RA’s Daily Russia News Blast – Sept 3, 2008

030908.jpgTODAY: Medvedev says EU summit “double-edged”, calls Saakashvili a “political corpse”, and threatens to terminate WTO agreements; Putin warns of Russian response to Nato warships; Turkey plays down disagreements. Meet the minigarchs. President Dmitry Medvedev called the European Union’s emergency summit “double-edged”, criticizing it for threatening to postpone talks on a new cooperation agreement, but praising the decision not to impose economic sanctions. Medvedev says Russia will terminate some agreements “soon” if no headway is made towards its accession to the World Trade Organization. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised that Russia will respond – “calmly” – to the presence of Nato warships in the Black Sea. “Anybody who thinks Russia’s confrontation with the West is another Cold War has been misled,” says Yulia Latynina. Francis Fukuyama writes in the Financial Times on the diminishing of US influence and the rise of Russia, saying that the US is suffering due to a lack of “moral credibility”. The US has urged Russian authorities to investigate the killing of opposition journalist Magomed Yevloyev.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insists that Russia’s strict new import measures are not part of an attempt to punish Turkey. For its own part, Turkey has downplayed reports of disagreement between the two, and its president is due to visit Russia later this year.Medvedev’s handling of Georgia makes it seem “unlikely” that he will return to his liberal roots. Medvedev called Mikheil Saakashvili a “political corpse”, who “no longer exists in our eyes.” Georgia is planning to restore its military to pre-war standards, and looks set to receive a $1 billion aid package from the US. The UN reports that Georgia’s Gori refugee camp is full.Meet the minigarchs. Read a critical report on Russia’s emergency health services. More than one in ten Russian citizens have been convicted of a crime in the past 15 years.PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Tashkent. (AFP/Pool/Alexey Druzhinin)