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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Oct 28, 2008

281008.jpgTODAY: French police conclude Moskalenko poisoning was ‘an accident’; Russia criticizes US over Syrian attack, offers Cuba support; Saakashvili dismisses PM; British MP admits it was a ‘mistake’ to meet Deripaska; youth groups, internet firewalls. French investigators have reportedly concluded that mercury found in the car of Karinna Moskalenko, former lawyer to Anna Politkovskaya and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was the result of an accidental spillage. Russia is up in arms over the allegation that US helicopters attacked a Syrian farm near the Iraqi border. Will the IMF’s newly agreed loan to Ukraine protect the latter from ‘cash-rich’ Russia, wonders The Economist. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, dismissing his prime minister, said that he needed a new team to help him face the Russian threat. The Russian military is to offer defense expertise to Cuba this week.

A 20-year-old opposition activist has been given a one-year suspended sentence after being convicted of being a member of the National Bolshevik Party, which was criminalized last April by the Moscow City Court. What have all the pro-Kremlin youth groups been up to? ‘Fashion shows and city cleanups’, apparently. French police have removed ‘zoophilic’ photographs from an exhibition of photographs by a Russian artist. How realistic is Russoft’s proposal to separate the Russian internet off from the rest of the world with a Great Firewall?British Conservative politician George Osborne says it was a ‘mistake’ for him to have met with Oleg Deripaska to discuss donations, and will give up fundraising for the Conservative party. Former EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, meanwhile, is refusing to provide details on his meetings with the oligarch, and says he won’t resign over the matter. Britain is preparing to cut down on its analysis of Russian military capabilities.PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Vietnam’s President Nguyen Minh Triet meet in Moscow for talks, October 27, 2008. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool/Alexei Druzhinin (RUSSIA)