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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Jan 25, 2010

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TODAY: Putin warns against reforms of political system; Medvedev defends election results; Yeltsin’s daughter taking on Putin in blogosphere?  North Caucasus job creation strategy; Tatarstan’s veteran leader to step down when mandate ends.  Protests against Popov death in custody; Whistleblower cop arrested; START apparently 95% complete; cinema battles; churches.

The political system must not wobble like runny jelly with every touch’: Vladimir Putin’s rationale for being cautious with reform.  At the State Council’s meeting the Prime Minister also managed to slam reform and Ukraine simultaneously, warning against the “‘Ukrainization’ of our political life”.  President Medvedev has, according to the Moscow Times, staunchly defended the October election results at the same meeting.  The Telegraph has an article on Boris Yeltsin’s daughter, Tatyana Yumasheva, whose Putin-critical blog is apparently provoking some commentators to wonder whether she plans to enter the fray in 2012.  ‘The bandits have been fended off ..  we won and returned the peace“: Putin tries to reassure the new Kremlin envoy to the the North Caucasus, Aleksandr Khloponin.  Apparently tackling unemployment and boosting the economy are the new envoy’s principal tasks.  After nearly 20 years at the helm, Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev has announced that he will not seek a return to office after his current term ends in March.


The Kremlin has sacked a regional police officer following the death in custodyof journalist Konstantin Popov last week.  Several hundred peopleapparently assembled in the journalist’s home town of Tomsk in a protest against the shady circumstances of his death.  An article by Yana Yakovleva in the Moscow Timesexamines the perils of false imprisonment for business people in Russia.  Corruption-busting policemanAlexei Dymovsky has been arrested as per a court order, which claims that he put pressure on an investigator.

95% of the issues around START have been coordinated, says President Medvedev.  Sergei Lavrov has described President Dmitry Medvedev’s proposal for a new security pact as a ‘litmus test‘ for the West’s good intentions towards Russia‘Putin is more of a steady, firm hand than a spoiler when it comes to Medvedev’s global foray’: an op-ed in the Moscow Times looks at foreign policy discord in the diarchy.   A Russian-made jet in Iran has caught fire, injuring at least 40 people.

Movie wars: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has showered praise on Renny Harlin’s ‘idealist‘ film, currently in production, about the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict – and lambasted Russia’s failure to recruit Emir Kusturica for a similar job.  TIME magazine looks at why Russia is reclaiming its Orthodox churches.

PHOTO:  Molten aluminum at a smelter run by Rusal, one of Russia’s largest privately held companies.  (Rusal, via Bloomberg News)