TODAY: EU monitors unhindered in South Ossetia; no grounds for Cold War, says Medvedev; soldier sent to Siberia over rap video; what’s wrong with Russian liberalism?; Supreme Court rules to rehabilitate the last Czar; Medvedev and Merkel to try restoring relations. Despite concerns, EU monitors have not met with any Russian resistance in South Ossetia, with some being allowed into the previously outlined buffer zone. Russia may blast a railway line through the Caucasus mountains to create a link with South Ossetia. President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are meeting today to focus on Georgia and the financial crisis, with both sides eager to ‘avoid clashes’ and restore ties damaged by friction over the war. Medvedev says there aren’t enough ideological differences between the US and Russia to spark a war of any kind. But ‘if the [Cold War] principle of “spheres of interest” is also back, then what is Russia doing selling Venezuela weapons and developing its military ties with it?’ The Kremlin’s security chief says Russia is concerned about the potential deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on Georgian or Ukrainian territory.
Russian liberalism ‘has ceased to exist’, says this columnist, because liberals have not come to grips with the country’s new political and economic realities. China is more interested in focusing on the United States, South Asia and Iran than on forging ties with Russia, says another. A rap video released online by a Russian soldier, in which he complained about the state of his barracks, has been sent to a posting in Siberia as punishment. Russia may be called in by Somalia to use force against a group of pirates holding a ship ransom off its coast.The Russian Supreme Court has ruled that the killing of the last Czar was a political act, and that the Romanov family should be considered victims of Bolshevism. A group of Russian gay activists opposing a decision to ban a gay pride march in Moscow in May are set to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights. On a thriving experimental orphan community in Kitezh. Former Soviet political cartoonist Boris Yefimov has died at the age of 108.PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stands besides a portrait of a Tsar during a visit to Vladivostok in September 2008. (AFP/Pool/File/Alexey Druzhinin)