RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 21, 2009

capt.photo_1247989773970-1-0.jpgTODAY: Georgia hoping for US backing on monitoring against ‘enemy’ Russia, promises reforms in advance of Biden’s arrival.  Medvedev asserts arms talks to continue with US; CIS summit sign of waning influence?  Medvedev has signed NGO law.

President Medvedev has affirmed that Russia will continue arms negotiations with Washington, describing his recent meeting with Obama as ‘long expected, but not an easy one‘, but ‘as a minimum, the conversation is going on’.  Georgia is reportedly hoping that the US will join the EU’s efforts to monitor the border of the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to prevent aggression from Russian forces.  According to the Washington Post, with US Vice President Joe Biden about to touch down in Georgia, President Mikheil Saakashvili has made promises of democratic reforms such as a direct mayoral elections and an opposition TV channel, in order to encourage backing from the US.  An editorial piece in the New York Times describes the open letter from former eastern European leaders to Barack Obama as ‘remarkable breach of convention.’  ‘This letter should be a wake-up call for the Obama administrationsays a commentator in the Telegraph.

Reuters reports on how CIS leaders who did not attend the weekend’s summit were showing that they are unhappy with the state of relations with Russia, and the West’s interest in wooing the countries is also contributing to the faltering of their loyalty to Moscow.  An interview with Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev says that Russia is interested in opening a new military facility there to curb the risk of insurgency coming from Afghanistan.  Apparently Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus may resume their WTO negotiations as of September.   According to a new report, the EU needs to work more effectively with Bulgaria, or the EU’s poorest country is very likely to succumb entirely to Russia’s influence.

It looks like the people who were transporting her produced some service ID cards, thanks to which they were allowed to pass the checkpoint easily’: Yulia Latynina is unconvinced that the authorities had nothing to do with the murder of Natalya Estemirova.  There is an interview with Memorial executive committee member Alexander Cherkasov on RFE/RL.   President Dmitry Medvedev has signed the much vaunted ‘reforming‘ legislation reducing restrictions on human rights groups and NGOs.

PHOTO: Russian troops ride on armoured personnel carriers in the South Ossetian town of Dzhava in August, 2008. US Vice President Joe Biden will visit Ukraine and Georgia amid concern in both nations that their relations with the United States could suffer as US-Russian relations improve (AFP/Dmitry Kostyukov)