RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Aug 23, 2010

230810.jpgTODAY: Crowd gathers to listen to songs in Moscow Khimki protest, anti-Putin protest in Kaliningrad; Nemtsov detained for trying to march; forest head sacked; blogger under fire from United Russia for snubbing comment request; Moscow Metro bomber killed? Bout and Khodorkovsky.

Moscow’s Pushkin Square drew a strong crowd yesterday (1,0002,000 or 3,000 people, depending on your source) to protest the destruction of the Khimki forest. Police apparently detained some opposition leaders ahead of the rally, including Lev Ponomaryov who says he was ‘just passing by‘, and intercepted musical equipment, but Yury Shevchuk still managed to play two songs (without a microphone) despite a ‘concert ban‘, reports say.  Reuters and the Moscow Times say that 3,000 people also gathered in Kaliningrad to call for Vladimir Putin’s resignation, but this AP report counts just ‘hundreds‘.  Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was apparently detained for ‘trying to march down a main Moscow avenue without permission‘ with 20 (or 100) others attempting to celebrate ‘Flag Day’.  RFE/RL has a video of the Moscow gathering.

The head of the Federal Forestry Agency has been sacked.  ‘Dr Liza‘, a prominent humanitarian aid activist and blogger Yelizaveta Glinka, has been accused by United Russia of having ties with opposition party A Just Russia after she ignored the party’s request to comment on volunteer firefighting efforts.  Alexei Bayer criticizes the ‘infantile behavior‘ of anti-Putin blogger top_lap.  The Anti-Terrorism Committee says that a ‘mastermind‘ of the Moscow Metro attacks in March has been killed.  The retrial and acquittal of a group of nationalists previously accused of trying to kill Anatoly Chubais ‘cast rare light on anger in some military circles toward Vladimir Putin’s rule‘.  The mother of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky is linking her son’s imprisonment with just that.  
It is thought that aleged arms trafficker Viktor Bout is creating friction between Russia and the US – he’s due to be extradited to the US, but Russia ‘want him back because he’s linked to Russian intelligence‘, suggests the Washington Post
PHOTO: Iranian women security officials of the Bushehr nuclear plant observe the media (Abedin Taherkenareh/EPA)