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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Feb 2, 2010

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TODAY: Police complain to Interior Ministry; US State Department and Human Rights Watch respond to weekend arrests; Patriarch Kirill completes his first year; Georgia’s Russian-language television station blames Russian censorship for problems; Poland and Sweden call to reduce nuclear weapons; hammer and sickle building in trouble?
A group of riot police officers have issued complaints to the Interior Ministry, some of which allege that they were forced to make false arrests.  The US State Department has offered its opinion on the weekend’s arrest of around 100 protesters in Moscow, calling it ‘another blow against freedom of speech and assembly‘.  Human Rights Watch, the US-based rights group, also chimed in, calling on Russian authorities to stop blocking peaceful demonstrations: ‘Russian law clearly grants the right to freedom of assembly.‘  Dmitry Medvedev’s presidential aid has arrived in Kaliningrad, following anti-government protests over the weekend, ‘to study the situation‘.  More reports on Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov’s efforts to demolish the wealthy Rechnik neighbourhood, which has already faced some night-time demolitions.

Patriarch Kirill has completed his first year of service, and is being celebrated accordingly – RIA Novosti looks at his achievements thus far.  First Caucasus, Georgia’s only Russian-language television channel is having a hard time getting off the ground, says the BBC, with the broadcaster blaming Russian satellite censorship.  Satellite operator Eutelstat denies the allegations: ‘We’re not a political animal.‘  Georgia is said to be ‘outraged‘ at a new agreement allowing visa-free travel between Russia and South Ossetia.  The New York Times writes on Russia’s ‘little war‘.  Is Sukhoi’s new fighter jet ‘shrouded […] in a cloud of misinformation‘?  
The foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland have made a public call for Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons it has stationed near EU member states.  Russia’s Kitchen Factory, the hammer and sickle shaped building in Samara, designed by a female architect and used by the Soviet Union as ‘an attempt to transform working and family life‘, could be torn down by local developers.  
PHOTO: A girl plays with snowmen built as part of a display on a street in Moscow January 31, 2010. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin