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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov. 7, 2007

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Russian soldiers dressed in historical uniforms march in Red Square during a military parade in Moscow, November 7, 2007. Moscow marked the anniversary of a historical parade in 1941 when Soviet soldiers marched through Red Square to the front lines of World War II. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin (RUSSIA)

Thousands of Communists will march today to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. The November 7 holiday was cancelled under Boris Yeltsin, suggesting that “the authorities want to make it clear that revolutions are not an acceptable way to transfer power.” United Russia’s recent refusal to take part in election debates could have been because party members hold the opinion that election campaign debates are nothing but “squabbles.” Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov said that excessive numbers of “so-called foreign observers” would “at the very least” be tantamount to foreign interference. “No country has reveled in its oil wealth like Russia.” Dutch energy firm Gasunie has signed a long-awaited deal with Gazprom to take a 9% stake in the controversial Nord Stream pipeline, of which the latter owns the majority stake. The deal will give Gazprom the option to buy a reciprocal 9% stake in the much smaller BBL pipeline, which connects the Netherlands to Britain. Workers at the Ford plant near St. Petersburg plan to hold a one-day work to rule over wage demands and could hold a full-blown strike in two weeks, according to the plant’s labor union. Russia’s lower house of parliament has voted in favor of Vladimir Putin’s bill to impose a moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. Russia’s Defense Ministry had said it might reinforce its troops near its western borders if the moratorium went ahead, although the chief of Russian General Staff says that the decision “will not mean the immediate build-up of military groups in Russia’s western regions or the Caucasus.” A new report from the European Council on Foreign Relations says that the EU should unite behind a new strategy to secure its interests with Moscow. The USA reportedly intends to deploy more elements of its missile defense system to the south of Russia in addition to the missile base in Poland and the radar station in the Czech Republic. Deals signed between Russia and China include contracts with Atomstroiexport and Tekhsnabexport for constructing two new units at Tianwan Nuclear Plant worth over €4 billion, and others to help China develop another uranium enrichment facility on its eastern coast. Chinese President Hu Jintao describes Putin as his “good friend.” Russia will spend as much as $53 billion on machinery for nuclear power plants through the end of the next decade as it seeks to rely more on alternative energy. Ahead of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Russia, a top-level Indian Navy delegation will visit Moscow to discuss the delay and price escalation in the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal, “perhaps the most thorny issue between the two countries.” Madeleine Albright has responded to the claim that she once said that Siberia held too many resources for Russia alone – a statement dismissed by Vladimir Putin on his live call-in session last month. “I did not make that statement, nor did I ever think it,” she said. The Federal Migration Service confirmed that foreigners with old residency permits were being barred from leaving the country under newly enforced regulations, supposedly the reason behind the prevention of a French activist leaving the country earlier this week.