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

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TODAY: Weather causes underground fires and air pollution; Chichvarkin seeks investigation into mother’s death; Ukrainian activists detained over Kirill protests; eleventh spy discovered in Canada?  Military hazing on the rise; Satanism and cocaine trafficking.
Moscow’s air is thick with smoke from peat bogs burning on the city’s outskirts as temperatures break records at 37.4˚C.  The fires burn underground and could continue on through October, warns Greenpeace, as they are difficult to put out.  Reuters says that, according to Mosekomonitoring, the government agency overseeing air pollution, ‘the amount of harmful impurities in Moscow’s air thanks to the smoke exceeded the norm by 5-8 times.‘  Yevgeny Chichvarkin, who founded mobile phone retailer Yevroset, is calling for an investigation into the death of his mother, due to evidence suggesting that she was beaten before her death, and Chichvarkin’s May appeal to President Dmitry Medvedev against alleged harrassment group of Interior Ministry officials.

Eight Ukrainian nationalist activists were detained yesterday for protesting (trying to stage a play) against the visit of Patriarch Kirill to Kiev, part of a wider debate about Russian authority over Orthodox Christianity, with many Ukrainians wanting an independent Orthodox Church.
Has Canada uncovered an eleventh Russian spy?  Non-combat military deaths are down, but incidents of hazing are on the rise, says this report.  Satanism in Yaroslavl, ethnically-motivated violence in Moscow, and a high-profile $2 million US-Russia cocaine-trafficking bust.  The government apparently thinks that it has solved 90% of Russia’s murders this year. 
PHOTO: Ukrainian police officers detaining a nationalist activist holding a portrait of Patriarch Kirill in Kiev, Monday, July 26, 2010. (Konstantin Chernichkin / Reuters)