TODAY: EU releases statement on Moldova; Ukraine and Russia to resume talks; Belarusian President appeals for transparency in relations with Russia; are politicians’ wives really earning more than they do?
The EU has issued a statement that assures recognition of Moldovan sovereignty, in response to Russian-voiced concerns that the Union stoked up the country’s post-election protests. Louis O’Neill, OSCE ambassador and head of mission to Moldova from 2006 to 2008, examines the Kremlin’s ‘nightmare scenario‘ of Moldovan sympathies turning westwards in the Moscow Times. Prime Minister Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yulia Timoshenko, have consulted on when discussions will resume between the two countries on the issues of trade and energy. Sergei Lavrov has praised US willingness to seek diplomatic solutions with Iran in an interview with Voice of Russia radio station.
Despite his recent castigation of Belarusian officials for ‘kneeling in Russian offices‘, Belarusian President, Alexander Lukashenko, according to Ria Novosti, commented, ‘We don’t see a future without Russia, we are doomed to live together’, and that greater ‘clarity and transparency’ are needed in relations between the two nations. In some regions of Russia the work of the British Council could resume in exchange for simpler visa rules for Russian citizens. United Russia has drawn up a list of 300 candidates, who could potentially fill lower level government and party positions. RFERLreports upon comments apparently made by judiciary heavyweight, Valery Zorkin, justifying authoritarianism in times of instability. The police inquiry into the mysterious death of journalist Yury Shchekochikhin has been closed. As a matter of national security, Russia will apparently limit foreign investment in Internet portals.
Surviving the financial crisis of the 1990s means that Russians are mentally more prepared for the current recession than Westerners, says leading psychiatrist, Tatyana Dmitriyeva. In the recent declarations of income among state officials, it has been noticed that in some instances, the spouses are earning more than their high-ranking husbands – according to the declarations at least. Russia’s billionaires may be shedding wealth, but they are not parting with their status symbols, says an article in the Moscow Times.
PHOTO: A man surfs the web at an Internet cafe in Moscow. (AFP/File/Denis Sinyakov)