RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – July 14, 2008

140708.jpgTODAY: Medvedev vetoes Zimbabwe sanctions; British press attacks Russia over spying allegations and possible nuclear weapons plans; in-depth look at corruption; Reverend Philip Miles returns to the US; Communist Party still fighting; Georgia vows to shoot down Russian fighter jets. Dmitry Medvedev is Russia’s “first post-Soviet leader”, says one British journalist, taking Russia’s side against “creeping expansion of the American military empire.” Another defends Russia against “furious public finger-pointing” over its refusal to vote for United Nations’ sanctions for Zimbabwe, which has drawn criticism from the US and UK. The US ambassador to the UN said, “the U-turn in the Russian position is particularly surprising and disturbing … [and] raises questions about its reliability as a G8 partner,” and the British foreign secretary called the veto “incomprehensible”, although one article defends the move, saying that sanctions are “ineffective”. One journalist speculates that new Russian allegations of British spying are just “part of the usual tit for tat”. Another is concerned that “Russia is thinking of aiming nuclear weapons at western Europe for the first time since the end of the cold war.

The Washington Post has published a study of corruption in Russia. Medvedev has announced that a new anti-corruption plan will be signed in the near future. American pastor Philip Miles has returned home after being imprisoned in Russia, accused of smuggling. US presidential candidate Barack Obama opposes excluding Russia from the G8. The Communist Party’s effort to have the results of last year’s election annulled “demonstrates that Medvedev’s entire power structure rests on a foundation of legal nihilism that cannot be challenged without grave consequences for the ruling elite.”Georgia has promised to shoot down any further Russian fighter jets that violate its airspace. Moscow has refused requests to seek international arbitration over the conflict.PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, foreground, and parliament factions’ leaders, from left clockwise in the background, Boris Gryzlov of United Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovsky of Liberal Democratic Party, Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party and Sergei Mironov of Just Russia, take a walk at Zavidovo residence, 100 kms (62.5 miles) north of Moscow, Saturday, July 12, 2008. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)