RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 6, 2010

customs-1-storypicSUB.jpgTODAY: Hillary Clinton voices US disappointment on Russia’s ‘occupation’ of breakaway regions; reassures Saakashvili; Putin’s riposte; Kyrgyzstan president fears further unrest; Russia-Kazakhstan relations flourishing. Medvedev’s twitter imposter; foreigners’ irritation at red tape hurdles for Seliger; sports minister under pressure to resign after lavish expenses; Lake Baikal; banyas

Hillary Clinton has underlined Washington’s disapproval of Russia’s ‘invasion and occupation‘ of Georgian territory on her trip to Tbilisi and offered ample reassurances: ‘The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity’.  President Saakashvili is apparently now persuaded that the reset is not ‘at the expense of others’The Secretary of State suggested that Georgia’s deferring from provoking Russia and strengthening its own statehood would be ‘the greatest answer’ to any aggression from Russia.  Andrew Osborn in the Telegraph says it’s ‘sound advice’ but ‘it was also a tacit admission that Russia had won the geopolitical as well as the hot war, that the territory is perhaps irreparably lost’.  Despite managing to tread carefully, ‘keeping everyone happy is going to be hard’, this article on the BBC suggests.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has criticized Georgia for seeking out US backing in its quarrels with the two breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The Washington Post goes through START ratification issue with a fine tooth comb.

Russia has pledged its support for the new president of Kyrgyzstan, Rosa Otunbayeva, who has apparently expressed concerns about the possibility of further unrest in the Central Asian country.  Relations between Russia and Kazakhstan are reportedly at their ‘apogee’ at the moment: Reuters reports on the country’s President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, after two decades in power.   Look here for an analysis of the Vostok-2010 military exercises.

A fake Twitter accountclaimed to be that of President Medvedev, offering tweets satirizingthe President’s modernization efforts, has gained 1,500 followers. Russia may be clamoring to attract foreign talent, but reports from theSeliger Youth Camp suggests its foreign invitees have had some difficulties accessing its hospitality.  Vladimir Voinovich explores the caveat factor inPutin’s interpretations of democracy and human rights, also unlikely toentice foreign investors.  Following allegations of massive misspending offunds during his trip to Vancouver, a new survey has ranked Sports Minister VitalyMutko as the country’s second most disliked minister, and calls for him to resign have redoubled.  The Moscow Times reportson the conundrum of the Lake Baikal paper mill which offers considerable employment, butinhibits tourism as it ejects putrid water intothe world’s deepest lake.

Banya season is upon us: RFE/RL reports on the expat phenomenon in New York City.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev, right, thumbing toward Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, center, during a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Community in Astana on Monday, July 5, 2010.  (Dmitry Astakhov / AP/RIA-Novosti)