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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 17, 2008

170608.jpgTODAY: World Bank President visits Russia, praises economy, criticizes inflation; Putin says government funds are stalled; Russia boosts military presence in Central Asia; gifts for officials to be banned; Russians in Dubai. Robert Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, has been in Russia, and the Moscow Times sees him as full of praise for the country’s economic performance. But according to Bloomberg, Zoellick also issued a warning, saying that growth was dependent on the curbing of inflation. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned against delays in allocating this year’s $30 billion fund to a series of programs aimed at solving some of the country’s biggest problems. Alexei Kudrin says a new package of anti-inflationary measures will be submitted to the government this month.

Russia will open a new facility to continue destroying its arsenal of chemical weapons, the world’s biggest, as part of its drive to eliminate all such weapons by 2012. Some events this month indicate “Russia is trying to boost its military presence in energy-rich Central Asia.” Russia says Kosovo’s new constitution is a breach of international law. Bureaucrats may face a ban on accepting small gifts under a bill being floated by law enforcement officials.“Moscow’s rather bizarrely named Royal Yacht Club looks strangely normal.” Russian art collective AES+F is taking its “outrageous” work to London. A Russian-speaking colony has formed in Dubai, thanks to its thousands of Russian tourists who boost the fur and property industries there.PHOTO: A woman picks up a newspaper at the flooded entrance into her block of flats at Russia’s southern town of Nevinnomyssk 60 km (37 miles) south of Stavropol, early June 17, 2008. Heavy rains flooded the town in Russia’s North Caucasus region. REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko (RUSSIA)