RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 29, 2010


TODAY: Medvedev orders Kremlin corruption investigation, signs law extending FSB powers as the service looks set to expand; Khimki forest activists trash admin building? YouTube to be blocked by court order; Moscow smog levels ten times above safety norm; Nemtsov evaluates Putin report; CIS foreign policy; brawl at youth camp creates tensions.
President Dmitry Medvedev has made a very public order (there’s even a photograph) for Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to investigate any possibly corrupt activities by the Kremlin in connection with the 2014 Sochi Olympics – specifically in relation to allegations that Vladimir Leshchevsky was taking bribes.  Medvedev has also signed into law the controversial bill expanding the FSB’s powers, granting them the right to issue warnings to those ‘creating the conditions for crime‘.  And is the Foreign Intelligence Service on the verge of being incorporated into the FSB?  RFE/RL says that such a move ‘would essentially recreate a monolith Russian spy agency reminiscent of the Soviet KGB‘.

Khimki forest activists are said to be behind the reported ‘trashing‘ of an administration building with rocks and smoke bombs, although the Khimki Mayor didn’t seem to have any knowledge of the incident, and the graffiti supposedly reading ‘Khimki forest‘ seems rather basic.  The Komsomolsk-on-Amur City Court has ordered the Khabarovsk region’s internet provider to block five archive websites, including YouTube, for their ‘extremist‘ content.  Google said that the decision ‘breaches the right for freedom of information, guaranteed by Article 29 of Russia’s Constitution‘.  Moscow’s pollution levels are now ten times above safe levels, says Mosekomonitoring, thanks to smoke from peat fires that started in the heatwave.  The Levada Center’s critical report, ‘Putin. Results. 10 Years,‘ has been evaluated by Boris Nemtsov.  A former Nashi training ground is the site of an outdoor installation comparing opposition figures with Nazis, reports The Other Russia
Anders Aslund looks at the Kremlin’s recent foreign policy tactics in the CIS: ‘The fundamental problem is that everybody is suspicious of Russia’s real intentions.’ A brawl between Russian and Chechen youths at a ‘youth camp‘ is apparently the source of a new diplomatic stir, and raising ‘ethnic tensions‘.  Yulia Privedennay, an ‘amateur poet‘, has been given a suspended sentence for engaging in militant activities
Anna Chapman’s father, reputed to be a former FSB official, is ‘scary‘, says her former husband. 
PHOTO: Moscow’s Special Force (OMON) officers aim their pistols during an exhibition training in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)