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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Dec 6, 2010

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TODAY: Crash-landing plane kills 2; satellites crash into Pacific; Putin held secret talks with FIFA heads, source alleges; Khimki opposition editor dies of cancer; Medvedev in Poland; corruption website to track suspicious tenders; UK MP denies aide was Russian spy.
An investigation has been launched into the crash-landing of a passenger plane at Domodedovo Airport; its pilots reported engine failure and made an emergency landing despite full fuel tanks and lack of visibility.  Two of its 167 passengers – including Gadzhimurad Magomedov, the brother of the leader of Dagestan – died in the crash.  Grigory Chekalin, a former deputy prosecutor for the Komi republic, has been sent to prison for fabricating charges against a local police investigator.  Russia’s three satellites crashed into the Pacific yesterday following a failed launch.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was directly responsible for Russia’s World Cup win, according to a former head of the Russian Football Union, who says that Putin held ‘secret talks‘ with FIFA members.  ‘The world’s media now worry about how [corruption and organized crime] might affect the 2018 football World Cup.‘  Speaking at a United Russia conference, Putin suggested that the party could learn to operate within a competitive political structure.

The editor of Khimki’s only opposition newspaper (who suffered many violent attacks during his lifetime) has died of cancer, leaving a question mark hanging over the paper’s fate.  President Dmitry Medvedev is in Poland today with the aim of improving ties.  RosPil, a website that aims to track corruption connected with state tenders, has started ‘tracking online state tenders for proposals that set unrealistic terms or goals‘, under the watch of activist Alexei Navalny.  Jamison Firestone, a former associate of Sergei Magnitsky, says that the deceased lawyer’s mother was being followed by journalists from a Kremlin-friendly television network, who could be making a critical documentary about him. 
Opinion is sharply divided over whether the church’s role in political discourse is a welcome staging post for traditional values or an alarming dose of conservatism in a country eager to modernise.‘  UK MP Mike Hancock is insisting that Katia Zatuliveter, his parliamentary aide who will be deported on grounds that ‘her presence is not conductive to the national interest‘, is not a Russian agent
PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a regional conference of his ruling party United Russia in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk, December 6, 2010. REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool