RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 29, 2009


TODAY: Russia warns against US joining monitoring in Georgia; Lavrov unfazed by Biden’s comments. US says Russia could still join NATO.  Ambassador to Britain claims no legal basis for British Council activities in Moscow. Moldova election kicks off. 

Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin has said that Georgia’s movements on the frontier with South Ossetia and Abkhazia are ‘categorically inflating political and military hysteria’.  A high-ranking diplomat has said that including the US in monitoring missions in Georgia would be ‘extremely harmful’ and would raise ‘the likelihood of border provocations,’ as well as endangering the reset.   Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has downplayed Joe Biden’s ‘Bush-like’ comments as ‘not normative’, saying that US voters who chose Obama voted against ‘old America’.  Biden’s comments were ‘appealing to the relatively progressive part of the Moscow elite’ argues a piece in RFE/RL.  To read an interview with Thomas Graham, a former senior director at the National Security Council for Russia, see the TelegraphThe Obama administration says it does not preclude the possibility of Russia joining NATO, if the state meets the criteria.  Apparently Russia and Iran will engage in joint naval exercises for the first time in the Caspian Sea.

The Washington Post reports on the pivotal elections in Moldova.  Is China’s favorably termed $1bn loan to the state a direct challenge to Russia and the West for influence in the country?  The EU may offer Belarus a loan if the state can undertake convincing and irreversible reforms’.  The Russian ambassador to Britain, Yuri Fedotov, has reportedly said that the British Council in Moscow is only permitted to exist as a goodwill gesture’ on the part of the Kremlin.  Fedotov also called the restricted visa regime for Russians traveling to the UK ‘very odious’.

The government has drawn up a bill allowing federal authorities to hand out compensation for damages rendered during counter-terrorist missions, apparently hoping to decrease the amount of cases reaching the European Court of Human Rights‘No country with a large number of impoverished people is fit for democracy’ argues Yulia Latynina in the Moscow Times.  Solidarity leader Boris Nemtsov claims that a remote tracking device was found attached his car.  The Other Russia maintains it will hold a Meeting of Dissent in Moscow, even without official permission.

An article in the Guardian argues that Patriarch Kirill’s visit to Ukraine is pious, not political.

PHOTO: A worker places posters on a wall for the Communist Party, reading Let’s defend our Motherland! in both Russian and the local language, in Chisinau, Moldova Monday July 27, 2009.  President Vladimir Voronin, who leads the ruling Communist Party, has been campaigning on fears that the center-right opposition – which claimed April 5 parliamentary elections were rigged – might want to reunite the nation with neighboring Romania.(AP Photo/John McConnico)