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RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Sept 29, 2008

290908.jpgTODAY: Russia to overhaul its army; Lavrov calls for international solidarity on terrorism; Union of Right Forces may disband over Kremlin row; Rice says Russia shouldn’t have a veto for Nato. President Dmitry Medvedev has announced an overhaul of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces and army. Medvedev says that the need for an upgrade was demonstrated by the Georgian war. Some take this as a sign that Russia is seeking military confrontation. Russia’s current nuclear reserves should last it 60 years, says this report. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is calling for a revival of the international community’s initial solidarity regarding the fight on terrorism after Sept. 11. The leader of the Union of Right Forces, Nikita Belykh, has resigned from his party, which may disband entirely over a dispute about proposals regarding cooperation with the Kremlin. The Committee to Protect Journalists is renewing efforts to have a number of barred foreign reporters allowed back into Russia, calling on Medvedev to respect press freedom.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Russia should not be allowed to veto NATO membership for former Soviet states such as Ukraine and Georgia. The North Korean president is in Moscow for a meeting on strengthening economic ties.On the oligarch funding driving Russia’s dreams of Olympic stardom. Russia a major power? Yes, but that’s nothing new, says The Guardian. Moscow goes to the dogs. Read a special report on Aleksandr Lebedev, the billionaire with political aspirations.PHOTO: A soldier salutes as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the Donguz testing range near Orenburg, some 1300 kilometers (807 miles) southeast of Moscow September 26, 2008. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool (RUSSIA)