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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 1, 2011

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TODAY: Strategy 31 protesters detained; Politkovskaya suspect arrested; United Russia wants its candidates to head company boards; Khodorkovsky lawyer welcomes EU ruling; Prosecutor General criticizes Magnitsky official sanctions; artist behind tennis outfit ads; Georgia to phase out Soviet history.
Several dozen‘ protesters were arrested at yesterday’s Strategy 31 rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg, and the latter rally was apparently picketed by anti-opposition activists.  The Other Russia says the Moscow protest saw 26 arrests, (‘including, as has become customary, Other Russia party leader Eduard Limonov‘).  Rustam Makhmudov, the Chechen man accused of killing Anna Politkovskaya, has been arrested by F.S.B. and military forces.  Russia’s placing on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ ‘impunity index‘ has improved, as no journalists were murdered there in 2010.  United Russia is proposing that its own candidates chair the boards of state-controlled companies, and Vladimir Putin has apparently already given his preliminary approval to the plan.

Karinna Moskalenko, Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, says that she is celebrating this week’s ruling of the European Court of Human Rights: ‘This case is about the violations of fundamental rights of the detainee‘. She says that the ECHR ‘is not the place for the political debate.‘  The judge’s verdict at the recent Khodorkovsky appeal apparently blamed the former Yukos head for attempting to increase company profits ‘through increased production‘: not a crime, says Yulia Latynina.  Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has criticized the U.S. decision to block officials implicated in the Sergei Magnitsky case from entering the country, saying that it puts unacceptable‘ pressure on the investigation.  President Dmitry Medvedev says that he is willing to take part in dialogue with all Libyan forces – provided they have a ‘political future‘. 
Posters depicting the President and Prime Minister in tennis gear were part of an anonymous artist’s mock advertising campaign (a Russian-language interview with the artist can be found here).  In a bid to distance itself from its former Russia ties, Georgian lawmakers have passed the ‘Freedom Charter‘, which will identify and remove public names and monuments that contain Soviet elements.  Police officers gave out lollipops in exchange for cigarettes in Moscow to mark World No Tobacco Day yesterday – Russia has a high smoking rate for a developed nation. 
PHOTO: Opposition activists shout slogans during a banned anti-Kremlin Strategy 31 protest in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)