RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – July 28, 2008

280708.jpgTODAY: Russia trying to weaken NATO; the Cuban Missile Crisis of 2008; Russia puts military-purpose satellite into orbit, plans to strengthen navy; Foreign Ministry says Bush comments insulted veterans; Russia to remake Britain’s The Office. Russia has put together a set of proposals, which “clearly have no chance of being accepted by the United States”, that would weaken NATO and the OSCE and establish a broader security pact. Russia’s response to US plans for missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic is being called the new Cuban missile crisis. Russia will revive its navy by building several aircraft carriers and improving its fleet of nuclear submarines. Russian space rocket Soyuz-2 has put a “military purpose” satellite into orbit. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has responded to US President George Bush’s comments equating the evils of Soviet communism with Nazi fascism, saying that they were an insult to veterans of World War Two and would “feed the efforts of those, who for political and selfish ends are striving to falsify the facts and rewrite history”. US presidential candidate John McCain, meanwhile, says that prime minister Vladimir Putin is taking Russia down a “harmful”, autocratic path.

The Moscow Times says that President Dmitry Medvedev “should be commended” for speaking publicly about the sale of government posts. Racist crimes in Russia have increased sixfold in 2008. The Other Russia is reporting that a human rights advocate has been set free after being kidnapped, it alleges, by Russian law enforcement officers. Russia’s UN veto on Zimbabwe has “renewed the confusion in Western capitals as to who is really in charge in Moscow.”“As long as they do not threaten the Kremlin or its closest friends, it seems, Russian newspapers can be as raucous as they like.” Russia is the latest country to buy the rights to produce a version of British television comedy The Office.PHOTO: Members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate hold the portraits of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexi II, head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, before his visit for service near at the Monastery of Caves in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, July 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)