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

260508.jpgTODAY: Medvedev signs joint statement with China denouncing US missile shield, convenes new Security Council, establishes “Order of Parental Honour”. Poland stokes tensions with Russia; British commentator angry over Russia’s Eurovision win. Putin to head Judo Federation. Whilst in China last week, President Dmitry Medvedev signed a joint statement denouncing US plans to build a missile-defense shield in Central Europe as “a setback to international trust”. “Some don’t like such strategic cooperation between our countries, but we understand that this cooperation serves the interests of our people, and we will strengthen it, regardless of whether others like it or not,” he said. Medvedev convened the new Security Council for the first time this weekend, leaving “rival” Sergei Ivanov out of the picture. In a new response to the demographic crisis, Medvedev has signed a decree establishing the “Order of Parental Honour“, with candidates including women with many children who can show they are raising them as “heroes“.

Lithuania appears now to be “in a more conciliatory mood” regarding EU strategic partnership talks with Russia. Poland will propose that the European Union extends its influence deep into the former Soviet Union by establishing an “Eastern Partnership“, potentially “stoking new tensions” with Russia. Russia and Ukraine are locked in a new dispute over a naval base in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol. The State Duma’s 1000th session since 2003 saw a presentation of government awards. “If passing laws is seen as a form of productivity like any other, the parliamentarians deserve their accolades.” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is the new honorary head of the International Judo Federation.Veteran British commentator Terry Wogan has attacked the integrity of the Eurovision song contest after Russia took first place thanks to bloc voting from its near-neighbours. “At the very beginning of the year I said Russia would win for political reasons and they did,” said Wogan. Another journalist says “Russia’s victory is highly political, but should not be dismissed as “mere” politics.” And “Wogan may complain about the fact that voting is too political in the contest these days. But it has been so for years.”In the UK media, The Telegraph looks at Russia’s “boom” in detail, and The Guardian discusses the prospects for its continuation. “Putin has been clawing back the country’s assets from the oligarchs and forcing them to invest their enormous riches in Russia, including Russian football. If they refuse, they know they will lose not only their assets. They could end up down the Volga.”“Dec. 25, 2041. Moscow. Today, President Dmitry Medvedev presided over the 50th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union”…PHOTO: Chinese President Hu Jintao chats with visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as they inspect the guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AFP/Teh Eng Koon)