RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 12, 2008

120608.jpgTODAY: Medvedev speech at Moscow media conference calls for Cyrillic internet domains, media freedom and overhaul of European security; Moscow tabloid The eXile shuts down after investors pull out; Condoleezza Rice says US has no common values with Russia; racial tension; Sevastopol. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at a Moscow media conference, called for Russia to be assigned an Internet domain name in the Cyrillic script as part of a Kremlin drive to promote Russian as a global language. He also pledged that his administration will ensure media freedom and respect for human rights, and called for a sweeping overhaul of European security. His comments did not reassure investors of Moscow’s English-language tabloid The eXile, however. The newspaper is shutting down after its investors became “frightened” by a government inspection and withdrew their funding. A Duma group is suggesting that a new set of press regulations should be put together, as the current Act on Mass Media has remained unchanged since 1991.

An essay by Condoleezza Rice says that America’s “relationships with Russia and China have been rooted more in common interests than common values,criticizing Moscow’s rhetoric and energy policies. Comments by a US senator are giving the impression that the White House regards Russia’s increasing wealth as a threat to national security, according to one Russian newspaper.Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia will increase its contribution to the development of Sevastopol, the main base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which Ukraine reportedly wants removed. A former employee of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. has gone on trial in Germany accused of giving secrets to the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.A video circulating in Russia of the killing of two men is drawing attention to the country’s growing problem of violence against ethnic minorities. RFEL are running a story on their view that Russia’s media play a key role in fanning racial tension. A new survey by consulting firm Mercer says Moscow’s quality of life for expatriates is one of Europe’s most miserable, while personal safety is the worst on the continent.Following a London auction that did not meet expectations, dealers and collectors say Christie’s estimates for Russian art are too high.PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attends a media congress in Moscow, Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Medvedev said Wednesday he was ‘moderately optimistic’ about relations with the United States, saying the Kremlin is prepared to work with whoever succeeds President Bush. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)