RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – August 4, 2009


TODAY: New NATO chief asserts Russia needs to acknowledge sovereignty; nuclear chief fired; Uzbekistan wary of Kremlin’s Kyrgyzstan plans.  Moscow-appointed judge in Yukos case to step down. Anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s death.

The new head of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has said that the alliance will attempt to pursue a ‘strategic partnership’ with Russia, whilst ‘insisting on Russian compliance with her international obligations including respect of the sovereignty and integrity of her neighbors’.  The Commander of the strategic nuclear missile forces, Nikolai Solovtsov, has been fired after the repeated failures of the Baluva missile.  He will be replaced by General Andrei Shvaichenko.  Russia has renewed its backing for UN sanctions against North Korea, initiated to deter it from a nuclear program.  ‘Unnecessarily antagonistic actions’ characterize the Kremlin’s policy in its own backyard, suggests an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times.  Uzbekistan has bemoaned Russia’s decision to up its troop presence in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, fearing it could increase instability in the volatile region.

An article in Reuterssuggests that Abkhazia’s ambitions for its own statehood are curtailedby its dependence on Russia.  The EU has urged Georgia and SouthOssetia to keep a lid on tensions and demanded ‘unrestricted access’ for the Union’s observers to the region.  ‘Is the stage being set for a second armed confrontation over the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia?‘ asks journalist Yuri Simonyan in the Other Russia. 

A Gazprom board member appointed as judge by the Kremlin to the European Court of Human Rights in the Yukos Case has stepped down due to concerns about his impartiality.  Last week a governor in the Perm region began the process of ousting an elected mayor: a Moscow Times commentator reports on how this process, made possible by a recent legal amendment, places ‘elected local governments within the federal power vertical’.

In Bloomberg read a comment piece on Russia’s failure to put a stop to the silencing of human rights activists.  Is Medvedev’s new plan for religious education in schools woefully underdesigned?  Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Stanislav Naumov has praised a new online game about events in Pikalyovo.  Vladimir Putin has paid tribute to writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn on the anniversary of his death.

PHOTO:  Former Commander-in-chief of the Strategic Missile Forces, Nikolai Solovtsov.  (RIA Novosti Vladimir Fedorenko)