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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Aug 24, 2010

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TODAY: Medvedev appoints new Kaliningrad governor; Nemtsov warns of revolution; Moscow forest fires extinguished; Putin credits Yeltsin with inspiring his current position, is put right by scientist on climate change claims; visa-free travel, violence surges in Dagestan, Viktor Bout.
President Dmitry Medvedev has appointed Nikolai Tsukanov as the new governor of Kaliningrad.  A regional opposition head noted warily, ‘I know nothing about the positive qualities of the candidate.‘  The appointment ‘confirmed [Kaliningrad’s] reputation as the only region in the country where no governor has served more than one term‘.  Canada’s National Post has picked up on Boris Nemtsov’s dramatic comments, following weekend rallies in Moscow and Kaliningrad, that ‘the real danger for [Russia] is that there will be a bloody revolution‘.  There are no forest fires left in the Moscow region, according to the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has written the forward for a new biography of Boris Yeltsin, in which he praises the former President for inspiring his current political path and, apparently, appointing him as successor with the words ‘take care of Russia‘.  During a visit to an Arctic research station, Putin speculated that climate change might just be a natural phenomenon – ‘the Earth living its own life and breathing‘ – using the extinction of woolly mammoths as his basis for evaluation.  Fortunately, he has since been corrected by a German scientist. 
[T]he main reason for not granting a visa-free regime for entry into Russia is not economic but ideological and is tied to Moscow’s hubris and outdated perception of how a superpower should act,‘ says this Moscow Times comment piece.  Analysts are trying to play down this week’s surge of violence in Dagestan, saying that it is not necessarily connected with the death of the Moscow Metro bomber over the weekend. 
The ‘Merchant of Death’ has been transferred to an isolation cell, says RIA Novosti.  ‘What are the Russians so afraid of?‘ 
PHOTO: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin smiles as a woman takes his photo during a visit to a hydro meteorological observatory in the Russia’s Arctic Ocean port of Tiksi in the Siberian region of Yakutia, Monday, Aug. 23, 2010. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)