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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Sept. 13, 2007

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Russian President Vladimir Putin feeds a calf while touring a milk farm in the village of Zorinskiye Dvory in the western Belgorod region of Russia on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007. (Photo: AP)

Reactions to Vladimir Putin’s surprising new choice of Prime Minister have been mixed. Viktor Zubkov, described by some as “colorless,” is simultaneously seen as good and bad for the economy. Zubkov and Putin are old acquaintances who have remained personal friends since working together in St Petersburg City Hall in 1992. Many view the appointment a ‘pre-election power ploy’. Zubkov himself says he has not ruled out the possibility of running for the presidency. The Moscow City Court presidium has upheld a ruling that an investigation of new charges against Mikhail Khodorkovsky was unlawful. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has named three suspects who may have poisoned him. Following Yushchenko’s complaint to the UK media that an investigation of his case was being blocked, Moscow has agreed to establish an expert commission to participate. Just two days after accumulating a blocking stake in Norilsk Nickel, Mikhail Prokhorov is said to have done the same with Polyus Gold. LUKoil’s second-quarter profits have risen 8.4% to a new record. VimpelCom has agreed to form a joint venture in Vietnam with a $1bn investment to develop the country’s mobile network. The Duma is modifying its restrictions on foreign investment. Power Machines stock denied to Siemens could be sold to Severstal owner Alexey Mordashov. Kholmogorneftegaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom’s oil-producing arm, has won a tender to develop two oil fields in Eastern Siberia. In Cold War-style, details of a top-secret new Russian nuclear submarine were “inadvertently” posted on a public website. Russian and US defence ministers will discuss the joint use of the Gabala radar Russia currently leases from Azerbaijan. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s acting foreign minister, will visit Paraguay this week to discuss ‘cooperation between our countries’ including a possible Russian Embassy in the Paraguayan capital.