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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Nov 7, 2008

071108.jpgTODAY: Obama ‘ignored’ Medvedev, says Russian newspaper; Bush administration to engage with Russia over anti-missile measures; lawmakers intend to amend constitution, Kasparov sets up opposition group; Svetlana Bakhmina withdraws request for pardon; Russia-Venezuela meeting ‘historic’. Kommersant is reporting that US President-elect Barack Obama ‘ignored’ Dmitry Medvedev, leaving him off the list of world leaders he called to thank for their congratulations. The Bush administration plans to use its final two months to have a ‘robust dialogue’ with Russia over concerns regarding its proposed missile defense system in Poland, and has sent plans for the system to Moscow for consideration. The EU’s push to resume partnership talks with Russia is a retreat, says The Economist. In response to the possibility that the Kremlin will extend the presidential term, Garry Kasparov and Boris Nemstov are setting up Solidarity, a new democratic movement that aims to ‘protect the Russian Constitution’. It is being reported today that lawmakers are indeed intending to amend the constitution.

The lawyer for Svetlana Bakhmina has announced that the former Yukos lawyer has withdrawn her petition for a presidential pardon for ‘unclear reasons’.Medvedev’s visit to Venezuela later this month is already being heralded by Hugo Chávez as a ‘historic’ event, and the leaders are expected to discuss issues ranging from energy deals to direct flights. The BBC World Service’s decision to cut down on its Russian operations has received strong criticism from academics and writers who are concerned that the BBC is trying not to ‘annoy the Russians’.PHOTO: Soldiers in historical uniforms take part in a military parade in the Red Square in Moscow, November 7, 2008. Moscow marked the anniversary of a historical parade in 1941 when Soviet soldiers marched through the Red Square to the front lines of World War II. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov (RUSSIA)