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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – March 5, 2008

050308.jpgTODAY: World responses to the Presidency of Dmitry Medvedev. Angela Merkel to be Medvedev’s first foreign meeting. Yabloko head on hunger strike in jail. Maxim Reznik, a Russian opposition activist and member of the Yabloko party, jailed for two months for taking part in anti-Kremlin protests, has gone on a hunger strike. An investigator in Moscow’s police’s tax crime department has been arrested on suspicion of trying to extort more than $3 million from a local businessman. An article in the Russian press focuses on freedom of the press under Vladimir Putin. More speculation on who will be invited to join Dmitry Medvedev’s “inner circle“. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to be the first foreign leader to meet with President-elect Dmitry Medvedev following his election victory.

The BBC is running an interesting story summarizing European press response to Sunday’s presidential elections. The international reaction to Dmitry Medvedev’s election as president has been “muted”. The European Union sent Dmitry Medvedev “barbed congratulations” on being elected Russia’s president, saying the EU “regrets that the electoral process did not allow for truly competitive elections.” US President George Bush has telephoned Medvedev, saying he hopes the two will establish a close working relationship, and North Korea has offered congratulations. Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov said that his commission was aware of “blatant” incidents of students and employees being pressured to vote.Rossvyazokhrankultura, Russia’s cultural surveillance service, has warned the popular Russian TV channel 2×2 for “propagating the cult of violence and cruelty” with its animations The Adventures of Big Jeff and Happy Tree Friends.“Kosovo’s lack of recognition by Serbia, Russia and several countries in the European Union — including Spain, Slovakia, Greece, Romania and Cyprus — could also deter investment, hamper its ability to get loans, impede the European Union from signing trade and cooperation deals with it and place limitations on the travel of Kosovars.”PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin address a news conference after their meeting called St. Petersburg Dialogue in Wiesbaden, October 15, 2007. Merkel will travel to Moscow on Saturday to hold talks with Putin and meet his successor Dmitry Medvedev. (Ina Fassbender/Reuters)