RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – July 16, 2008

160708.jpgTODAY: Medvedev grants Putin foreign policy implementation rights, admits Russia has no independent judiciary; Khodorkovsky to seek parole?; 90th anniversary of Czar Nicholas II’s death; NATO calls Russia over Georgia. This week’s hardline foreign policy statements from Dmitry Medvedev are being taken as evidence that the new president “will not stray from the often contentious course set by his predecessor.” Crucially, the new foreign policy strategy “grants unprecedented rights to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin” to implement foreign policy measures, a role previously only granted to the president. It is being reported that former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who “has become a symbol of the country’s politicized legal system”, may request parole this week. The Justice Ministry has replaced Russia’s representative to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg twice in one month. Yulia Latynina on the Cherney/Deripaska case which is to be heard in London: “It is truly a sad testament to the current state of affairs when a London court considers Russia’s reputation as being worse than Cherney’s.

The Other Russia is quoting Medvedev’s recent comments at a conference on the judicial system, where he reportedly admitted that Russia has some way to go before it will have an independent justice system. A property dispute over joint venture Avtobaltservis, set up in 1991 with help from Putin, then-chairman of St. Petersburg’s foreign economic committee, and Medvedev, “could prove an interesting test case” in the battle against legal nihilism.Russian prosecutors have confirmed that remains found last year belong to Czar Nicholas II’s son and daughter. Tomorrow is the 90th anniversary of the Czar’s execution, and he is currently leading a poll to decide on the greatest Russian in history.NATO says that Russia’s military flights over Georgia call Moscow’s role as a peacekeeper and negotiator into question.PHOTO: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) opens a meeting as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stands up to speak at the Foreign Ministry, during the meeting with Russian Ambassadors to different countries in Moscow, July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko /Pool (RUSSIA)