RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 9, 2009

front_2.jpgTODAY: Moldovan sovereignty should be protected says Kremlin; Sberbank CEO takes government to task on banking crisis; Putin’s party should harbor ‘no illusionswarns Medvedev; American accusations emerge over hacker spies

The Kremlin has supported Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin’s claims that Romania may have tried to overthrow his government, despite denial from Romania.  Russian officials have stated ‘of special concern are the provocative actions under the flags of Romania and the European Union‘, reports ITAR-TASS.  The situation in Molodova reveals cracks in Kremlin diplomacy in former Soviet states and Moscow runs the risk of being sidelined in favor of the West, argues an article in the Moscow Times.  Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, says there should be no conflict of influence nor ‘hidden agendas‘ in US-Russian relations, in a denial of suggestions that Russia attempts to build up influence in the ex-USSR, says Reuters. He has also commented that sanctions against North Korea would be counter-productive‘.

It has been reported that Sberbank CEO, German Gref, has criticized the government for their ‘slow action‘ inresponse to the problem of bad debt, which is mounting, with overdue bank loans increasing by 20%, according to Bloomberg.  Economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich, is no more positive about the crisis, reportedly stating that a large part of the economy, ‘doesn’t stand a chance of surviving in the next ten years’.  First Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov is more optimistic but also acknowledges the necessity of ‘certain structural reforms‘. 

President Medvedev believes state regulation of commercial banks’ lending rate is advisable to boost credit, reports Reuters.  Putin’s First Deputy Igor Shuvalov apparently disagrees, saying that such a move is an extreme measure‘.  Whilst saying that United Russia’s new power to appoint regional governors will ‘create unique opportunities for the party’, Medvedev has asserted, ‘it will be the president rather than the party that will make the final decision. There should be no illusions here’. 

President Medvedev is encouraging United Russia to use the Internet to campaign, as those who harness its potential will be the ‘political force in the future’.  The Moscow Times reports on a Wall Street Journal article that says that Russian cyberspies have entered the U.S. power grid and left potentially damaging software programs, with a view to disturbing electricity supplies.

PHOTO: A Moldovan guard sitting in the ransacked office of the speaker of the parliament in Chisinau, April 8, 2009.  (John Mcconnico / AP)