RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 16, 2010

med.jpgTODAY: Russian reluctance on troops to Krygyzstan; UN urges a hold on violence; Medvedev launches submarine, plans major military spending; US says no clandestine deals over START.  Nemtsov report condemns Putin in scathing report; anti-draft rally; ruling cracks down on web sites; Amnesty France’s criticism of Russia; Greenpeace makes official complaints about Baikal; age limit of 60 for civil servants; drugs; security guards

The UN has urged Kyrgyzstan to take immediate action to put an end to the storm of violence that has raged across the south of the country.   Kyrgyz leader Roza Otunbayeva has told journalists that the Russia-led CSTO bloc does not plan to send any peacekeeping forces.  President Medvedev has ordered that humanitarian aid be delivered to the restive region.  If Russia claims to have a zone of privileged interest in the area, then it also has to accept a ‘zone of responsibility’ in its former Soviet states, argues Fyodor Lukyanov in the Moscow Times.  An analyst quoted by the New York Times agrees that Russia needs to step up its response to its neighbor’s pleas.  RFE/RL argues that the Kyrgyz conflict ‘appears to be demonstrating the limits of Moscow’s power’.  Another interesting article in the WSJ emphasizes the importance of the Manas air base as a bargaining chip.  According to Reuters, the outbreak of violence may be waning; meanwhile a report from Bloomberg suggests the contrary.  An article in the New York Times suggests that the crisis is an opportunity for the CSTO, NATO and OSCE to join forces for the benefit of the struggling state.

President Medvedev has launched a 17-years-in-the making nuclear submarine and vowed to devote more funds to weapon systems.  The Telegraph reports on the allegedly lavish spending plans.  The US has apparently claimed that no ‘secret deals’ were made with Russia in relation to missile defense during START negotiations.  Russia will not be allowing the Dalai Lama to visit, in, this article suggests, a show of deference to mighty China.  Could a new title for the President of Kazakhstan also signify his imminent demotion? 

Boris Nemtsov has followed his scathing report on Mayor Luzhkov’s period in power with a new report entitled ‘Putin. Results’, in which he excoriates the Prime Minister’s rule.  A powerful video here from Amnesty International reminds viewers of rights abuses in Russia, which members of the organization tried to screen publicly in Paris during Putin’s visit.  Ten opposition activists have staged a public protest against obligatory military service in front of Moscow’s defense ministry.  Rights activists are reportedly planning their ‘Day of Wrath’ rally for later this month at which they will militate for the resignation of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov.  The Supreme Court has ruled that if websites refuse to remove comments of an extremist nature placed on their forums, they can be shut down.  Ria-Novosti reports that Greenpeace has stated its complaints about the re-opening of the Baikal Paper Mill at the Supreme Court.  Gay activists are planning to stage St Petersburg’s first gay pride parade on June 26.

Apparently 80 people die from drug abuse every day in Russia, according to Interior Ministry figures.  As part of his modernization program, President Medvedev wants to create an upper age limit for civil servants of 60.  The Moscow Times reports on the murky world of the private security firm; new legislation plans to bring it closer to the arguably no less mukry world of the police force. 
PHOTO: Medvedev speaking at the launch of the Severodvinsk submarine in the northern port of Severodvinsk on Tuesdau, June 15, 2010. (Vladimir Rodionov / RIA-Novosti / Reuters)