TODAY: ‘True partnership’ hoped for between Russia and US; Russia wants second airbase in Kyrgyzstan. Planes edging into British airspace, deemed ‘unfriendly’ by Commons; Russia warns Japan on Kurils. Is the separation between church and state narrowing?
The head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency has said that the US and Russia should ‘move forward at a prudent pace so that there are collaborative decisions, intermediate decisions made along the way, so that there is true partnership‘. ‘Obama has been in office for only six months, but the world has already started to change‘ – Vladimir Ryzhkov is impressed by the President’s trip. Russia has asked Kyrgyzstan to open a second military base, in an apparent attempt to counterbalance American influence in the country. President Putin has said that Russia must defend itself against a ‘hostile takeover’ of its territories. The Kremlin has voiced confusion over an attempt by some PACE members to deny Russia the right to vote during assembly sessions; a move initiated by Georgia’s delegation. Foreign Minister Andrei Nesterenko has also raised concerns about Ukraine’s de-Russification policy...intensifying the gap in society’.
According to the Telegraph, Russia’s military aircraft have attempted to enter the airspace around Britain, without permission, 18 times over the past two years, which the Commons Defense Committee has called ‘not the actions of a friendly nation’, which ‘risk escalating tensions’. The BBC says British MPs have suggested that whilst cooperation with Russia is important, it does not mean ‘accepting the legitimacy of a Russian sphere of influence’.
Medvedev remains at loggerheads with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso over the issue of the Kuril Islands, calling a recent Japanese bill that claims the islands to be an integral part of Japan, ‘inappropriate and unacceptable‘. The Economist reports on why Russia has not developed its influence eastwards to the Asia-Pacific region to the same extent as in the former Soviet bloc.
To see a media spin round up, see the Other Russia. Russian Railways has retracted a statement saying Moscow’s Leningradsky Station would be renamed with its pre-revolutionary name, Nikolayevsky, a suggestion which was heavily criticized by the Communist Party. Patriarch Kirill has won a promise from United Russia deputies to preview all legislation to be considered in the State Duma, after voicing concerns about EU-initiated proposals for sex education in schools.
PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and leader of Nochniye Volki (the Night Wolves) biker group, Alexander Zaldostanov, also known as Khirurg (the Surgeon) speak during Putin’s visit to the group’s club in Moscow, Tuesday, July 7, 2009. The banner reads: ‘To Sevastopol!’ (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)