RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 27, 2009

capt.19d8bea223bb4e6a99c6b9fddc6c8902.russia_olympic_election_mosb105.jpgTODAY: United candidate on course to win yesterday’s Sochi vote; dirty tricks rumors abound in election analysis; ‘fast start’ on US nuclear arms deal; military spy chief dismissed; Alexei Kudrin receives US court subpoena

The Washington Post reports that acting Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov has won the Sochi election with more than 76% of the vote.  The Moscow Times does not declare a winner, but looks at exit poll predictions of a United victory and examines turnout, saying attendance reached 39%.  ‘These aren’t real elections‘, Communist Party candidate Yuri Dzaganiya has told the Guardian.   ‘The secret services are completely involved in this election’, says Boris Nemstov, according to the BBC.  The Washington Post reports on a documentary denouncing Nemtsov broadcast in the run up to the election.  Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov was the last person Anatoly Pakhomov hoped to see at a ceremony to commemorate the Armenian genocide, says the New York Times.  In St Petersburg, a United Russia politician has renounced his own victory in a local election as a matter of vote rigging.

Very productive is the word on Friday’s meeting between US and Russian negotiators to discuss a new nuclear arms treaty.  Alexei Kudrin has apparently warned however that Russia will not accept being treated as a ‘junior partner’ in negotiations.  ‘North Korea at this point does not intend to return to the six-party talks‘, Sergei Lavrov told journalists following his meeting with North Korean officials.  President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed military intelligence chief Valentin Korabelnikov, following his criticisms regarding the Kremlin’s plans to upgrade the army.
The Moscow Times examines why thisyear’s demonstration in Minsk to mark the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, traditionally an opposition rally, has been smaller than usual.  Three workers in Zlatoust Metallurgical Works have gone on hunger strikefollowing the plant’s announcement to suspend production untilmid-June.  A UN report warns that the government’s policy isnot adequate to curb demographic decline; Reuters adds that overcoming xenophobia could facilitate population growth.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has commented that developed countries are showing a cool attitude towards reform of the IMF’s representation quotas.  The Finance Minister has also been served a summons in the US to testify in a case concerning defunct oil major Yukos.  Following Putin’s recent remarks implying the pressure is getting to him, Kudrin is apparently pleased to hear he produces the impression of being ‘unaffected by stress‘.

PHOTO: A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Sochi, Russia’s Black Sea resort, April 26, 2009.  (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)