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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Dec 9, 2010

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TODAY: Police light-handed with nationalist footballers; Memorial activist attacked; corruption estimates and counter-forces; Roscosmos plays down Glonass crash; Rogozin calls for NATO admission; terrorist attacks double; airplanes did fly near US-Japan military drill; Polish President reserved on Russia reset; missile teamwork with Kazakhstan.
A 1,000-strong protest of ‘out of control‘ football fans chanting nationalist slogans was left contained but undisturbed by Moscow police, whose actions were praised by Solidarity leader Ilya Yashin: ‘If the riot police had provoked violence, it could have led to many casualties.‘  A Memorial activist says he suffered a concussion from being attacked after responding to a call for help.  Transparency International puts Russia in its second most corrupt category, below Afghanistan, Nigeria, Iraq and India, in a new poll indicating that global corruption is on the rise.  A Kremlin administrative head expressed a similar sentiment: ‘our society’s level of infection with this illness [of corruption] is extremely high, but we can not talk about a pandemic.‘  Presidential Aide Sergei Naryshkin says that Russia is still engaged in systemic measures of cracking down on corruption, particularly on efforts within G8, G20 and CIS frameworks.  The entire top tier of police officials in Vladimir Oblast have been sacked for ignoring crimes; and a former Tula policeman has been given a ten year jail sentence for killing a suspect.

Roscosmos is trying to play down the recent Glonass crash as ‘just a technical failure‘, and presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko is not impressed.  NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin is calling for NATO to ‘publicly give up military plans against Russia‘; the organization has thus far neither confirmed nor denied the WikiLeaks allegations of secret defense plans with Baltic states.  Julian Assange should be nominated for a Nobel prize, suggests a Kremlin source. 
Reuters counts oil price, budget deficit, terrorism, and Vladimir Putin himself among Russia’s current key political risks; terrorist attacks in the North Caucasus have doubled year-on-year, says RIA Novosti.  Russia admits that its airplanes flew near Japanese airspace during a US-Japanese military drill as part of ‘regular activity‘; Japan’s version of events is that Russian planes interrupted the exercise.  Despite overall optimism that relations are improving, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has spoken cautiously on relations with Russia in a meeting with US President Barack Obama, saying ,’We are not able to fully reset and delete 1,000 years of uneasy history with Russians.‘ 
Russia and Kazakhstan are planning to team up on a ballistic missile warning system as part of wider plans to strengthen military ties, with discussions already underway on the latter’s purchase of S-300 missile systems. 
PHOTO: A man shovels snow from the yard of a private house in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, December 8, 2010. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin