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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Aug 26, 2010

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TODAY: Amnesty members detained at U2 concert; Strategy 31 cop under investigation; Triumfalnaya closure won’t deter protesters; anti-Putin report confiscated; Luzkhov prefers bees; Young Guard leader stepping down; bombers near Canadian airspace; Russia denies Georgia’s missile claim; Russia’s internet is ‘dangerous’; Viktor Bout; accusations of racism threaten World Cup bid.
Five Amnesty activists were detained for distributing flyers at Moscow’s U2 concert yesterday, the agency says.  The pearl-braceleted policeman caught on video beating a ‘peaceful protester‘ at the most recent Stragety 31 rally is apparently under investigation and could face jail.  The closing of Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square, the ongoing site of activist’s wrangles with the authorities over permission for rallies, is unlikely, they say, to deter them from gathering around its perimeters.  Yevgeny Chichvarkin says he will join a protest in favor of the right for peaceful assembly at London’s Moscow embassy later this month.  Police in Murmansk have confiscated copies of an anti-Putin report for suspected extremist content; apparently the same report was confiscated (and subsequently released) for the same reason in St Petersburg earlier this year.

News that Mayor Yury Luzhkov has allocated more funds to a honey producer who cares for his ‘personal bee farm‘ than to elderly and disabled residents recovering from the effects of smog is not likely to go down well.  The leader of United Russia’s youth group, the Young Guard, is stepping down, ostensibly due to a policy change, but the Moscow Times says the real reason is ‘the scandal caused by a photo and video shoot that showed Young Guard members pretending to fight a fire in the Ryazan region earlier this month‘.  Authorities, meanwhile, are trying to estimate the extent of fire damage
Russia has dismissed Georgia’s accusation that it deployed S-300 air defense missiles in South Ossetia.  Canada managed to intercept two Russian bombers that came within 50 kilometers of its airspace.  Turkey says it will no longer list Russia as one of its national security threats.  President Dmitry Medvedev’s police overhaul plan needs overhauling, suggests early public responses.  A new ‘Global Threat Index‘ estimates that Russia is one of the most dangerous countries – in terms of malware and viruses – in which to surf the web. 
Poor Viktor Bout, says Vladimir Kozin.  Bout is profiled here by RFE/RL.  A ‘racist‘ football banner could hurt Russia’s World Cup bid, says this report.  NPR takes a look at the charms of St Petersburg. 
PHOTO: A Russian man shovels grain at a farm in Vasyurinskoe. (AFP)