RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Oct 16, 2008

161008.jpgTODAY: International Court of Justice gives Georgia green light on ethnic cleansing case; Georgia-Russia talks suspended amid accusations on both sides; EU makes friendly moves towards former Soviet republics; Karina Moskalenko story hits global press; Russia makes ties with Argentina; Mitvol to head Yabloko? The International Court of Justice has given Georgia permission to go ahead with its case accusing Russia of ethnic cleansing, and has ordered both sides to ensure the security of all ethnic groups in the breakaway regions. Attempts by Russia and Georgia to hold talks about how to proceed were almost immediately suspended, with both sides blaming each other for a failure to engage. The talks began ‘on a tense note’, as the Russian negotiator reportedly arrived late. Russia has withdrawn troops from some Georgian areas, says this article, but many remain: ‘the Kremlin is, in effect, unilaterally redrawing Georgia’s map.’ The EU’s suspension on a travel ban on the Belarusian president is ‘part of an initiative to promote closer ties with former Soviet republics after Russia’s invasion of Georgia’. On the ‘heavy costs of drawing fragile post-Communist nations’ like Bulgaria away from Russian influence.

Karina Moskalenko, the former lawyer of Anna Politkovskaya, who has been unable to attend the start of the murdered journalist’s hearing due to side effects from what is thought to be mercury poisoning, is receiving a lot of coverage today in the world press. ‘I’m going to be at Anna Politkovskaya’s trial on Nov. 17. Nothing will prevent me again,’ she said. An investigation into the death of 19-year-old hockey player Alexei Cherepanov has been opened.As part of Russia’s drive to forge strong diplomatic ties with Latin America, it is being reported that Argentina has agreed to develop cooperation with Russia ‘in all areas’. Funds accumulated via Russia’s new nationwide state-run lottery are expected to go towards funding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.Oleg Mitvol, the deputy head of environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor who was involved in Shell’s 2006 problems over its Sakhalin project, may become the head of Russia’s liberal Yabloko party.PHOTO: Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev receives a kiss from actress Maria Shukshina during a state awards ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, October 15, 2008. REUTERS/Natalia Kolesnikova/Pool (RUSSIA)