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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 4, 2011

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TODAY: Duma bill calls for agency to monitor state officials; Prosecutor General/Investigative Committee row continues; anarchists claim attacks; Khimki demonstration detentions; Magnitksy’s mother seeks independent analysis; health warnings for abortions; Buryatia princess gets a second visit.
The Duma will consider a bill to create an agency that would ensure objective investigation into the activities of state officials, who are usually immune to prosecution.  The Prosecutor General’s row with the Investigative Committee continues, with the former demanding that an inquiry into regional district head Alexander Shestun be reopened.  Anarchist group the Earth Liberation Front is claiming responsibility for a series of attacks carried out last month, including setting fire to a bulldozer in Khimki forest.  A Sunday protest against the destruction of the forest saw police take ‘several‘ activists to a local station for ‘a preventative talk‘.  Vladimir Putin’s All-Russia People’s Front ‘looks like a simple vote machine designed to deliver a majority in the State Duma and put Putin back in the Kremlin, and the front’s leader doesn’t hide this.

The mother of Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer whose death in pre-trial detention has still resulted in no arrests after 18 months, is demanding tissue samples from her son’s body in order that she can arrange an independent forensic analysis–her initial request was refused.  Russia’s tit-for-tat plans to blacklist foreigners who have allegedly violated the rights of Russian citizens (a response to the U.S. plan to blacklist officials linked with Magnitsky’s death) constitute ‘a clumsy, infantile attempt to divert attention away from its own abuse of power‘, says Michael Bohm.  Vladimir Frolov blasts Dmitry Medvedev’s ‘clumsy attempt to remove St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko and appoint her speaker of the Federation Council, a power the president does not legally have under the Constitution.‘ 
In an attempt to deal with falling birthrates and rampant abortions, a new Duma bill insists that abortion advertisements carry health warnings.  Vladimir Putin is boosting the profile of Buryatia, re-visiting the little girl that he provided with a ‘fairytale dress‘ there in 2008.  The Moscow Times profiles Rostov-on-Don
PHOTO: People look at a heart created by smoke from the L-39 jets of the “Russ” aerobatic team during an air show at the International Maritime Defence show in St.Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, July 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)