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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 19, 2008

190608.jpgTODAY: Liberal Medvedev faces “silent war”; Putin’s popularity exceeds Medvedev’s; Yabloko to convene amidst split; US may turn to Lithuania over missile shield; Anna Politkovskaya case closed. The head of a Russian think tank says President Dmitry Medvedev faces a “silent war” from hardliners opposed to his liberal reform agenda: “If he doesn’t build a coalition in this struggle, he will lose.” The Moscow Times has analyzed some of Medvedev’s foreign policy statements since taking office. A new VTsIOM survey says that Prime Minister Putin’s confidence rating exceeds that of Medvedev. The Liberal Yabloko party, apparently split over whether or not it should cooperate with radical anti-Kremlin groups, will convene this coming weekend.

Despite four new arrests, investigators have reportedly been unable to identify who ordered the killing of Anna Politkovskaya. The International Federation of Journalists has welcomed the new charges, which have closed the case. Moskovsky Korrespondent, the newspaper that closed down after publishing a story about former President Vladimir Putin and a young gymnast, intends to resume publication in two months. One UK newspaper focuses on the recently closed Russian tabloid The eXile.Poland is “balking” at further negotiations with the United States over plans to deploy its controversial missile shield, and Lithuania may be sought as an alternative location for the shield, although such a move would likely create new tensions with Russia. The Indian Army Chief General will pay a five-day visit to Russia to discuss strengthening military ties. The British Council’s tax case is to be heard in a court in Moscow today.PHOTO: A supporter of the dissident ‘Other Russia’ movement stands with a portrait of journalist Anna Politkovskaya in central Moscow during a rally October 7, 2007. (Alexander Natruskin/Reuters)