RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Jan 12, 2011

FRONT-1-greenfields.jpgTODAY: Ultra-nationalist rally averted in Moscow; Nemtsov to appeal against arrest in EU Court of Human Rights; Gryzlov cautions against talks of Khodorkovsky-prompted sanctions; 2011 to be year of ecological activism? Kasparov offers bleak vision of future; Communists take issue with START; Polish plane crash report dispatched; St Petersburg conservationists attempt to save building; children’s show accused of political satire

Yesterday Moscow police arrested around 50 people belonging to the nascent ‘December 11 Movement’, who were suspected of planning a repeat of last month’s racist rally near the Kremlin walls.  RFE/RL reports that Solidarity co-chairman leader Boris Nemtsov has appealed his New Year’s Eve arrest in Moscow with the European Court of Human Rights.  The Court has apparently agreed to prioritize his case.  Eduard Limonov has also appealed his 15-day jail term domestically.  State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov has advised European lawmakers against speaking out ‘prematurely’, after reports circulated of EU sanctions against those linked to the Khodorkovsky case.  Activists in the city of Shakhty have launched a protest campaign against Mayor Sergei Ponomarenko, who they believe is responsible for the city’s soaring crime rate and social unrest.  The Moscow Times foresees a year of increased environmental activism, prompted by the recent climatic vicissitudes. 

The Washington Postcompares recent waves of repression in Russia and Belarus, but considers a contrast in rhetoric.  Vladmir Ryzhkov alsonotes the similarities in a Moscow Times op-ed: ‘Putinis determined to hold onto power and his privileged position at thefeeding trough using ruthless and dictatorial methods that resemblethose employed in Belarus’.  Opposition leader Garry Kasparov looks back over the past ‘critical’ year for Russia, and has a worrying prognosis for 2011.

The Communist Party has proposed suspending the ratification of the START treaty due to Washington’s refusal to link it to the issue of missile defense.  The Interstate Aviation Committee has sent Poland a final report on the plane crash that killed then Polish President Lech Kaczynski in April 2010.  

Around 30 activists of the Living City movement have reportedly gathered in front of a late 18th-century building in St Petersburg in an attempt to prevent its demolition.  A version of Cinderella being performed in Kamchatka has sparked controversy for allegedly poking fun at the Kremlin’s plans to change the local time zone.  The Moscow Times reports on how a porn producer is taking on what he views as a hypocritical Ministry of Culture. 

PHOTO: Abandoned infrastructure from an oil field littering the permanently frozen ground of the Yamal Peninsula in 2008.  (Vladimir Filonov / MT)