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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Oct 8, 2008

081008.jpgTODAY: Medvedev on presidential podcast, will push for new EU security treaty; troops to leave South Ossetia as planned; crowds mark Politkovskaya’s death; Olmert given no promises on arms sales; Syria and Russia strengthening military ties; Putin to fund film industry. President Dmitry Medvedev has used a Kremlin website to publish a ‘presidential podcast’. He used the video blog as a platform to discuss his thoughts on European energy security, and his intention to push for a new treaty. Medvedev’s anti-corruption bill is proposing to put a two-year ‘quarantine’ on officials who want to move into business. The head of the Russian troops stationed in the buffer zone around South Ossetia has announced that all troops will be withdrawn in the next 24 hours. One UK journalist says that Western policy has ‘brought out the worst in’ Russia. An adviser to Barack Obama said the US should continue negotiating with the Russian government on the planned European missile-defense system.

It is being reported that several hundred people gathered in central Moscow to mark the second anniversary of the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The Other Russia has compiled a selection of comments on how the country has changed since her death.Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has left Russia without a concrete promise that the latter will halt weapons sales to other Middle Eastern countries. ‘My feeling is the Russian government understands well the Israeli position and is aware the possible influence such supplying could have on stability in the region,’ he said. But the Syrian port of Tartous is reportedly being renovated to provide a permanent facility for the Russian navy. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that weapons sold to Venezuela were to improve defense only.Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has proposed to allocate over 4 billion rubles to the film industry, as part of the government’s plan to develop Russia through ‘innovation’.PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, shake hands in Moscow’s Kremlin, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, Pool)