grounds that she is a “threat to national security.” The Rossia television station has come under fire in the Russian press for saying that Yugoslav Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic “deserved to be assassinated for “selling-out” to the West.”The US and India are in talks to join forces on a missile defense system, despite fears it could “trigger an arms race with China” and disrupt relations with Russia. Russia has pledged to spend billions of dollars on boosting its defense industry, especially the air force, “hoping to make a giant come-back in civil and military aviation”. A former US senator says that the US and Russia must take their weapons off high alert to avoid triggering a nuclear catastrophe by accident. The maintaining of some atomic weapons on levels of alert at which they could be launched within minutes is “absolutely unacceptable 17 years after the Cold War,” he said.PHOTO: A photograph shows a children’s drawing of a figure bearing resemblance to front-runner in Russia’s presidential election, Dmitry Medvedev, at an exhibition entitled ‘Draw the Future President’ in Moscow February 27, 2008. Russians vote for a new president on March 2. The Russian says: ‘Hail our worthy president. Elena Panferova, 16. ‘ REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski (RUSSIA)