RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 25, 2008

250608.jpgTODAY: Medvedev interviewed by Reuters; Moscow court fines businessman over blog entry; Chavez thanks Putin; new report focuses on Russia’s “passion investments”. In an interview with Reuters, reportedly his first with the Western media since taking power in May, President Dmitry Medvedev said that poverty and corruption are the biggest threats to security, and that Russia wants to reduce the state’s role in the economy and curb government spending to combat rising inflation. Reuters has posted clips and excerpts from the interview. The Other Russia is concerned that a Moscow court has “set a precedent” by finding a wealthy Russian businessman guilty of defamation in a blog entry and fining him roughly $1200. The Moscow Times writes on what to expect from next week’s EU-Russia summit, with the EU reportedly seeking a better relationship with the country under Medvedev. One UK journalist says the summit “presents a window of opportunity because, well, Putin won’t be there.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and says that Venezuela is fortifyingall levels of cooperation” with Russia, including the purchase of more arms. US lawmakers have taken the first steps towards rejecting a civil nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and Russia. Opponents fear the deal would undermine efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Yulia Timoshenko will meet in Moscow later this week to discuss bilateral relations. Ukraine has announced that it is not going to review the deadline for withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea Fleet from its territory. Russia does not rule out the possibility that the US and Lithuania are holding informal talks over a missile defense system.The Merrill Lynch/Capgemini World Wealth Report 2008 focuses on Russia’s “passion investments”, and its so-called HNWIs (high net-worth individuals), who are increasing in numbers despite “critical lack of modern infrastructure, environmental degradation and a declining population”.PHOTO: Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during an interview with Reuters in Moscow June 23, 2008. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor (RUSSIA)