RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 23, 2010


TODAY: Human rights groups call for murder inquiry into Magnitsky’s death; Memorial attempting to declassify Katyn documents; Russia denies Georgia’s uranium smuggling accusations; lawmakers urge Russia not to halt US adoptions; nuclear weapons squabbles; death of revolutions in former Soviet states; hidden cameras strike again.
The Moscow Helsinki human rights group is calling for a murder inquiry into the death of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer for Hermitage Capital who died in pretrial detention last year, after a criminal investigation accused officials of negligence.  ‘Magnitsky died of systematic torture and not of negligence.‘  Lyudmila Alexeyeva, of Dmitry Medvedev’s human rights council, laments the fact that the president’s constitutional powers have been useless in punishing those responsible.  Rights group Memorial is making headway on its attempt to declassify official documents relating to the Katyn massacre.  Russia denies Georgian accusations that attempt to link it with cases of attempted uranium smuggling, with a Foreign Ministry spokesperson accusing Mikhail Saakashvili of ‘presenting a lie as the truth‘.

US lawmakers are urging President Medvedev not to halt adoptions proceedings between the two countries, with AP reporting that no official statement of a suspension has yet been issued.  Russia and the US may have managed to get a replacement START treaty off the ground, with ratification due to begin next month, but Russia says it will not start destroying its nuclear weapons until the US removes its European warheads, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says that the US will ‘never waiver‘ from its commitment to protecting former Soviet states.  Russia is unhappy with what it perceives as NATO’s lack of action with regard to Afghan drug trafficking.  Time Magazine reports on the deaths of the Orange and Tulip revolutions, and Forbes looks at the possibility of Russia and China turning against each other.  
The hidden camera strikes again, this time incriminating opposition satirist and radio host Viktor Shenderovich, and ‘a man who looked very much like Other Russia opposition leader Eduard Limonov‘.  The Telegraph reports that a similar ploy was used to trap an Indian Navy chief caught in a diplomatic dispute with Russia over its Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier. 
The BBC has a video report on the effects of the recession on Moscow’s nightlife.  The Communist Party have helped to erect a statue of Lenin in Valdai, to mark the 140th anniversary of the Soviet leader’s birth. 
PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center, visits an art school in the town of Istra, outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 22, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)