RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 2, 2009

capt.22b4960225254f86adfd7d13bf8b109a.russia_us_talks_mosb106.jpgTODAY: Re-set still top of the headlines; military disarmament a benefit or a loss for Russia?; Caucasus talks see no resolution; Russian academy invitation to denounce ‘falsifiers’; legendary Soviet singer dies

The Moscow Times reports on Barack Obama’s comments on his first trip to Russia, four years ago: ‘Thinking of the Russians more as partners does mean being more thoughtful, respectful and consistent about what we say and what we do’.  ITAR-TASS reports that the Presidents have had a telephone conversation in advance of their meeting.  In the Washington Post there is an analysis of the riddles that abound in Russia political identity; with Putin’s anti-Americanism and authoritarianism, will Obama strike more of a chord with fellow trained lawyer Medvedev?   A senior Russian senator has said that a breakthrough on US-Russian relations is very much a possibility.  The Other Russia reprints a letter from three US senators urging Obama to be firm on defending democratic values.   The Washington Post reports that most Russians are unaware of the US President’s upcoming trip, let alone the phenomenon of ‘Obamamania’.

The Washington Post looks at what Russia sets to gain from nuclear reduction: ‘an arms deal would maintain nuclear parity without the expense of replacing aging Soviet-era weapons’.  A senior Russian analyst has said that Russia should not cut its nuclear warheads dramatically, as it must remain competitive with developing countries such as North Korea.  US-Russian trade has grown, according to Reuters.

Apparently the latest round of Geneva discussions on the situation in the Caucasus have been ‘constructive’.  Georgian and Russian officials have met for security talks in Geneva, but no agreements have been made.  Reuters reports that tensions are still high between the two countries.  The Wall Street Journal is surprised at Russia’s sabre-rattling, given the imminent arrival of the US President.

The New York Times looks at the intersection between cultural openness and a desire for greater civic freedom in Russia.  RFE/RL reprints a letter sent by the Russian Academy of Sciences’ history section which demands that staff expose all scholars those who have been involved in any ‘falsification‘ of history.  A Lenin statue has lost an arm in Kiev; Ukrainian nationalists are responsible.  One of Russia’s most popular folk singers, Lyudmila Zykina, has died at the age of 80.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev, seen in front of the Russian Presidential flag and the Russian flag, listens to U.S. President Barack Obama during a telephone conversation in the Gorky presidential residence outside Moscow on June 30, 2009.  (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)