RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – July 8, 2011


TODAY: Russia slams EU Parliament ‘interference’ over elections; Nemtsov travel ban confirmed/lifted; Strasbourg concert for Khodorkovsky; FSB could be implicated in Magnitsky case; rights council wants economic crimes amnesty; new company to weed out Moscow extremist media; Lugovoi and UK visas are not connected, says Lavrov; progress on U.S. adoptions; Olympic torch in space; Happy Married Love Day.
Russia has slammed the European Parliament resolution calling on it to guarantee free elections as a ‘crude‘ move that ‘interfere[s] in internal legislation‘.  A travel ban on Boris Nemtsov, apparently put in place over the 2010 pamphlet ‘Putin. Results. 10 Yearshas been lifted by the authorities, almost in the same breath in which it was confirmed.  The move may have been inspired by criticism from the E.U. Parliament.  Nemtsov learned about the ban whilst attending a classical concert in Strasbourg this week, held to draw attention to the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his former associate, Platon Lebedev.  The New York Times described the audience as ‘a who’s who of the opposition to the Russian regime‘.  The Kremlin’s human rights council says that FSB and Interior Ministry officials could end up being implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky; it is also calling for an amnesty for economic crimes that would apply to Khodorkovsky; it’s unlikely to be granted, says United Russia member Olga Kryshtanovskaya, as it would ‘bolster Medvedev at Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s expense‘.

A new state-owned company, created on the order of Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, will search out and delete print, audio and video materials that exhibit signs of extremism.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insists that the British-Russia visa situation has nothing to do with the extradition call for Andrei Lugovoi, contrary to a British minister’s statements earlier this week.  Mandatory background checks will be imposed on potential adoptive U.S. parents of Russian children, with U.S. authorities to be made responsible, Lavrov says, although the agreement has not yet been signed.
Model Natalia Vodianova raised $3.3 million at a charity event for her Russia-focused childrens’ charity, the Naked Heart Foundation.  Russia today celebrates its Day of Married Love and Family Happinessamid a deepening demographic crisis and a record divorce rate‘.  Russia is planning to send the Olympic torch into space.
The Independent reviews a film documenting Time of Action, a 1978 artwork by the Moscow Conceptual School.
PHOTO: Head of the presidential human rights council Mikhail Fedotov (L) speaks with head of National Anticorruption committee Kirill Kabanov during a news conference, dedicated to the case of lawyer for the equity fund Hermitage Capital Sergei Magnitsky, in Moscow July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov