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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 27, 2010

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TODAY: New bill could give FSB power over media; Dalai Lama visa refused; Senator wants Russian officials connected with Magnitsky’s death banned from the U.S.; Putin denies that personal ties with Berlusconi are driving deals; Medvedev not against NATO proposals; opposition honeytraps, Rechnik park?; Chornobyl anniversary.
The Moscow Times examines concerns relating to a newly proposed Duma bill, ostensibly introduced to combat extremism but which, some fear, could grant the FSB ‘more power to intimidate citizens‘, and more specifically, ‘to target media reporting unfavorably about the state’s actions‘.  RFE/RL also notes some early critical responses.  The Dalai Lama has had his request for a Russian visa refused, apparently in part due to ‘the current anniversary year of our shared victory with China in the Second World War‘.  ‘Risk[ing] a diplomatic row with Russia,‘ U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to deny visas to 60 Russian officials for their alleged involvement in the death of Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.  Cardin called Magnitsky’s treatment ‘a very serious human rights violation‘.  President Dmitry Medvedev says he is not against recent proposals for cooperation with NATO.

A head police investigator in Moscow has been detained on suspicion of extorting $900,000 in bribes.  Solidarity opposition leader Ilya Yashin wants the law to get to the bottom of a recent string of honeytraps targeting anti-Kremlin politicians and journalists.  The Moscow neighbourhood of Rechnik, the subject of late-night January raids evicting homeowners, could be turned into a park zone by the city’s ecological department.  Vladimir Putin insists that various deals between Russia and Italy are based on ‘the interests of our states and understanding of each others’ interests‘, rather than the close personal relationship between the countries’ two leaders.  ‘Is it true that for the sake of order and stability Russians are against change?‘ 
Ceremonies yesterday commemorated the 24th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster.  The Times makes a late addition to the recent reports on the blue bucket motorist protests.  Naomi Campbell is proving a hit in Russia. 
PHOTO: Italian Premier Silvio Berusconi and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at a press conference at Villa Gernetto, in Gerno, near Milan, Italy, Monday, April 26, 2010. (GETTY)