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

051108.jpgTODAY: How will US president-elect Barack Obama change relations with Russia? Medvedev delivers state-of-the-nation address, strongly criticizing US; Poland and Lithuania stalling Russia-EU partnership talks; nationalist rally sees 500 protesters detained. US President-elect Barack Obama will inherit a number of international problems – his first decision on dealing with Russia should be one of ‘tone, not actions’. But a deputy Russian foreign minister has expressed optimism on Obama’s election and its potential effects on relations with Russia. Investment bank Renaissance Capital sees Russia becoming ‘less assertive’ internationally as a result of the new leadership. And the Kremlin’s youth group, Nashi, held an anti-US protest at the American embassy in Moscow over the weekend. President Dmitry Medvedev has given his first state-of-the-nation address today, blaming the United States’ ‘conceited’ foreign policy for the Georgian war, promising to deploy missiles in the Baltic Sea in response to US missile defense plans, and proposing that Russia’s presidential term be extended from four years to six. A few selective, initial soundbites can be found here. Poland and Lithuania are pushing for the European Union to hold off on talks for a new partnership agreement with Russia until its forces have been completely pulled from Georgia.

Yulia Latynina writes on the dismissal of Ingush president Murad Zyazikov from his post, saying that he ‘symbolized the essence of the Kremlin’s authority’. An unsanctioned nationalist rally with a ‘strong racist element’, held in Moscow yesterday, saw 500 protesters, reportedlychanting Nazi slogans’, detained.PHOTO: Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev greets the audience as he arrives for his annual state of the nation address in the Kremlin in Moscow, November 5, 2008. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin (RUSSIA)