RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Feb 11, 2011


TODAY: Khimki forest activist detained with children; rights advocates call for legalization of methadone; Russia won’t follow Egypt while oil price remains high; Gorbachev blames poverty and instability for terrorist attacks; Medvedev calls for anti-terror drills. Suppression of cyber activities. Japanese Foreign Minister meets with Lavrov.
Khimki forest protester Alla Chernyshyova has been ‘arrested‘ with her two young daughters whom she brought with her to a Moscow demonstration yesterday.  According to a police spokesman: ‘It’s not an arrest, it’s just her delivery to the police station for clarification.‘  The detention was apparently made on suspicion that Chernyshyova had planted a fake bomb. ‘It’s all a lie,‘ she said.  Rights advocates want the UN human rights chief to press Russia to legalize methadone on her next visit, in a bid to alleviate rising heroin usage and the accompanying HIV crisis.  Strategy 31 rallies show a strong current of dissent, but ‘are hardly cause for panic in the Kremlin‘, says Reuters, deeming it unlikely that Russia will follow Egypt.  Another group of activists have been protesting St Petersburg’s snow removal methods, drawing attention to their plight with miniskirts and high heels.

Mikhail Gorbachev has criticized the Kremlin’s handling of the Domodedovo attack: ‘Those who think that terrorism can be defeated with cannons and rifles are mistaken. Poverty, humiliation, instability, these are the factors that must be addressed.‘  Police believe that the Domodedovo airport bombing was undertaken as revenge for a law enforcement raid on an Ingush village last year, in which the suspected bomber’s brother was killed.  President Dmitry Medvedev is calling for anti-terrorism drills across the country to ensure the safety of transport services, and has slammed Moscow’s Kievsky railway station for security failures.  ‘[I]t seems that the abolition of daylight-saving time is a done deal for Medvedev,‘ says the Moscow Times.  The President’s Twitter and LiveJournal blogs have been named the best of the Russian-language internet
Japan’s Foreign Minister, Seiji Maehara, is in Moscow for a meeting with Sergei Lavrov amid ‘new levels of rhetoric‘ this week regarding tensions over the Kuril Islands.  Lavrov apparently opened the meeting by addressing Japan’s latest comments as ‘unacceptable‘.  ‘Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to seek a world without nuclear weapons, both the United States and Russia are trapped in a Cold War mindset, and cling to nuclear arsenals that are far larger than they need to be.‘  This report talks about the various government measures used to suppress cyber activities last year, including regional blocking, and deletion of content: ‘Representatives of the website Vkontakte announced that their moderators were working in cooperation with the police and FSB to delete “dangerous” content.‘  Russia may find its WTO accession blocked by Republicans as part of their bid to pass free-trade agreements with Panama and Colombia.
Fauziya Bayramova, a Tatar nationalist leader, has written a manifesto criticizing Russian involvement in what she views as the diminishing of Tatar culture.  The Church’s latest move into technology reveals the strength of Russian faith: ‘One woman got back to me texting that she wished she could receive my messages 10 times a day, in order to sin less.‘ 
PHOTO: The Russian delegation led by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (seated, front R) and the Japanese delegation led by Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara (facing camera, seated, 2nd L) conduct talks in Moscow February 11, 2011. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin