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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 26, 2011

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TODAY: Medvedev’s rights council says Magnitsky charges were fabricated; Solidarity calls for more protests; Lavrov in South Ossetia; Moscow economy rental prices jump; alcohol-related deaths; Bolshoi to reopen; Kaspersky’s son freed.
The President’s human rights council’s independent investigation into the case of Sergei Magnitsky has found that tax evasion charges against the lawyer were fabricated, and that ‘wrongful acts‘ contributed to his death in pretrial detention.  The Solidarity movement is calling for more street protests to show public desire for regime change, with leader Boris Nemtsov calling for protests to become the movement’s primary aim.  Elections will never succeed in changing the political structure, says Garry Kasparov, as his website published poll results that show dwindling support for both Putin and Medvedev.  Vladimir Ryzhkov compares Vladimir Putin to Leonid Brezhnev – his speeches are ‘just as amorphous and lacking substance‘ – and the two leaders front a similar ‘official silence regarding the country’s deep economic and political problems‘.  Putin’s ambitious goals will not be solved through the application of his belief that ‘any political goal can be achieved by throwing money at it,‘ says this Moscow Times editorial.  On a trip to South Ossetia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged support to protect the region from Georgia’s ‘military provocations‘.

Rates for economy rentals in Moscow have jumped 10 percentage points this year, and apartments affordable for those on lower incomes are becoming scarce.  The Guardian profiles Russia’s vodka problem and its effect on the population, with a case study from the village of Rybaki and its drink-related deaths.  Following extensive reconstruction, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre is to reopen in October with its original design intact.  Five arrests have been authorized by the Moscow City Court in connection with the kidnapping of Yevgeny Kaspersky’s son, who was freed by police over the weekend. 
PHOTO: Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev, right, speaks with a veteran of the Chernobyl ‘liquidators’, emergency workers who fought the blaze at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the disaster in Moscow’s Kremlin, Monday, April 25, 2011. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)