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

261108.jpgTODAY: A new twist – Politkovskaya case to be open to the media; Samara judge and North Ossetian mayor both shot; Georgian diplomat accuses government of plotting war; will NATO’s refusal to Ukraine look like Russian victory?

It is being reported that the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial will now be open to the media as originally planned, after Judge Yevgeny Zubov reversed the initial decision for the trial to remain open.  Zubov is apparently going to consider the prosecution’s request to have him removed from the trial today, ‘adding to the confusions that have come to typify‘ the trial.  Perhaps the mysterious politician will be revealed after all?  The top judge in the Samara region was shotin an apparent assassination attempt‘ yesterday, and the mayor of North Ossetia was shot dead following an attack on his car this morning.  Prosecutors may classify the Mihkail Beketov case as attempted murder, rather than aggravated assault.

A parliamentary hearing on the origins of the Georgian war ‘ended in a furor‘ as a former confidant of President Mikheil Saakashvili said Georgian officials told him in April that they planned to start a war in Abkhazia.  Meanwhile the US says Russia is still failing to meet its ceasefire obligations with Georgia.  The exhuming of the body of Polish Second World War General Sikorski to discover whether he was killed by the Russians or the British is ‘a token of how deeply disturbed the relationship between Poland and Russia has become‘. 

NATO’s impending refusal of membership to Georgia and Ukraine is bound to look like a victory for Russia, notes this report.  Venezuela has welcomed Russian warships with a 21-gun salute, and Medvedev is expected to visit the ships with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, before continuing on to Cuba.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s yearly question and answer session, that ‘carefully orchestrated affair‘, is to be aired next week

PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev holds a ball as he visits Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)