RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Jan 8, 2010

157487294.jpgTODAY: Abuse of office in Kamchatka; police reform a pipe dream?  Stop and START; deja vu in the New York Times; Russia issue crops up again in Ukraine presidential race; South Ossetia emphasizes Russian ties; Poland spy story; Christmas Medvedev’s time of forgiving (the lucky few); architectural preserver dies

The mayor of a town in Kamchatka has been suspended due to alleged abuse of office, which involved jumping the queue to buy limited access apartments with public funds.  Robert Coalson looks back in anger at last year’s Gazprom helicopter-crash-revealing illegal poaching scandal, whose making public via internet photos suggested that new media tools could help exert pressure on the government. The case of whistleblower police Major Aleksei Dymovsky, who is now facing criminal charges, demonstrates, he suggests, otherwise.  Why ‘2010 does not look like the year of reform for the Russian police’ on RFE/RL.

Telemetry encryption‘ is proving the sticking point in the delays over START replacement, says Julian Borger in the Guardian, and has not been helped by ‘the intervention of Vladimir Putin, who as mere prime minister is not really supposed to meddle in such things’.  ‘Beginnings without endings, of journeys undertaken with the goal not reached’: the theme of the unaccomplished is also raised by Alison Smale in the IHT.

South Ossetian officials have said that residents in the Akhalgori district will have to have their documents translated into Russian if they wish to cross the border into Georgia itself.  Ukraine’s presidential front runner Viktor Yanukovich has affirmed that should he win, he will ensure the country does not enter NATO andwill end what he views as Yushchenko’s ‘policy of discrimination’ against the country’s Russian-speakers.  Poland has arrested a Russian man for alleged spying.  Polish President Lech Kaczynski has invited Dmitry Medvedev to the celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. 

President Medvedev has issued 21 pardons for convicted criminals in the Christmas spirit of ‘morality and mercy‘.  Alexander Litvinenko has made his way into the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  The mysterious death of the first man in space unravels.  David Sarkisyan, director of the Schusev Museum of Architecture has died at the age of 62.

PHOTO: David Sarkisyan, director of the Schusev Museum of Architecture, who died January 7, 2010, at the age of 62.  (Ria-Novosti)