RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 17, 2009

front_2.jpgTODAY: SCO wraps up in blaze of activity; Medvedev calls BRIC ‘historic event’; no decision from US on defense system; German MPs agree Khodorkovsky trial is trial for Russian justice; Vaclev Havel speaks out against Russia

For detailed step-by-step coverage of the SCO summit, see Ria-Novosti.  The countries endorsed the re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov calling his visit to Russia ‘symbolic’.  Yulia Latynina comments on long-standing collusion between Russia and Iran:  ‘Iran spends so much money on Russia that supporters of the Islamic revolution work in the Russian Embassy in Tehran’.   The summit also saw: the signing of a declaration affirming a multipolar world, castigation of North Korea, promises to help Afghanistan and a pledge to allow more members into its circle.  Was the summit a little lacking in substance? wonders RFE/RL.

On BRIC: ‘the statements might have been mostly symbolic, but that doesn’t mean they will be by 2020’, says one analyst quoted in the Moscow Times.  The summit concluded with a call by President Medvedev to ‘create the conditions for a fairer world order’.  Despite some common views, will competition between Russia and China outweigh complicity?  Is Russia in the wrong club? asks the Telegraph.  The US has said that it has not concluded how it will execute its problematic missile defense system and that there may be attempts to incorporate Russian radar into it. 

Georgia has slammed Russia’s veto of the UN observer mission.  The Telegraph is suspicious about why Russia will not allow monitors into Georgia.  Apparently Russia will reduce the number of troops it has in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Poland’s Foreign Minister writes in the Moscow Times of the necessary involvement of Russia in the convergence of Europe.  Despite Putin’s warnings on tone, a consumer watchdog has voiced skepticism about the credibility ofthe Belarussian delegation visiting Russia to discuss dairy products.  According toITAR-TASS, the issue has been resolved on an ‘encouraging note’.

German MPs have agreed that the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a ‘test case of the Russian justice system’s credibility’Dissident Czech writer and ex-President Vaclav Havel has said that Europe should resist being ‘blackmailed’ by Russia over energy supplies.  Ex-Soviet President Gorbachev has also stepped up to the mike, but for a different reason.

PHOTO: From left, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Dmitry Medvedev, Hu Jintao of China and Manmohan Singh of India attending the first BRIC summit, June 16, 2009.  (Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters)