RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Jan 6, 2011

162056573.jpgTODAY: Protests against jail time for Nemtsov dispersed, more activists arrested; US senators add to chorus of disapproval; the single person picket phenomenon; ‘creeping censorship’.  Medvedev to visit Palestinian territories; Polish president will mark anniversary of presidential plane crash with trip to Russia

The New York Times reports upon how single person pickets are being disrupted by pro-Kremlin forces.  ‘It’s becoming clear we are on the way back to the 1940s and a totalitarian state. How can one sit and watch quietly as it happens?’  19 people have been arrested in the most recents protests against the jailing of Boris Nemtsov; Amnesty International has called the opposition leader a ‘prisoner of conscience’.  Three separate picket actions in support of the jailed opposition activists have taken place and been dispersed.  United States senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman have released a statement heavily criticizing Russia over Nemtsov’s incarceration.  ‘[U]nlawful arrests on the street, the falsification of charges in the police station, the rubber-stamped court decisions’: Garry Kasparov gives his verdict on the weekend’s events.  Arch Puddington and Christopher Walker on RFE/RL examine the disquieting trend towards ‘creeping censorship’ in democracies.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski will visit Russia in April to commemorate the first anniversary of the plane crash that killed his predecessor, despite prior tensions over the crash inquiry.  Warsaw is asking the United States to assist opposition politicians in Belarus in the wake of the post-election crackdown on dissent.  Two Russian nationals will face charges over their involvement in the rallies that sparked that crackdown in Minsk.  Meanwhile a human rights group in Belarus has said that police have raided its office and detained its director. 

Despite the cancellation of his trip to Israel, President Medvedev will visit the Palestinian territories, the Washington Post reports.  The ubiquitous Anna Chapman recieves a dressing down by Daisy Sindelar on RFE/RL.

PHOTO:  Russian icebreaker rescues icebound ship in Far East  (RIA Novosti. Vladimir Baranov)