RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – March 26, 2009

260309.jpgTODAY: Interior Ministry issues behavioral code for police force; NATO making accusations about Russia; Eurasec to receive Russian funds; Union of Journalists plans to form investigation arm; volunteer citizen patrols; Bogdanov joins Sochi race.

The Interior Ministry is trying to improve the poor reputation of Russia’s policemen by implementing a behavioral code that prohibits cursing, smoking, the use of poor grammar, and adultery.  A former Interior Ministry analyst called the code ‘useless’, and an anonymous policeman called it ‘total rubbish’.  NATO’s top commander has accused Russia of ‘seem[ing] determined [to] see Euro-Atlantic security institutions weakened and has shown a readiness to use economic leverage and military force to achieve its aims’.  NATO relations with Russia ‘will be shaped by the US’s decision about whether to site missile defense [system]s in Poland and the Czech Republic,’ says The Times.  Is the collapse of the Czech government going to deal another blow to the US’ planned missile defense shield?  Russia has announced that it will contribute $7.5 billion to the anti-crisis fund of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec).

Russia’s Union of Journalists has announced plans to form an Agency of Journalistic Investigations in the wake of the attack on Vadim Rogozhin, the owner of the Vzglyad media holding company who was badly beaten earlier this month.  Russia’s Foreign Ministry remained silent yesterday as Latvia commemorated the thousands deported to Siberia by Stalin in 1949 – an event that Russia ‘has never acknowledged as a crime’.

On Russia’s druzhiniki – groups of volunteer citizen patrols that the government is working to revive, ‘in part to help law enforcement agencies combat what officials fear will be a spike in crime and public disorder’.  Andrei Bogdanov, the former head of the now-defunct Democratic Party, is the latest to join the race to become Mayor of Sochi.

PHOTO: Turkmenistan’s President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev meet for talks in Moscow’s Kremlin, March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Pool/Sergei Ponomarev (RUSSIA POLITICS)