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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 18, 2008

180608.jpgTODAY: British Council in Moscow slams “punitive” tax bill; Georgia releases troops; Russian ban likely to “infuriate” Iran; Medvedev seeks advice on corruption; Anna Politkovskaya: three men charged. Relations between Britain and Russia have hit another low. The British Council in Moscow said it had received a “punitive and disproportionately largetax bill from the Russian authorities. The council describes the bill as “incorrect“, and will take legal action to have it overturned. Georgia says it has released four Russian peacekeeping troops detained near Abkhazia on suspicion of transporting weapons without proper documents. A Russian ban on a text by the late Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini “is likely to infuriate many in Iran”.

Dmitry Medvedev has reportedly asked the Communist Party to contribute ideas for fighting corruption. The government has ruled out restoring direct elections of regional governors. The Moscow Times has interviewed the owner of security expertise website Agenta.ru on his alleged leaking of state secrets. Social networking website Facebook has opened Vkontakte, a Russian-language version of the site.Russian prosecutors have charged three men with a role in the 2006 killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Another report says that these charges complete the investigation. The Russian air force dropped a sack of cement on a suburban Moscow home in a botched attempt to ensure good weather for Russia Day.PHOTO: A chemical weapons specialist wearing gas mask and protective suit demonstrates the weapons neutralizing at a chemical weapons destruction plant near Leonidovka in the Penza Oblast, about 550 kilometers southeast of Moscow in this image from the television broadcast Tuesday, June 17, 2008. The sign on the screen, top left, reads: Penza Oblast. (AP Photo/ORT Russian Channel)