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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 22, 2010

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TODAY: NATO meeting to be dominated by Russia questions? Scientology writings banned for extremism; Sochi Mayor orders residents to paint their roofs; IOC life president dies; anniversary of Lenin’s birth; motorists protest flashing blue lights on state vehicles; Viktor Petrik condemned by science academy; Russian art auction struggles due to volcanic ash; Samara policemen jailed for drug dealing.
RFE/RL says NATO’s Tallinn meeting this week is expected to be dominated by Russian issues, including the resumption of harmonious relations and a potential joint missile defense program.  Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes in today’s Moscow Times on nuclear non-proliferation in what appears to be an attempt to drum up support for shared missile defense and to align NATO’s interests with Russia’s.  Following ‘psycholinguistic analysis‘, Russia has banned the writings of L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientology founder, for their ‘extremism‘, and because they ‘undermine the traditional spiritual basis of the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation‘.  Further scandal surrounding preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, from the Other Russia – the city’s Mayor is apparently ordering private home owners to paint their roofs red, in order to bring to the city ‘a unified architectural look‘.  Vladimir Putin marked the death of Juan Antonio Samaranch, honorary life president of the International Olympic Committee, as ‘an unrecoverable loss,‘ calling him a ‘good friend of Russia‘.  Today is the 140th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth – RIA Novosti has a brief biography of the Soviet leader.

The fight against the flashing blue lights that allow state vehicles to override traffic regulations has inspired regular drivers to put blue buckets atop their vehicles in protest, says the Moscow Times.  The Russian Academy of Sciences has condemned Viktor Petrik, the scientist behind United Russia’s Clean Water program, saying that his 38 Russian patents ‘repeat technical solutions previously registered by local and foreign inventors‘.  
A ‘double whammy of the economic crisis and the volcano‘ saw Sotheby’s Russian art auction in New York struggling to sell its lots.  Three Samara policemen have been jailed for selling illegal drugs
PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, left, and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, right, take a walk in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Wednesday, April 21, 2010. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)