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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov 21, 2008

211108.jpgTODAY: Politkovskaya defense will insist on open trial; Duma approves presidential term bill; Medvedev pledges cash to APEC, demands summit play stronger role in security; National Intelligence Council evaluates Russia’s global position; Russia-Finland camouflage spat.

Following news that the jury on the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial denied that their concerns over publicity had anything to do with the closing of the trial, the judge has adjourned the proceedings for ten days due to ‘scheduling conflicts‘.  This report says that Politkovskaya’s defense lawyers are now intending to demand an open court.  Another Russian journalist has been attacked, the fifth attack of its kind in Dagestan this year. 

A new report by the National Intelligence Council differentiates Russia’s ‘state capitalism‘ economic model from the western model, evaluates the prospects for a Russian push for democracy, suggests that Russia could benefit from global warming, and discusses its organized crime problem.  The State Duma has approved the final reading of the bill to extend the presidential term from four to six years. 

An op-ed in today’s New York Times suggests that ‘many Russians are angry because their country has neither the stature nor the living standards that they believe it deserves,‘ and that this contradiction is what causes Russia’s ‘inferiority complex toward the West and, in particular, the United States.‘  President Dmitry Medvedev may meet with US President George Bush on the sidelines of today’s Asia-Pacific summit.  Medvedev wants APEC to play a stronger role in ensuring global security, and Russia will contribute $500,000 to an APEC climate change combat fund.  Despite various NATO disagreements, Russia has granted alliance-member Germany permission to ship equipment for its forces in Afghanistan through Russia.  

A bizarre conflict has sprung up between Russia and Finland over allegations by the latter that Russia stole its camouflage for uniforms worn by soldiers during the Georgian war.  Meanwhile Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into both Russia and Georgia’s actions during the war.  The IOC has iterated that Russia is responsible for safety during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, amid concerns about potential attacks from Georgian neighbours. 

PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev delivers a speech at the United Russia party congress in Moscow. (AFP/Natalia Kolesnikova)