RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Dec 2, 2009

PH2009120102746.jpgTODAY: Activists call for investigation into death of journalist Olga Kotovskaya, ruled as suicide, they say murder; Magnitsky letters reveal extent of abuse; the judiciary fights back against corruption.  OSCE unexcited by Medvedev pact; Rogozin threatens NATO with limited Afghan help after lack of response; Sochi logo bankrupting power; Russian academics barred from Georgia; ‘positive’ history; Google.

The Guardian reports on how rights groups are calling for an investigation into the ‘suicide’ of journalist Olga Kotovskaya, who fell to her death from a 14-story building in Kaliningrad, just a day after she had won a court case to regain control over the independent-thinking TV channel she ran.  ‘Living conditions here are worse than anywhere I’ve been before’: the AP interviews Sergei Magnitsky’s mother and discusses his letters from jail.  Apparently the Russian Supreme Court is not investigating the fact that Magnitsky died at Butyrka prison According to the Other Russia, judges are demanding the right to begin criminal proceedings against those attempting to pressure them and obstruct the correct workings of legal procedures.  Yulia Latynina laments the decline of law enforcement structures in the Moscow Times.  The political infighting behind proposed reforms to the police is analyzed on RFE/RL.

The OSCE is apparently lukewarm’ about Medvedev’s post-Cold War security proposals; meanwhile the US is examining them.  Russia’s envoy to the EU is apparently pleased that member states have shown some interest in the ideas.  Dmitry Rogozin is, according to Reuters, frustrated with NATO’s apparent lack of interest and implied that this may imperil expanding cooperation in Afghanistan.  Ria-Novosoti reports that Rogozin has complained that NATO is actively excluding Russia from its discussions on the war-stricken country.  EU representatives are insisting that the Lisbon Treaty will make the union’s policy towards Russia more lucid.  The Russian and US leadership are apparently insisting that talks on the START replacement be intensified so as to ensure a new treaty is drawn up as soon as possible.

Find out why the Sochi Olympics branding has spelled bad news for a local entrepreneur.  The President of the IOC is apparently confident that Russia will provide ample security measures for the 2014 Games, in the light of the recent terrorist attack on the Nevsky Express.  A Russian Islamist group has apparently claimed responsibility for the tragedy. 

Two academics have been prevented from entering Georgia, a mark of Georgian bad faith, says the Russian Foreign Ministry.  Documents have been released this week that elucidate the motives behind the murder of Stalin rival Sergei Kirov whose killing apparently provided a pretext for the leader’s purges.  One of the writers of Russia’s new Stalin-friendlier history textbooks is cross-examined by John Sweeney in the Times.  Romanov heirlooms have proved a runaway hit at a Sotheby’s auction.  What does Putin have in common with crabs? Google, apparently, says the Moscow Times.

PHOTO: Nataliya Magnitskaya, mother of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail two weeks ago, holds a portrait of him and letters he sent to her from jail, as she speaks in an exclusive interview with the AP in central Moscow in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 30, 2009. Magnitsky worked for a British-born investor who fell from grace of Russian authorities and was barred from the country for vague national security reasons.  (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)