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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 15, 2010

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TODAY: Russia and US negotiating Kyrgyz interests, Russia pledges funds; New Times editor won’t hand over police probe material; Chuvashov gun used in Markelov killing? ‘Maximum harshness’ in new terror measures.  Medvedev in Argentina, signs new corruption strategy; air traffic controllers on hunger strike; IOC approves disputed building plans. 
Russia and the US are ‘openly negotiating to secure their interests in Kyrgyzstan‘, says the Moscow Times, following talks and offers of money and fuel on both sides.  Russia has reportedly agreed to supply $50 million in aid and loans after the new government claimed previous leaders had emptied the coffers.  A 5,000-strong rally for Kurmanbek Bakiyev, ‘testing how much support he has‘, saw gunfire breaking outseconds after Bakiyev began speaking to the crowd‘.  Roza Otunbayeva says he has ‘blood on his hands‘ and should stand trial.  No details have been given of the former president’s telephone call with Vladimir Putin.  Could an uproar like the Kyrgyz revolution happen in Russia?  Yevgeniya Albats, the editor of Russia’s New Times, says she will resist court orders to hand over audio and video material as part of a libel investigation connected to police abuses, in a bid to protect her informants and their families.  Alexei Baranovsky, a lawyer for a group of ultranationalists that were due to be tried by murdered judge Eduard Chuvashov, says a ballistic examination showed that the same gun was used in the killing of Chuvashov, lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova; authorities deny the claims.  Russia’s war on terror has entered a brutal phase, according to Time magazine, which says that recent attacks have given the security forces ‘the green light to act with maximum harshness, including against the families of the terrorists‘.

A new presidential decree outlines new measures against corruption in a ‘National Strategy‘ including harsher fines, greater public oversight of government budgets and sociological research.  Transparency International is pleased to see a ‘road map of where to go‘ but others lamented the lack of civil control over government decisions.  President Dmitry Medvedev is in Buenos Aires with the Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner ahead of a Latin American summit and the anticipated forging of new energy ties.  Cuba will devote its international tourism fair to Russia next month.  
The Federal Union of Air Traffic Controllers has organized a hunger strike for workers directing planes over Russia to demand the ousting of their State ATM Corporation boss over ‘deceit, intimidations, blackmail and totalitarian method of management in regard to dissident workers‘.  The International Olympic Committee are content with Vladimir Putin’s promises that the Sochi site construction will respect the environment, but environmental campaigners and experts are still concerned, saying that advice has been ignored.  ‘IOC inspectors might appreciate seeing truck tires washed, but they do not see that dirty construction water simply flows into the nearby Mzymta River.
PHOTO: Municipal workers use a crane to erect restored statue of Vladimir Lenin near Finnish railway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, early Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)