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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 8, 2011

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TODAY: Yurgens backs Medvedev; law boosts opposition representation; Medvedev calls for LiveJournal attack investigation; Putin to receive debate questions in advance; the history of Russo-Polish relations; literature, racism, tiny gold ships.
Kremlin think-tank head, Igor Yurgens, says Russia would benefit from a political thaw, but praised the current leadership for keeping power out of the hands of nationalists, and threw his weight behind Dmitry Medvedev as presidential candidate in 2012.  A new law would ‘slightly boost the representation of the political opposition‘ by allowing opposition parties to field candidates in regions where they don’t have offices (at present, only three registered parties have offices in all 83 regions).  Prison access has been relaxed for senior officials and rights activists.  What exactly did Vladislav Surkov mean by ‘sovereign democracy‘?  Putin will receive most of the questions on his annual report, to be answered during his April 20 debate, in advance.  This piece from RIA-Novosti analyses current Russo-Polish relations in light of recent history between the two: ‘[c]urrent developments between Moscow and Warsaw should be viewed in the context of the preceding, difficult, period.

President Dmitry Medvedev has called for a legal investigation to find out who was responsible for the cyber attack that caused his blog to be shut down. ‘As an active user of (LiveJournal) I consider these actions revolting and illegal.‘  An analyst quoted at Time magazine suggested that the attack ‘is an attempt to uproot not one user but the entire LiveJournal community, which appears to have become too influential, too strong in setting the political agenda of the day.‘ 
This piece looks at the changing nature of mainstream Russian literature.  St Petersburg football club Zenit has been fined over a racist incident involving one of their fans, a Brazilian player, and a banana.  A new exhibition has opened in the Kremlin, displaying six fabergé eggs (containing tiny golden ships) and a ‘marble sausage […] evoking the hunger of the Soviet era.‘ 
PHOTO: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel into space, hits the headline of the US paper “The Huntsville Times” on April 12, 1961, after orbiting Earth aboard the Vostok I spaceship. (AFP/File)