RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Dec 2, 2010


TODAY: New WikiLeaks on Litvinenko, Bout, high-level corruption, Georgia, and Putin’s wealth. Putin will not attend Russia’s World Cup bid; Larry King interview transcript; Fedotov outlines aims; AIDS protesters detained. 
New WikiLeaks have emerged, the most dangerous to diplomatic relations perhaps being high-level US accusations that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin must have had details of any Russian security elements operating in the UK, such as the one thought to be responsible for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko; there is also speculation that Russia is a ‘mafia state‘ with close links between political parties and organized crime.  Further leaked reports allege that Russia tried to bribe key witnesses in the Viktor Bout case, and that it directly supplied Georgian separatist regions with arms; there are further comments about Putin’s perceived power over Dmitry Medvedev; and speculation that Putin stepped down as president in 2008 in order to avoid legal investigations into his ‘alleged illicit proceedsthought to be worth billions.  Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, says that Russia, as a ‘closed society‘, has great potential to be reformed by projects such as his.  The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service says that spies will study the leaked cables and report their conclusions to the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin is dominating the headlines today.  Putin is blaming his decision not to attend Russia’s World Cup bid in Zurich on a ‘dirty campaign‘ against FIFA executives, after the BBC accused some of the FIFA voters of accepting illicit payments decades ago.  Putin said he would stay away ‘so that they can make their decision in peace and without any outside pressure‘, but analysts suggest that his attack is designed to draw attention away from a weak Russian bid. Sergei Lavrov however has expressed confidence about Russia’s chances.  Putin’s strongly-worded interview with Larry King is still drawing attention, partly for its various threats and partly for its entertaining references to Putin’s attempts to learn English.  Here’s a transcript of the interview, and CNN has some video snippets.
In an interview on his new post, the presidential advisor on human rights, Mikhail Fedotov, outlines some of his key aims, including the end of police violence against protesters, and ‘de-Stalinising the public consciousness‘.  Ten HIV-positive demonstrators were detained for marching to mark World AIDS Day, reports RFE/RL.  The Other Russia is running a translation of Oleg Kashin’s first article since his attack. 
PHOTO: Policemen detain activists during an unsanctioned rally to mark World AIDS Day in Moscow, December 01, 2010. RFE/RL/Yuri Timofeyev