RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – August 6, 2009


TODAY: Submarine activity deemed routine.  Russia will not amass troops in Georgia; suggests non-violence treaty for Saakashvili’s regime.  Georgia denies rearming. Politkovskaya trial re-opens, and is adjourned.

A high-ranking Russian general has told reporters that the presence of Russian submarines off the US coast is ‘normal’.  The General says Russia has no intention of returning U.S. Humvees that were seized during last year’s conflict, but will keep them as war trophies.  An op-ed piece in the New York Times, written by journalists who ‘know firsthand about the difficulties confronting democratic development‘ in Georgia, suggests Washington needs to clarify its stance on the state and underline the necessity for democratic reforms.  Russian fear of losing clout with the West?  Georgian frailty?  The New York Times also reports on what both sides perceive as the reasons why the other is unlikely to go to war again.  Russia has urged the international community to halt arms supplies to Georgia; the state has denied Russia’s claims that it is on a rearmament drive. 

There is an article penned by Mikheil Saakashvili in the Washington Post exulting the progress he believes Georgia has made since the war.  Russia says that Georgia needs to sign a non-violence treaty in order to regain trust among neighboring states.  Apparently the Russian Armed Forces General Staff does not plan to reinforce Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  The new Prime Minister of South Ossetia is Russian businessman Vadim Brovtsev.  Kyrgyzstan has rebutted Uzbekistan’s complaints about a new Russian base. 

The retrial of suspects charged with involvement in the murder of Anna Politkovskaya has been quickly adjourned.  In line with the wishes of Politkovskaya’s family, prosecutors have agreed that the case should be concomitant with an investigation into who ordered the killing.  Spanish authorities have refused to extradite Antonio Valdes Garcia, whom the Prosecutor General’s Office has sought in connection with the case against former Yukos officials.

An op-ed contributor in the Moscow Times suggests that ‘political subordination among Russians’ is the result not of repression, but a general lack of political awareness’.  Read here for an argument for why the tenth anniversary of Putin’s rise to power leaves little to celebrate.

PHOTO: General Nogovitsyn pointing at a chart on August 5, 2009, while giving a news conference where he also discussed Georgia.  (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP)