RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 15, 2009

capt.bbacbfbe209a44bdabb8e76cc9580a5d.eu_russia_putin_mosb114.jpgTODAY: Medvedev interview for Novaya Gazeta; North Korea should return to talks says Foreign Ministry; cluster munitions reportedly used in Georgia; Medvedev concerned about unemployment; transport spending to increase

Unlike his predecessor, President Dmitry Medvedev has granted an interview to Novaya Gazeta, in an apparent gesture of ‘moral support’ to the newspaper, which ‘has suffered many losses’ – two of its reporters murdered in three years.  Comments in the interview about ‘democracy’ and ‘prosperity’ seem to distinguish the Prime Minister from his ally Putin, reports the New York Times.  The Just Russia candidate in the Sochi election, Viktor Kurpitko, has been removed from the race, leaving the United Russia candidate and Boris Nemtsov as the forerunners. The New York Times reports upon an investigation by Russian economists into the impact of independent television on voting patterns.

We call on North Korea … to return to the negotiating table in the interests of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula’, says Russia’s Foreign Ministry, reports Reuters.  The UN’s reaction to the rocket launch is  proportionate, in the words of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN.  Russia has not sold a missile defense system to Iran, according to Reuters.   Russia’s NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin, has spoken out against NATO exercises in Georgia as an attempt to ‘interfere in Georgia’s affairs’.  Human Rights Watch has announced that Russia’s illegal use of cluster bombs killed at least 12 Georgian civilians in last summer’s war.  According to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Caspian states are on the point of agreeing on the demarcation of the Caspian Sea region.

President Medvedev is apparently ‘very concerned’, about the 3% unemployment rate.  ‘Social protection and ‘supporting the needy’ should be prioritized next year, says Economic Development Minister, Elvira Nabiullina.  This year will see a 25% increase on spending on roads, to a total of $16 billion, Prime Minister Putin has announced.

The Moscow Arbitration Court will postpone a decision on whether to stop the seizure of Telenor’s stake in Vimpelcom, until April 30.   The head of the Federal Court Marshals Service supports a law that allows marshals to enter apartments of debtors without their consent, saying that it has helped to reduce the number of reckless borrowers.  The Russian judiciary is ‘overloaded’ with lawsuits concerning debt repayments, and bankruptcies will continue, says Bloomberg.

PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, center, flanked by Transport Minister Igor Levitin, right, and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, seen at a meeting with officials, which discussed the development of Russia’s transport system in St. Petersburg,  April 14, 2009.  At upper right is the emblem of the Russian Transport Ministry. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)