TODAY: Lavrov calls Georgia ‘masters of provocation’; soldiers placed on alert. Humanitarian concerns for the state of South Ossetia and Abkhazia; Russian subs seen off US east coast. Politkovskaya trial reopened; Nashi to create militias. Putin holiday pics reaffirm macho image.
‘Provocations from the Georgian side … are not stopping’
claims a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry, and the military have ‘stepped up’
readiness accordingly. ‘The situation is truly alarming’
says Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko, who has ordered soldiers in South Ossetia to be put on alert
. Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin has admonished the US: ‘it is highly regrettable that the Americans are going to further pump up Mikheil Saakashvili’s military machine
‘. Reuters reports on the freezing of the conflict but the possibility that, ‘it could at some stage re-erupt’.
Abkhaz President Sergei Bagpash has said that the breakaway region will wait ‘as long as it takes’
for its sovereignty to be internationally recognized. Reuters reports on the state of South Ossetia one year after the war, which, ‘zapped 80% of economic output from the already impoverished state’. ‘South Ossetia is rapidly becoming a ghost town’
says Yulia Latynina in the Moscow Times
. RFE/RL has a video report
on the survivors of the conflict.
The New York Times reports that two nuclear submarines have been seen patrolling the eastern seaboard of the US. Medvedev and Obama have had a telephone conversation concerning Georgia and reaffirmed their agreement to achieve arms cuts by December. Sergei Lavrov has said that Russia will accept the role of EU observers in the Caucasus, but not a US presence.
The Moscow Times also features an article on the 25-year old Chechen lawyer who defended the suspected murderers of Anna Politkovskaya which has reopened today. The US ambassador to Russia comments in the Moscow Times on a new law that will allow prosecutors to conclude formal cooperation agreements with defendants, meaning that it will be easier to put major crime figures behind bars. The Nashi movement’s latest initiative: creating armed youth militias to counteract opposition protests. Russia’s answer to Barack Obama is the talk of the US press.
An article in the Moscow Times examines Putin’s unfaltering popularity among the Russian people. To see how a torso can be a useful propaganda tool, check the Guardian. ‘The images will play well with Russians who respect Mr Putin for his hard-man image’, says the Independent.
PHOTO: The Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin feeds a horse during a holiday in the Republic of Tuva. (Alexey Druzhinyn/EPA)