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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 6, 2011

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TODAY: All-Russia People’s Front hindering its own objective; Prokhorov wins the praise of his preferred presidential candidate; Matviyenko – no revolutionary plans; President’s rights council presents Magnitsky report; Russia wants U.S. to address its alleged rights violations abroad; NATO won’t assure Russia on missile defense; Moscow smog expected, ‘laser hooliganism’. 
Negative publicity generated by the All-Russia People’s Front (apparently now even Muammar Gaddafi is a member, thanks to the rule that ‘anyone can register under any name and any number of times‘) could hinder its original objective of helping United Russia win extra votes this year, says the Moscow Times.  President Dmitry Medvedev is praising Mikhail Prokhorov’s Right Cause party (which happens to support his re-election) for Russia’s model of government in which ‘everything is determined by the center; it’s impossible for the country to progress that way.‘  Prokhorov also called Vladimir Putin’s front ‘laughable‘, and hinted that he would like to step into Putin’s Prime Ministerial role.  St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko says she is ‘not of a revolutionary nature‘ and is not planning to rock any boats in the Federation Council.

Further information has emerged regarding claims that Sergei Magnitsky died after being beaten by security guards: a 40-page report was handed to President Dmitry Medvedev by his own rights council yesterday.  ‘The case is now taking a whole new direction, which is that Sergei Magnitsky was murdered,‘ says Hermitage Capital head William Browder.  Medvedev’s response was that Magnitsky’s ‘very sad‘ case was due to ‘criminal actions‘, but referenced his medical care, not the conduct of prison guards.  Russia wants the U.S. to pay ‘adequate attention‘ to human rights violations alleged against U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina met with Dmitry Medvedev this week, speaking out against brutal tactics used in fighting North Caucasus militants. 
NATO is refusing to budge on giving Russia explicit assurance about missile defense: ‘I don’t think we need new treaties. The very best reassurance that Russia could get would be to engage in practical co-operation, that is, to be part of the process.‘ Moscow is anticipating a repeat of last year’s smog from peat bog fires filling the city, but rain is expected to hold off the inevitable until the end of the week.  Russia’s ‘laser hooliganism‘, in which a laser beam is shone into the eyes of a pilot landing a plane, is on the rise. 
PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, visits the Nuclear Research Center in Dubna, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, Pool)