RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov 11, 2008

111108.jpgTODAY: Putin hails Egypt as Arab leader; over half of Russians see police force as untrustworthy; Merkel urges NATO-Russia cooperation; disaster submarine was headed to India. Yesterday was the annual police holiday, Police Day. President Dmitry Medvedev marked the occasion with a call for police to clamp down on corruption, as a recent poll suggested that over half of Russians view the police force as inefficient and untrustworthy. The trial of senior Federal Drug Control Service officer Alexander Bulbov may appear to be a case in point, although many argue that charges against him of accepting bribes and legalizing criminal money are related to Kremlin power struggles. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged NATO to make an effort to communicate with Russia in order to tackle the world’s security problems. The EU-Russia summit will begin this Friday in Nice, with the opening discussions expected to focus on Russia’s plan to gradually increase tariffs on timber. Russia’s perception of the US’ planned missile defense system is ‘complete nonsense’ according to one Moscow Times reporter. Russia’s re-engagement with the White House under the Obama administration is necessary in order to solve major global security issues including Iran’s nuclear program, says another. In talks with Egyptian premier Ahmed Nazif, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has praised Egypt as ‘the leading country of the Arab world’ and one of Russia’s ‘most privileged strategic partners, which is no overstatement’, amid news that Egypt hopes to double its volume of trade with Russia to $8 billion in coming years.

Was Russia’s most recent submarine disaster the cause of outdated machinery? The ship in question was reportedly due to be delivered to the Indian Navy.PHOTO: Svetlana Pankratova, the Russian with the world’s longest legs, poses at a news conference in New York’s Times Square, Monday Nov. 10, 2008. (AP Photos/Bebeto Matthews)