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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Aug 27, 2010

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TODAY: Activists praise decision to delay Khimki proceedings; Pomonaryov receives three-day sentence; Medvedev sends Magnitsky appeal to Investigative Committee; fire damage estimates are ‘astronomical’; governor withdraws lawsuit against military mother; Ukraine staying away from Kerch Strait border; U2 on Gorbachev, Putin on a PR rampage.
Yevgenia Chirikova, one of the more prominent activists defending the 2,500-acre Khimki oak forest, praised President Dmitry Medvedev’s decision (staged in front of a leafy backdrop) to call for ‘additional analysis‘ into the construction of a highway that would require the forest to be razed. ‘Even if the decision is not final, the very fact that [Medvedev] stopped deforestation is a great victory.‘  Rights activists are criticizing the ‘unexpectedly harsh‘ three-day jail sentence for Lev Pomonaryov, the penalty for his participation in a Flag Day march.  Solidarity opposition coalition co-leader Mikhail Shneyder was also sentenced.  Medvedev has sent an international legal network appeal for justice in the case of Sergei Magnitsky over to the Investigative Committee for consideration.  Anatoly Bagmet’s replacement with a little-known Kremlin official as the Committee’s Moscow branch has analysts stumped.

The Biodiversity Conservation Centre is reporting ‘astronomical‘ figures of economic damage resulting from Russia’s forest fires – estimated at $300 billion, and that’s before factors beyond economic value are taken into account.  Ukraine is not going to attempt to demarcate its borders with Russia in the Kerch Strait – a long-term issue between the two – over worries that it could damage national interests in doing so.  RFE/RL reports on the power that bloggers have in drawing attention to regional issues that would otherwise go unnoticed.  The governor of Omsk has withdrawn his lawsuit against the mother of a soldier who died in military service – after winning it. 
U2’s Bono praised former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev as ‘a great hero of ours‘ at the band’s Moscow show, which is receiving extra press attention due to the Amnesty activists detained outside the stadium.  Vladimir Putin’s ‘public relations rampage‘ is being lapped up by Russia’s state-run television channels, says the Moscow Times
PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin poses for a picture in front of a Russian-made Lada Kalina car in the city of Khabarovsk, August 27, 2010. REUTERS