RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Jan. 30, 2008

300108.jpgTODAY: Medvedev calls on Russian lawyers. Communist Zyuganov accuses Medvedev of undermining the election. Nashi is targeted by Estonian immigration as it is reported that its activities could be wound up. Journalist who blackmailed Deripaska is arrested. An Etonian Kremlin leader? Dmitry Medvedev, a lawyer by training, has called on the Association of Russian Lawyers to take a more prominent role in society and to battle the “legal nihilism” he says grips the country. The campaign leader of Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov has accused Medvedev of undermining the election with his refusal to join televised debates and threatened that Zyuganov could follow suit. “In a democratic state, a candidate’s withdrawal from debates would have meant his withdrawal from the race,” he said.

The BBC has profiled the four presidential candidates here. Nashi, the pro-Putin activist youth group set up by the Kremlin, could be wound up after the next presidential election for having “come to the end of [its] usefulness.” Estonia has blacklisted several Nashi protesters, preventing them from traveling through the country, and subsequently also through much of Europe.“Most people who manipulate elections usually try to pretend otherwise. Mr. Putin does not even bother.”Police have detained a journalist whose gambling addiction cost him his fortune for attempting to blackmail Basic Element owner Oleg Deripaska for $42,000. Sports governing body Fisa has fined Russia’s rowing federation $60,000 and banned it for a year, following seven doping offences committed by Russian oarsmen in 12 months. Russia’s Security Council will meet to decide how to streamline laws to combat environmental harm and clean up some of its more polluted sites.“England’s Eton may school a Kremlin leader”?PHOTO: Russian presidential candidate and First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is seen in St. Petersburg January 27, 2008. President Vladimir Putin’s chosen successor, Medvedev, has refused to meet his rivals for the presidency in live television debates ahead of the March 2 election. REUTERS/Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti