Russia has reportedly claimed that Ukrainian troops and volunteers joined with Georgian soldiers in fighting against Russia during last year’s five-day war. Celebrating the 18th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Soviet rule, embattled President Viktor Yushchenko deflected the criticisms from abroad, in particular ‘foreign overlords’. President Medvedev has been on a recruitment drive in the Buryatia region of Mongolia, where on a visit to a temple the President asked Buddhist monks to join the armed forces as spiritual advisers.
Human rights activists have remembered their former colleague Natalya Estemirova, the 40th day after she was abducted and killed. Prime Minister Putin made an unannounced visit to Chechnya in a show of support for President Ramzan Kadyrov, who has come under fire for his alleged involvement in recent activist deaths. Former Yukos Vice President Vasily Aleksanyan has undergone a medical examination to establish whether he is fit to attend trial. Is Ukrainian opposition member, reformer Arseniy Yatsenyuk, ‘something like a Ukrainian version of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky‘ as Alexei Pankin of the Moscow Times suggests?
Medvedev has criticized the media for dubbing the hydropower plant tragedy the ‘Chernobyl of the 21st century’ and has firmly asserted that Russia is not on the cusp of a technological meltdown. The Other Russia reports on the restrictions the media faces when investigating disasters. Castles in the sky: an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times suggests that Russia’s dreams of aviation preeminence, voiced at the MAKS show, are flights of fancy.
A TV report has uncovered how Moscow’s beggars are cogs in a business machine which enables its ’employees’ to earn up to $1,300 a month. For those planning on a career in dissimulation, the Moscow Times reports on high schools students who are paying for exam question papers and answers for the supposedly corruption-busting Single State exam. The race to be Russia’s first black politician just became tougher – original candidate Joaquim Crima will now face a rival of African descent, Filipp Kondratyev, in what the Guardian suggests is the local authorities’ striving to split the pro-Crima vote.
PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev visiting a Buddhist monastery in the village of Verkhnyaya Ivolga in Buryatia, August 24, 2009. Russian Buddhists revere Medvedev as a deity, and the president seemed to live up to their expectations, promising financial support and Buddhist chaplains in the military. (Dmitry Astakhov / RIA-Novosti / Reuters)