RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 27, 2011


TODAY: Magnitsky report blames investigator; Medvedev marks Chernobyl anniversary; Lavrov says Russia won’t support UN Security resolutions on Libya, Putin criticizes operation; bombs in Volgograd; Moscow to have first gay pride march; Memorial group targeted; Russia’s sporting events muscle; spiritual nightclubs.
Further details on the president’s human rights council investigation into the death of Sergei Magnitsky have emerged.  The council’s report, the findings of which will be presented to Dmitry Medvedev later this year, says investigator Oleg Silchenkobears seriously responsibility for Magnitsky’s death‘.  At a ceremony held in Ukraine to mark the anniversary of Chernobyl, President Dmitry Medvedev spoke about the state’s duty ‘to tell the truth to its people‘.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia will not support any UN Security Council resolutions on Libya that lead to escalation of current conflicts; and Vladimir Putin has criticized the coalition for exceeding the remit of the original resolution, saying that they have no ‘right to execute‘ Muammar Gaddafi, and pointing out that ‘the country’s whole infrastructure is being destroyed‘.  He also suggested that oil is ‘the main object of interest to those operating there.‘  Two bombs have exploded in the Volgograd region, prompting strengthened security measures – no one was injured.

Moscow authorities have granted permission for the city’s first ever gay pride march.  Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev said, ‘The authorities must now ensure the security of the participants in line with the ruling of the European Court.‘  Rights group Memorial says it is the target of ‘threats and abuse‘ due to its various proposals to commemorate victims of Stalinism.  Several commentators have likened Vladimir Putin’s address to the State Duma last week to speeches by Leonid Brezhnev: because it ‘offer[ed] many details but without relevant comparisons and devoid of principles,writes one.  Both leaders ‘replaced a reformist predecessor who was ultimately seen as bumbling, erratic, and ineffective,‘ says another.  Russia is apparently going to have its own national aerospace defense shield by the end of the year. 
Russia has come to the UK’s rescue, stepping in to host a gathering of 200 Olympic committee leaders next year, contributing to its ‘rising influence and financial muscle in world sports and the Olympic movement‘ (Moscow has already replaced Japan as the host of the figure skating world championships and could take on further pre-Olympics events).  Research by a pharmaceutical association suggests that Russians avoid visiting the doctor because they ‘overestimate how healthy they are‘, with 80% of deaths thought to be attributable to chronic illnesses. 
The Orthodox Church is considering opening ‘spiritual nightclubs‘ to offer late night ‘unhurried conversation over a cup of tea‘. 
PHOTO: Russian soldiers wait for instructions during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade on Red Square in Moscow April 26, 2011. Russia celebrates the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany on May 9. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin