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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Dec 3, 2009

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TODAY: Russian judges resign over inability to perform their jobs in ‘ruined’ legal system; top courts shooting for transparency; media giants at war; Putin’s Q&A on air today, focused on terrorism and economy as Chechens claim responsibility for train bomb; missionaries concerned over new proposed laws; another Georgia spat.
Two Russian Constitutional Court judges have resigned from senior posts after speaking out against corruption in the judiciary, one having recently said that the justice system was ‘in ruins‘.  A former justice minister and personal acquaintance of the pair commented, ‘the fact that they made this difficult decision means that they saw no possibility to do their job right‘.  Russia’s three top courts are hoping that a new agency that will distribute rulings and other legal materials will help to build public trust in the judicial system. Gazprom-Media and Video International, both of which sell television advertising, are at war over alleged violations of competition law.  

Why does everybody scurry around like cockroaches whenever I show up?‘ Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s annual Question and Answer session goes on air this afternoon.  Reuters already has some highlights, including warnings about the threat posed by terrorism (after Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the last week’s bombing of a passenger train traveling from Moscow to St Petersburg), insistence that the economy will recover with ‘time and strength‘, and promises to visit single industry towns that fall into trouble.  
Christian missionaries are concerned about proposed changes to Russia’s Law on Religious Activity, under which only leaders of registered religious groups and their officially authorized missionaries would be allowed to pass out religious literature, preach and talk about their faith in public. 
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has accused the two Russian academics banned from entering Georgia this week of being spies who support the Russian occupation of Georgian territory.  New Stalin-related history has emerged.  
PHOTO: Relatives and friends grieve at the funeral of Boris Yevstratikov, a victim of a train bombing, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)