RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 14, 2009

capt.a59231d6f9a24308bae1707600af201c.russia_sochi_mayor_mosb103.jpgTODAY: Lebedev removed from Sochi election; Israel lobbies Russia over Iran; government environmental inspector resigns; Business FM has its say

‘It’s the usual trick to get rid of a strong candidate’, says Alexander Lebedev, after a court disqualified him from the Sochi election, in what his spokesman described as ‘an absolutely illegal decision’.  Lebedev vows to appeal the decision, says the New York TimesPublic politics are returning to Russia’, via the Sochi electoral race, argues a comment piece in the Moscow Times.  Israel has tried to convince Russia not to sell a strategic air defense system to Iran, but received only vague assurancesreports the Moscow Times.  Russia ‘regrets’ North Korea’s dismissal of six-party talks and its decision to restart its nuclear program, according to Ria Novosti.  Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, claims he has ‘documentary proof‘ that opposition protests are funded by Russian oligarchs, but ‘whether the money is being sent from Russia under the supervision of the Russian government, that I do not know’, in an interview that can be read here.

Environmental inspector Oleg Mitvol has resigned from the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use, after a battle to keep his job, apparently frustrated with the organization’s inefficiency.  The only candidate set to fill the position of senior judge, left by ousted Lyudmila Maikova, is Valeria Adamova, a former classmate of Medvedev.  The Prosecutor-General’s Office is concerned by the fact that money received as state support by companies is changed into foreign currency and transferred abroad.  In a move to reduce corporate tax evasion, more rigorous controls on transfer pricing will be introduced this year, says the Moscow Times.

An advertising campaign by Moscow radio station, Business FM, criticizing the city’s government has gone ahead, although in a tempered version, as the original adverts were set to have been highly critical of the government’s handling of the crisis.  A senior official in the Solidarity movement, Stanislav Yakovlev, was reportedly attacked in Moscow, following an opposition rally.  Reuters reports that the Russian cyber spy scare of last week may have just been political engineering. 

Blood and oil are the two materials favored by Russian artist, Andrei Molodkin, who will represent Russia at the Venice Biennale, and is interviewed here in the Times.

PHOTO: File photo of Russian billionaire banker Alexander Lebedev speaking during an interview in his house in Moscow. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)