RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 3, 2009


TODAY: Obama taxes Putin with living in the past; Pepsi’s role in Cold War thaw; reserve currency may be discussed at Putin-Obama meeting; is Medvedev really the host?; Chechens suspected in Klebnikov murder on wanted list

Barack Obama has verbally chastised Putin for keeping one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new’.  Medvedev hopes for ‘intensive and full-fledged talks’ with the US President.  Whilst Medvedev may be the official host, an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times argues that Obama needs to engage with Putin to tackle the thorniest issues.  During Obama’s visit, a breakfast meeting with the Prime Minister may involve discussions of the reserve currency.  According to the Financial Times, it looks like both sides may dig their heels in on the issue of missile defense.  It’s going to be tough for Obama, says the Economist.  Another article in the Economist suggests that Russian anti-americanism is largely due to an inferiority complex on the Kremlin’s part. 

Russia and the US will be celebrating the anniversary of the first ‘capitalist food product’ to arrive in the Soviet Union,which was Pepsi, 50 years ago, seen being drunk by Khrushchev.  The MoscowTimes looks at the media’s attempts to find links, even the most tenuous, between Barack Obama and Russia.  A spokesman for Medvedev has said that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was wrong to reveal details of his talks two years ago with then President Vladimir Putin. 

Eminent US economist Joseph Stiglitz has called the terms required for joining the WTO ‘outrageous’ and has lauded Russia for showing resistance to the ‘extortion’.  The Independent reports on how tension on the Georgian border with South Ossetia is ‘palpable’ but analysts are divided as to whether a new invasion will take place.  A second Russian soldier has asked Georgia for asylum in a week.  The New York Times examines how Russia’s attempts to maintain influence among its neighbours with loans are not always met with submission. 

Investigators have put three Chechens suspected of killing U.S. journalist Paul Klebnikov on an international wanted list.  Pro-Kremlin youth groups have banned Gazeta.ru journalists from attending their summer camp.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev visits the Sevmashfactory in the northern city of Severodvinsk July 2, 2009. (REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko)