RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 30, 2010


TODAY: Stalin posters still a bone of contention; Russia to demand greater powers over adoptees in the U.S.; mayor taken hostage; smiles found lacking; Freedom House; metro militant killed?; Lavrov sounds threatening over Iran; Ukraine partnering up with Russia?; suspect joggers.
Initial talks over Russia-U.S. adoptions indicate that Russia wants greater powers to protect the rights of its overseas adoptees, including the right to file charges against adoptive parents for neglect.  The two sides have scheduled further discussions for May 12, and adoption agreements with Europe are being drawn up in the mean time.  This case of dropped bribery charges looks like foul play to the Communist Party.  A ‘drunken Siberian‘ briefly took a local mayor hostage yesterday, apparently for ‘not reacting to complaints‘.  Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov may not have been given official approval for his V-Day Stalin posters, but plenty of veterans are planning to make their own, reports RFE/RL. ‘The controversy over the posters, like all discussion of Stalin’s role in history, exposes a deep rift in Russian society.‘ 

In a survey of the friendliness of service industries in 14 countries, Russia was ranked 12th, with a 65% smile reading.  The Washington Post explains why it is in favor of banning Russian diplomats connected with the death of Sergei Magnitsky from the U.S.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is stepping up the rhetoric, but still no sign of any action on Iran sanctions.  Authorities say they have killed a militant suspected of assisting the March 29 Moscow metro bombings.  
The Other Russia takes a closer look at this week’s Freedom House report with its ‘particularly scathing analysis of the situation in Russia‘.  In doubt about the nature of Russia-Ukraine partnership?  Just look at the numbers, says the New York Times: ‘Since March 5, there have been at least seven Russia-Ukraine meetings on the level of president or prime minister — in effect, one a week.‘  Another meeting is scheduled for today. 
The Bolshoi Theatre’s new facade has been unveiled.  Michele Berdy interprets Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Duma outburst against Yury Luzhkov.  An amusing piece on the ‘suspect‘ activity of jogging, including a quote from a person at the Russian Athletics Federation: ‘We have nothing to do with people who just run around outside for exercise.‘ 
PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, fixes a radio beacon on a neck of a polar bear, which was anaesthetized, during a visit to a research institute at the Franz Josef Land archipelago in the Arctic Ocean on Thursday, April 29, 2010. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, pool)