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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – April 9, 2010

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TODAY: New Kyrgyz government considers Russia its ‘key strategic partner’, Russia expects new leader to close US airbase; Medvedev and Obama sign nuclear treaty amid criticism of proposed reduction methods; post-Communist art in London; United Russia’s celebrities; Stalin posters. 
Kyrgystan is mourning those killed in recent uprisings.  Despite various Russian claims that it had nothing to do with this week’s unrest, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reportedly gave his official blessing to the new Kyrgyz leadership in Bishkek in a telephone call with interim leader Roza Otunbayeva, and the new government considers Russia its ‘key strategic partner‘. ‘Neither America nor Russia is an innocent bystander in this process,‘ says The Guardian, referring to previous squabbles over air bases, and a ‘senior Russian official‘ quoted in The Times apparently ‘made clear‘ that the Kremlin expects Otunbayeva to close the US base.  President Dmitry Medvedev and US President Barack Obama have signed the nuclear arms reduction treaty that has preoccupied officials and observers for so many months, under which both sides will reduce nuclear arsenals to 1,550 warheads over seven years.  Medvedev called the treaty a ‘win-win situation‘ (click for video).  Political commentators, however, wonder whether the treaty will have any bearing on improved relations between the two.  The Moscow Times voices widespread speculation on whether the reductions will be more visible on paper than in actual stockpiles, due to ambiguities over counting methods and US plans for new intercontinental ballistic missiles.  The Guardian examines how the new treaty could affect dealings with Iran’s program.

Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin suggests that crime victims should be able to collect money and property confiscated from convicts. ‘All three of these decisions proposed by Medvedev in the wake of the terrorist attacks have one quality in common: they are a direct continuation of the strategy formed by Putin in the beginning and middle of the last decade.‘  A new art exhibition in London focuses on Russia’s post-Communist art – click here for a preview.  Despite protests from rights groups and objections from United Russia, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov will place 10 billboards of Stalin around Moscow to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.  On the celebrity content of United Russia.  
PHOTO: Alexander Kosolapov, Molotov Cocktail (1989) Photograph: Courtesy Haunch of Venison and Galerie Volker Diehl via The Guardian