RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – August 10, 2009


TODAY: Medvedev firm on realignment of Caucasus; pledges support for the breakaway territories; details of Cyxymu hacking case emerge.  Justice for Politkovskaya meets obstacles; Kadyrov shows little love for Estemirova; Putin celebrates ten years in power.  Helicopters, cars and cops.

Last year’s events have finally redrawn the political map of the Caucasussaid President Medvedev, awarding medals at a war in Georgia commemoration service.  Medvedev has promised to develop ‘full-fledged relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, regardless of whether somebody likes it or not’.  According to the President, Georgia has not stopped threatening to regain its ‘territorial integrityby force.  He has pledged to continue to provide South Ossetia with social, economic and military assistance and thanked President Sarkozy for his participation in the cease-fire.  The heads of Russian political parties have asserted that a Trans-Caucasian conflict was averted by the action against Georgia last summer.  Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia helped establish stability in the region.  The New York Times looks at Russia’s rhetorical knee-jerk reacting in using the word ‘genocide’ to describe Georgia’s operating in the breakaway territories.  An article in the Moscow Times argues that the conflict damaged Russia’s ties with neighboring states.

Putinand his government have got increasingly intolerant of any kind ofindependence of these countries.  Putin likes the idea of empire’, says Mikhail Saakashvili in the Times.  Georgia will defeat Russia not by war, but by ‘peacefully strengthening our democratic institutions’ says a (Biden-tinged?) Saakashvili.  The Georgian blogger Cyxymu, who was the apparent target of a major cyberattack, has laid the blame on the Kremlin.  The Independent wonders why this blog, which has on average 200 hits a day, inspired such a large-scale attack.

The Washington Post suggests that after ten years in power Putin is likely to hold the reins for some time to come.  Ramzan Kadyrov says the current Prime Minister should be ‘President for life’.   The Chechen President has said that murdered rights activist Natalya Estemirova did not have ‘honor, dignity ora conscience in an interview with RFE/RL.  The relatives of journalist Anna Politkovskaya have expressed disappointment that their request for the case to return to the prosecutor was thrown out.

A catastrophic week for Russian vehicles: bus crashes and helicopter death traps.  For rocketing crime rates among the police, see the BBC.

PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev leaves his plane after arriving in Russia’s southern city of Vladikavkaz, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009. Medvedev awarded medals Saturday to servicemen who fought in the war against Georgia a year ago, and promised Russia would not reverse its recognition of two breakaway Georgian provinces. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)