RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Dec 31, 2009

PH2009123001540.jpgTODAY: Artist detained for holding expo in Moscow; New Year’s opposition marches banned.  Ten years in power (one way or another) for Vladimir Putin; poll shows approval for Yeltsin-Putin handover.  Population growth?  Cybercrime in a different language; the influence of the blockbuster on space policy; Russia’s magnetic attraction

Russian-born artist Igor Cherchenko, a member of Russia’s outlawed National Bolshevik Party, has been detained alongside another National Bolskevik, Dmitri Yelizarov, for holding an exhibition of his paintings in Moscow, the Other Russia reports.  The city of Moscow has denied three opposition groups, Another Russia, Moscow Helsinki Group and the Leftist Front, the right to hold a New Year’s Eve rally, an interdiction which, Another Russia protests, violates Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.  The International Federation of Journalists will imminently release a report on the most dangerous countries in the world for the media: Russia looks to be placed 5th in terms of the number of media workers killed this year.  President Medvedev may have suggested that the problem of anti-semitism is waning, but the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia is reinstating an anti-Semitism hotline.

A street boy turned into a very sophisticated political functionary and manipulator’: on the anniversary of ten years at the top, the BBC analyzes the secrets of Vladimir Putin’s success.  A new poll from the Russian Public Opinion Research Center shows that 66% of Russians believe that Boris Yeltsin was ‘right in every respect’ when he announced his early resignation and appointed Vladimir Putin his successor, on this day, ten years ago.  Bloomberg reports on the show of solidarity’ between Putin and Medvedev as the two see the year out.  The FT on the likelihood of Putin’s return to the Presidency: ‘In one sense, it does not matter. He rules the roost even from his present seat as prime minister’.

According to the BBC, Putin has announced triumphantly that statistics will show that Russia’s population, dogged by natural decline, has in fact risen for the first time since 1995.  Meanwhile Health and Social Development minister, Tatyana Golikova, has said that immigration is keeping Russia’s population up, and that whilst natural population decline is continuing, the birth rate is 3-3.5% higher than a year ago.

How the introduction of non-Roman domain names could facilitate morecybercrime, which, this commentator suggests, is a Russian speciality.  Apparently the Russian space agency is contemplating methods of deflecting the meteorite Apophis which may hit earth in 2036, as seen in Bruce Willis vehicle ‘Armageddon’.  All herald a concrete change in bi-polar relations: National Geographic has found that the magnetic north pole is racing towards Russia.  Happy New Year!

PHOTO:  In this Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2006, file photo Russia’s Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov speaks at a news conference in Moscow. Russia is considering sending a spacecraft to knock a large asteroid off its path and prevent a possible collision with Earth, the head of the country’s space agency said Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009.  Perminov said the space agency will hold a meeting soon to assess a mission to Apophis, telling Golos Rossii radio that it would invite NASA, the European Space Agency, the Chinese space agency and others to join the project once it is finalized.  (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)