RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Jan. 14, 2008

140108.jpgTODAY: Medvedev on tour; the British Council continues to defy orders from the Russian government and the UK ambassador has been summoned by the foreign ministry; Russia to boost overseas image; Russia and Ukraine are keen for economic cooperation; Russia’s super-rich in the UK press. We must revive the Navy,” said First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev during a visit to a fishing trawler in the Barents Sea port of Murmansk, saying he hoped that Russia would become “a full-fledged naval power.”

We will try to make this business as usual,” said a spokesman for the British Embassy, regarding the British Council’s St. Petersburg office’s intentions to re-open as usual this week. The Russian foreign ministry has summoned the UK ambassador in connection with the reopening. A Russian foundation “devoted to democracy and human rights” is to open in New York, partly with the intention of improving Western perceptions of Russia. Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense missile systems are to be initially deployed in central regions of the country. Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko announced over the weekend that the governments of Ukraine and Russia would like the bilateral committee on economic cooperation to start working as soon as possible.David Linley, the nephew of Queen Elizabeth, is in talks with Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachev, who reportedly has close links to Vladimir Putin and who is known as “the cashier to the Kremlin”, about selling a multi-million-pound stake in his bespoke furniture and interiors business. A deal between the two “would ease his entrée to British high society [and] deepen the ties between members of the royal family and the Russian super-rich.” One British newspaper is running a special story on London-based Dasha Zhukova, glamorizing Russia’s wealthy young talent, and another is running a story on “the Madonna of Moscow”, who supposedly boasts Vladimir Putin as a fan.PHOTO: Singer Iosif Kobzon and former gymnast Alina Kabayeva looking at souvenirs during the Duma’s first session on Friday. (Misha Japaridze / AP)