RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 6, 2011


TODAY: Ivanov in the U.S.; political apathy on the rise; LiveJournal hacked; Libya campaign could backfire, say Russian ministers; Roskosmos head stepping down, speculation over embarrassment; Investigative Committee reprimands employee over leak; Moscow’s arts venues and Russian writers.
Deputy Prime Minster Sergei Ivanov is in the U.S. to discuss economic relations, where he has acknowledged corruption and a lack of confidence in the Russian judicial system.  A new VTsIOM poll notes Russians’ increasing political apathy, with a third of respondents saying that they ‘totally ignore political life in the country‘, and the overall percentage of politically-interested citizens falling.  Blogging platform LiveJournal was hacked and frozen for seven hours earlier this week, with bloggers insisting that state resources must have been involved.  A Deputy Defense Minister is warning that the Western military campaign in Libya could backfire if extremists come to power in the region, backing earlier claims by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the rebels included a terrorist element.  Yulia Latynina likens Dmitry Medvedev to Vladimir Putin’s shoelaces.  VOA profiles Alexei Navalny, who warns that corruption ‘has the whole economy by the throat‘.

The head of an EU monitoring mission set up in Georgia following the war with Russia thinks that the latter ‘lost its leverage over Georgia when it recognised the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.‘  The head of Roskosmos is to step down, supposedly due to his age, although officials were apparently angry over the failed December launch of three navigation satellites: ‘one of the most embarrassing failures in the Russian space programme in recent times‘.  Remember that story about the Investigative Committee’s plan to question the prosecutor-general’s son?  Well, you weren’t supposed to know about that.
A statue of Yuri Gagarin is to be built in London ‘as a symbol of aspiration, as well as intellectual curiosity‘.  Reuters writes on three of Moscow’s major arts venues.  Historically, ‘the Russian writer is often both an advocate of a strong state and a revolutionary,‘ but the current political leadership don’t look much like ‘avid bookworms,‘ says Zakhar Prilepin
PHOTO: Activists of the Other Russia opposition movement rally in support of the movement’s three activists, depicted in poster, who were arrested on charges of organizing mass disorder last December, during a demonstration on Manezh Square, in Moscow, Tuesday, April 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)