RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 25, 2010

usa.jpgTODAY: Fast food backdrop sets relaxed tone for friendly Obama-Medvedev meeting; ex-Prime Minister urges US to see through Medvedev’s modernization drive; hopes for cooperation on missile defense; has Russia resurrected idea of second military base in Kyrgyzstan?  Charges against terminally ill Yukos lawyer dropped; Nobel Prize winner sets about campaigning for Khodorkovsky; rights ombudsman attracts United Russia criticism; police chief dismissed over Robin Hood gang; land art

Burgers were on the menu and comfortably-reset relations on the agenda at the Obama-Medvedev meeting.  ‘More than anything, the events surrounding Mr. Medvedev’s visit served to underscore both the personal rapport the two men have developed’ says the New York Times.   For a video of the press conference, see Bloomberg‘The lack of major news from the meeting […] was news itself, suggesting as it did a businesslike relationship increasingly devoid of high drama’: the Washington Post suggests the knowingly casual tone to the two presidents’ meeting emphasized the detente.  Mikhail Kasyanov, former Prime Minister during Vladimir Putin’s presidency, has apparently warned the US not to fall for Dmitry Medvedev’s modernization rhetoric.  The Guardian’s Simon Tisdall explains why the gas war with Belarus bodes ill for Medvedev’s promises of reform.  ‘Cosmetic modernization‘ is what Medvedev’s projects amount to, suggests Brian Whitmore in a detailed analysis from the Power Vertical

According to ITAR-TASS, Russia and US are considering further advances in nuclear disarmament after the ratification of the START treaty.  President Obama has apparently expressed hope that cooperation on missile defense will take place.  Russia and the US have pledged to back the economic development of Kyrgyzstan; Russia is still sending humanitarian aid but maintains that peacekeeping forces will not be deployed.  Recent events have shown ‘the hollowness of Russia’s neo-imperialist ambitions among the states that once made up the Soviet Union’, says the Economist.  According to the Telegraph, the Kremlin has resuscitated a controversial project to create a second military base in Kyrgyzstan to extend influence in the south of the country.  This is apparently news to the Kyrgyz interim government.  And what about Georgia’s place in the reset?  According to RFE/RL, a difference in opinion on the issue was noted ‘candidly’ by the US and Russian leaders.  Moldova’s acting President Mihai Ghimpu has reportedly asked Russia to remove its troops from Moldova’s territory.

A Moscow Court has droppedthe fraud charges against gravely ill ex-Yukos Vice President, VasilyAleksanyan.   Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel hasinitiated his own campaign to free Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  Time magazine has a thorough report on the recent testimonies in the case.  United Russia has reportedly blasted human rights ombudsman VladimirLukin for his criticism of the violent way in which the May 31stopposition rally was dispersed.   A police chief in Russia’s Far East has been dismissed over accusations that he abused three members of the vigilante ‘Russian Rambo‘ gang.

In the light of Medvedev’s focus on innovation, the Moscow Times reports on the dawn of the Internet in Russia.  The New York Times examines the renaissance of a village community through the remarkable work of land artist Nikolai Polissky.

PHOTO: Medvedev and Obama ordering at Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia.  (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)