RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Jan 27, 2010

rechnik1.jpgTODAY: Commission suggests eradication of preliminary voting; corruption in army proves costly; Rechnik residents aren’t giving up the fight.  NATO-Russia meeting signifies first breakthrough since 2008; Libya looking to buy jets; Novaya Gazeta victim of hack attack?  Russia apparently doing cybercrime proud; Soviet chocolate

Russia’s Central Elections Commission has proposed that preliminary voting be abolished at all levels, following on from a suggestion of President Medvedev, who has argued that preliminary voting creates the conditions for voting violationsRFE/RL continues to examine the events of the State Council Meeting.  The BBC reports on how corruption among the armed forces in Russia cost the government $100 million in 2009, twice as much as the year before.  A spokeswoman for the Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers has said that the military draft in 2009 was characterized by more rights violations than any other draft in the past 15 years.  ‘Illegal and brutal’: RFE/RL reports on the Rechnik demolition, with a hint of class warfare?  Now-displaced residents of the Moscow neighborhood have reportedly appealed to the United States and Germany for asylum

Russia and NATO formally resumed military tiesyesterday – in the first meeting of its kind following the collapse ofrelations during the Russia-Georgia conflict of 2008.  Russian and NATOchiefs of staff agreed on a framework military cooperation treaty.  Contrary to suggestions otherwise, the Washington Post reports that Russia has in fact agreed to stop blockinga US proposal to take five former Taliban officials off a UN list ofterror suspects as a sign off good faith towards the moderate Taliban.  Russia is apparently willing to assist inthe reconstruction of Afghanistan, if Western countries will come up with the cash.

Libya’s Defense Minister is in Moscow with his eyes on the skies; apparently talks could lead to a $2 billion defense contract including 20 jets.  ‘The key lies namely in social and economic development‘, says Medvedev: Yulia Latynina thinks it will take a lot more than hearty encouragement to resolve the problems Caucasus envoy Alexander Khloponin is facing.

Possibly scuppering the Kremlin’s much-vaunted halt-in-demographic decline data, experts have new statistics showing that the number of children in Russia is falling.  The website of Russia daily Novaya Gazeta may have suffered a hack attack.  According to an anti-virus software lab, Russia would get the ‘Gold Medal’ for cyber fraud, although China also performs strongly.  Lenin’s widow chocolate has a makeover.

PHOTO: Policemen standing guard as a mansion is razed in Rechnik on Tuesday, January 26, 2010.  ( Alexander Natruskin / Reuters)