RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Jan 15th, 2009

150109.jpgTODAY: Ukraine and Russia to meet, Barroso decries lack of gas resolution, both sides continue to apportion blame. World Economic Forum to see mass protests; Putin takes up painting.

The governments of Ukraine and Russia have agreed to meet this Saturday in Moscow to try and resolve the gas dispute, but Europe, meanwhile, is responding angrily to the ongoing lack of resolution.  EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso called the crisis unacceptable and incredible’, and said that both Moscow and Kiev have blown their credibility as energy suppliers to Europe.  The blame game continues.  Gazprom refers to Naftogaz’s systematic lame excuses’.  The British press blames Russia: ‘Tuesday’s ceremonial reopening of the taps that Gazprom should never have turned off was a propaganda stunt, no more.’  ‘If Russia has alienated even Bulgaria, its staunchest supporter within the European Union – but this week its bitter critic – then it really has problems.’  Meanwhile voices in the Russian press continue to talk about ‘the manipulation of Europe by the Ukrainian government’.

This month’s annual World Economic Forum in Davos will see a ‘major anti-capitalist demonstration’, with protesters planning to blame Vladimir Putin, among other world leaders, for the current global financial situation.  A new report from Human Rights Watch calls Russia ‘an opponent of human rights enforcement’.  Opposition coalition The Other Russia is planning a Day of Dissent in Moscow for January 31st. 

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s latest interest has created a mild media stir, with one art criticnoting ‘the confidence with which those curtains are drawn’

PHOTO: Vladimir Putin stands next to one of his artistic creations. (Photo: TASS)