RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – June 26, 2008

260608.jpgTODAY: Merkel says Germany is concerned over Abkhazia; Kremlin won’t budge on frozen conflicts; EU-Russia summit begins today; Khodorkovsky’s birthday to be marked by protests; anti-corruption plans submitted to Medvedev; Human Rights Watch focus on Ingushetia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany shares Georgia’s concerns about Russian actions in the breakaway region of Abkhazia. The EU’s External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner says Russia should play a more constructive role in resolving Georgia’s frozen conflicts “to ensure a stable environment for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics,” but the Kremlin says it won’t compromise. Dmitry Medvedev is departing for the EU-Russia summit today, to be held in Russia’s Khanty-Mansiysk region which contains 7.5% of the world’s oil reserves.

Former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky turns 45 today. Supporters will gather in Chita to mark his birthday and protest his imprisonment. Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin has submitted to the government a plan to tackle corruption, which would include the submission of anti-corruption legislation to the State Duma before the end of the year. The plan is to be “closely studied” by Medvedev. Human Rights Watch is claiming that Russian security forces have carried out widespread human rights abuses in the southern province of Ingushetia. Ingush officials dispute the claims.Plans have been revealed to build the world’s first shape-changing skyscrapers, with rotating floors, in Moscow and Dubai. “People with disabilities are literally almost invisible in Russia.“Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan Vice-President Ramon Carrizales will discuss bilateral economic relations in Moscow today. Medvedev will meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown next month “in a gesture aimed at normalizing strained bilateral relations”.PHOTO: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin. Merkel said Wednesday Berlin shares Georgia’s concern about Russia’s actions in the breakaway region of Abkhazia where tensions between the two ex-Soviet states have soared. (AFP/DDP/Axel Schmidt)