RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 2, 2009

02:04:09.jpgTODAY: New START treaty by the end of the year; Russia on the global stage; Putin – the new emperor?;  journalist dies in mysterious circumstances; no opposition broadcasts before Sochi election; copper-workers feeling the crunch; Lenin too.

President Medvedev and Barack Obama have announced that a treaty to reduce their nuclear arsenal will be agreed by the end of the year, in a major step towards a ‘nuclear-free world‘.  A joint statement on the meeting is reprinted in the New York Times, as is a transcript of comments.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov states that there has been a ‘qualitative, not mathematical, reset‘ in US-Russian relations.  Russia hopes to assert itself at the G20 summit as crisis-hit developed countries look to emerging markets for cooperation, reports Reuters.  Well-respected Kremlin academic Igor Panarin predicts that Vladimir Putin will be the figure behind a new ‘Russian empire‘ and oversee the birth of a ‘Eurasian Alliance‘, the Telegraph reports.  Where does Russia fit in the ‘new European security architecture’?

Sergei Protazanov is the latest victim in a run of attacks on journalists in Khimki, says an article in the Moscow Times.  The page designer for Grazhdanskoye Soglasiye (Civil Consent) died after poisoning, according to police; colleagues say he was violently attacked. The paper’s editor, Anatoly Yurov, said six journalists had been attacked in Khimki in the past two years.  Anti-fascist activists are poorly served by the justice system, comments Boris Kagarlitsky in the Moscow Times.  The judge in the Khodorkovsky case will not allow Yukos’ former chief financial officer, U.S. citizen Bruce Misamore, to bear witness. 

The New York Times reports that in Sochi, local television and radio will not broadcast campaign adverts before the electionWorkers in the copper-producing Chelyabinsk region are feeling the bite of the credit-crunch – as consumer loans and mortgages have to be paid off despite dropping wages, describes an article in the Moscow Times.  As prices increase, some Russians are struggling to pay for vital medicines, reports the BBC.  A statue of Lenin was the only victim of a bomb which exploded near Finlandsky Station in St Petersburg.  The Communist Party reportedly says it was, ‘a politically charged act of vandalism‘.

PHOTO: Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev shake hands during their meeting ahead of the G20 summit in London, April 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)