RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 5, 2011


TODAY: Investigators rule against prison doctors in Magnitsky case, activists want officials to be held responsible, Netherlands rules in support of ban on case-related officials; Moscow slams NATO on Libya; Chirikova profile; Vkontakte reveals IP addresses; visa-free travel to Georgia; Matviyenko, election speculation, child molesters bill.
Investigators have ruled for the first time (and in contradiction of previous expert findings) that lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death in pre-trial detention was ‘direct[ly] caused‘ by a lack of medical treatment. Rights activist Valery Borshckev welcomed the news, but said that the committee was keeping silent about a beating which, he says, was the real cause of death.  The Presidential human rights council says that this new conclusion matches last year’s Public Oversight Commission report.  Family members are concerned that the ruling will take heat away from case investigators; the Washington Post paints the news as a direct rejection of the outcome desired by international observers, (i.e., to charge officers involved, not doctors).  The Netherlands has voted unanimously to support the entry ban and asset freeze, currently being considered by U.S. and E.U. authorities, that would apply to Russian officials implicated in the case.  A former British Ambassador to Russia is calling on UK authorities to ban Magnitsky-related officials and make their ‘abhorrence at what has happened […] publicly clear‘.  During talks held yesterday on the sidelines of a Nato-Russia Council meeting in Sochi, Moscow accused the alliance of implementing a UN resolution on Libya to suit its own ends. ‘We want this resolution to be fulfilled literally, without expanding its interpretation,‘ said Sergei Lavrov.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen continues to insist that the organization is ‘a partner that Russia can trust‘.

U.S. Ambassador John Beyrle says that the important ‘reset‘ measures with Russia will come with next week’s signing of agreements on visa rules and adoption.  Georgia has opened its Larsi border to visa-free travelers from Russia in a bid to improve tourism and relations.  Vladimir Ryzhkov wonders whether Russia deserves to be in the Council of Europe.  ‘Although [unpopular St. Petersburg Governor Valentina] Matviyenko’s ouster was likely prepared ahead of time, Medvedev staged the event to make it look like her appointment was an initiative of the governors.‘  
The Telegraph profiles Khimki Forest activist Evgenia Chirikova: ‘I was so naïve at first. I thought this highway must be some mistake‘.  Social networking site Vkontakte has revealed the IP addresses of users who posted pirated content as part of court proceedings.  Sergei Mironov suggests that the ruling tandem could propose a third candidate to run in next year’s presidential elections.  A deputy from A Just Russia has introduced a billing calling for the mandatory chemical castration of child molesters: ‘The [current] situation is just plain stupid.‘ 
PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, center right, and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, center left, stand with participants at a meeting of the Russia-NATO Council in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia, Monday, July 4, 2011. xx(AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)