RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – August 19, 2009


TODAY: Security shake-up in Ingushetia; blame put on local police; Russia does tit-for-tat on diplomats; Medvedev and Peres meet to discuss Middle East, Russia to reevaluate plan for weapons to Iran?; hope for power plant disaster survivors wanesCPJ fears for the death of journalism.

According to the BBC, President Medvedev has appointed a new interior minister in Ingushetia, Viktor Zhirnov.  Russia’s Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev’s has slammed local police for failing to act on a tip-off they received about the bombing.  Medvedev has sent ‘battle-hardened’ Deputy Interior Minister Colonel-General Yedelev to Ingushetia to put the region ‘in proper order’.  Reuters reports on the ‘Afghan-isation‘ of the North Caucasus where the Kremlin’s policy of ‘liberal use of oil money’ has not been enough, analyst Svante Cornell suggests, to curb insurgency.  The Telegraph examines a report by the United States Cyber Consequences Unit claiming that attacks last year on Georgian websites were executed by ‘independent groups of civilian hackers with a special relationship to the Russian government’.

This unfriendly act by the Czech side, which declared two of our diplomats persona non grata, could not be left without a response’ said a Kremlin official, explaining why two Czech diplomats have now been expelled from Russia.  ‘In their nearly 18 years of independence, Ukraine and Russia still haven’t found a stable form of coexistence’.  Read more in an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times.  In a meeting between President Medvedev and Shimon Peres, the Israeli President expressed his hope that ‘Russia will do everything to prevent outbursts of violence’ in the Middle EastPeres has reportedly said that the Kremlin has pledged to reconsider the delivery of defense missiles to Iran.

Eight ‘pirates’ have been arrested following the recovery of the Arctic Sea.  The Malta Maritime Authority wonders if the ship ‘had never really disappeared’.  It is feared that the 64 missing workers from the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant are unlikely to be found alive.  The disaster ‘is a huge blow to national pride,’ says the Independent

The Committee to Protect Journalists has warned that critical journalism risks ‘becoming extinct’ in Russia with attacks on journalists carried out with seeming impunity.  A new Russian project for children to surf the net safely called ‘gogul’ has been launched  – but a ‘gogul’ search for Putin will provide no answers.

PHOTO: Putin listening to Air Force Commander in Chief Alexander Zelenin as they watch planes performing on August 18, 2009.  (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters)