TODAY: Kyrgyzstan violence continues, CSTO to send in helicopters; US human trafficking report published; Medvedev unexpected trip to Chechnya; Iran demands missiles; Latvian arrested over Arctic Sea; Baluva test; rally against police lawlessness; repercussions of vigilantism; Sochi
The Economist explains how national boundaries drawn up during the Soviet era have contributed to the current ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan, in which up to 700 people are believed to have been killed. Uzbekistan has, according to Bloomberg, closed its border to more than 75,000 refugees fleeing the upheaval in the country, due to too great an influx. The Moscow Times puts the number of refugees at 100,000. The Guardian considers why the situation has exploded and suggests, ‘Russia is widely believed to have triggered the latest upheavals by undermining the now deposed president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev’. The CSTO has apparently proposed sending helicopters and trucks to provide assistance. ‘The violence could prove a key test for the military alliance, which has been described as Moscow’s answer to NATO’s eastern expansion’. Former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has suggested that a regional security organization dispatch peacekeeping troops to the country. A senior Obama administration official has told the Washington Post that the White House is in ‘extremely close communication with the Russians’ on an international response. CNN reports that the ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has no intention of returning to power and hopes to remain in Belarus.
The United States has released its 2010 report on human trafficking across the globe,in which it acknowledges Russia’s progress in combating child sextourism, but argues the Kremlin as not formulated a comprehensivestrategy for dealing with trafficking as a whole. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has made a surprise visit to Chechnya where he congratulated Ramzan Kadyrov on his fight against banditry. Iran has demanded that Russia fulfill its agreement to supply S-300 air-defense systems, to make it ‘invincible’ against any attack from Israel. A Latvian has been sentenced to seven years in prison for hijacking the Arctic Sea ship last year; he has in turn accused the former head of Estonia’s intelligence service of masterminding the incident.
President Medvedev has dismissed the head of the Federal Arms Procurement Agency, Viktor Cherkesov, apparently without explanation. Russia will reportedly carry out another test launch of the often-malfuctioning Bulava ballistic missile in the third quarter of the year. Nikolai Petrov ponders the future of Russia governors in an op-ed in the Moscow Times. Putin may face a challenge on his hands in 2012, says Vladimir Frolov, ‘Opinion polls show that President Dmitry Medvedev is rapidly catching up with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in popularity’. Could the government use the exploits of the Russian Rambo gang to introduce more repressive police measures? This article in the Moscow Times discusses the outcome of the weekend’s siege. More than 200 citizens have rallied against what they call police ‘lawlessness’ in Russia’s Far East. Sochi: an Olympic dream haunted by genocide?
PHOTO: Primorye police declared victory in their search for a gang of “Russian Rambos,” but copycats may be appearing. Police officers in other regions were injured and one was killed over the weekend. (S. Nikolayev/Vedomosti)