TODAY: Disillusion in Siberia; Strasbourg to discuss Khodorkovsky case; new film out on the Yukos trial; Viktor Bout trial to unlock Russian secrets? Lyudmila Alexeyeva asserts the need for protest to be legal; two activists jailed; Medvedev gifts orphanage; Putin wows in woolly jumper
‘Things were much better in the Soviet Union’: the Washington Post has a special report on post-Soviet decline in the icy climes of Northern Siberia. Ria-Novosti reports that the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights will discuss the verdict on Russian ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev. Kathy Lally looks at ‘Vlast‘, a new film by Cathryn Collins, which apparently uses the Khodorkovsky trial as a vehicle for the story of Russia’s trajectory from communist authoritarianism to capitalist pillaging in the 90s.
Robert Amsterdam in the Telegraph argues that Russia has much to fear from the trial of notorious arm dealer Viktor Bout: ‘He is connected to Russia’s shadow state and the most powerful elements of the power elite’. Lyudmila Alexeyeva explains on the Other Russia why she will continue to work within the framework of the law and ask permission for rallies. Two Other Russia opposition activists have received two-day jail sentences for hoisting a banner protesting the imprisonment of opposition leaders in a Moscow square.
Konstantin Kosachyov, chief of the State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, has reportedly said that Russia should ratify START by the end of this month. A twelve-man Russian fishing vessel has gone missing off the Pacific coast after sending a distress signal that it was sinking.
Russia’s conquering junior hockey team has made a safe return from the US, second time lucky. President Medvedev has paid tribute to Old Saint Nick with a pledge to spend $1 million on repairs to an orphanage in Ivanovo, as well as the gift of a bus. Meanwhile Putin has vied for the best Christmas jumper prize at Midnight Mass.
PHOTO: In this Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 photo a man with his dog skis in Zyuzino outside Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)