RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Jan 12, 2010

dmitrisoloviev.jpgTODAY: Surprise clearing of opposition blogger; Russia’s stance on 14th protocol examined; migrant workers to gain legal standing?  Middle-classes in no-man’s land.  Rogozin and Gromov’s advice for NATO; START talks on-going; Senator McCain receives medal from Georgia; Cold War meat

A Russian blogger from the Oborona opposition movement, accused of inciting hatred against law enforcers, has been cleared of all charges, reports the Other Russia.   Oborona leader Oleg Kozlovsky has described the decision as ‘unprecedented’ although has pointed out that there are many other bloggers who are not as fortunate.  Ellen Barry in the New York Times has a feature on long-standing human rights activist Lyudmila M. Alexeyeva.  ‘Moscow creates a problem and then offers to solve it for a price’: will the 14th protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights be treated any differently? asks RFE/RL’s Power Vertical.  lllegal migrants working in private households in Russia may have the chance to attain legal working status under new legislation dealing with the issue of migrant labor.  This article looks at the fragility of the apparently democratic leaning middle-classes in the post-Soviet space.

Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, and governor of the Moscow region, Boris Gromov, offer NATO counsel in an article in the New York Times: ‘NATO should get down to studying our war in Afghanistan, in whichthe Soviet Union managed to deter the onslaught of Islamicfundamentalists for a full 10 years’.  START talks are apparently continuing despite some recent tensions prompted by Putin’s comments on offensive weapons.

A group of soldiers and civilians have reportedly received jail sentences for charges of mutiny against the Georgian government during the war with Russia last year.  U.S. Senator John McCain has been awarded a ‘National Hero of Georgia’ award for his support of Tbilisi during the conflict period.  The Moscow Times wonders whether signs of a truce are illusory.  The BBC considers why the Orange Revolution did not spark a wave of revolutions across the rest of the former Soviet Union.

An officer of the Russian Defence Ministry has been detained in Moscow for allegedly accepting a bribe.  According to Ria-Novosti, there were over 400 attempts to illegally launch criminal cases in Russia in 2009.  Jazz musician and People’s Artist of Russia Georgy Garanyan has passed away at the age of 76.  Desperate carnivores brace yourselves for disappointment: some meat frozen 35 years ago has been blocked from being smuggled from the US to Russia.

PHOTO: Blogger Dmitri Soloviev, who has been cleared of charges of inciting hatred against police after investigators found no evidence that any crime had actually occurred.  (The Other Russia.)