TODAY: Markelov murder decried by Duma; Novaya Gazeta wants firearms for its journalists; Bakhmina case opened to possible early release; United Russia to rally public; OSCE confident of Russia deal; Lenin protesters detained.
Members of the Duma, the Communist and the United Russia parties have added their voices to widespread condemnation of the murders of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper at which Baburova worked, is to ask the Federal Security Service to issue arms licenses to its staff as a measure of protection. The Mordovian Supreme Court has overturned a lower court’s refusal to free Yukos lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina, opening up the possibility that she could be granted an early release, although there will be no ruling for at least three months. In what is being called a contract killing, the head of a private company has been shot dead by unknown assailants in northwest Moscow. The Other Russia has picked up on a story from earlier this week, saying that Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party is planning to stage street rallies to drum up public support for the authorities.
The head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is confident of reaching a deal with Russia to prevent the collapse of its monitoring in Georgia. Is Medvedev’s forthcoming visit to Uzbekistan about strengthening bilateral trade and energy ties, or maintaining political interests?
To mark yesterday’s 85th anniversary of the death of Lenin, 25 people planning a Moscow protest were detained by police. ‘The group had intended to dress up as mummies and demonstrate outside the mausoleum with a cardboard coffin. Media reports described the group as Orthodox monarchists who want Lenin buried as an ordinary person.’ If ‘art doesn’t have boundaries,’ Russian works should have no trouble selling in Ukraine…
PHOTO: With a policeman’s boots seen in the foreground, people lay flowers Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, at the site in Moscow where human-rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburov were gunned down the previous day. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)