TODAY: Prokhorov to head Right Cause Party; Medvedev backs Matviyenko as Federation Council speaker; Nagorno-Karabakh talks fail; Gay Pride, Khodorkovsky and Parnas protests; Karelia crash toll rises.
As the newly-elected head of the Right Cause Party, billionaire businessman Mikhail Prokhorov
wants to make the party powerful enough to contend with United Russia. ‘Let’s forget the word ‘opposition.’ This is a word linked to marginal parties that have lost their connection to reality long ago.
‘ Reuters suggests that Prokhorov’s appointment could be a boost for reformists
. President Dmitry Medvedev is backing St Petersburg governor Valentina Matviyenko
as the new speaker of the Federation Council, praising his own choice of a female for this powerful Kremlin post as making the state ‘more modern
‘. Medvedev’s Nagorno-Karabakh talks in Kazan failed to achieve and breakthroughs, with Armenia and Azerbaijan blaming each other
for the stalemate. Russia is blocking the publication
of a UN report detailing Iranian sanctions violations.
In solidarity with Gay Pride events held all over the world, 15-20 people managed to rally in St Petersburg
on Saturday for ‘a couple of minutes
‘, with some attacked by ‘thugs
‘, and over a dozen of them arrested. They have since been released, after being fined, and will have to attend court hearings next month
. Vladimir Ryzhkov writes
on the Justice Ministry’s refusal to register the Party of People’s Freedom (Parnas), describing many of its claims of the party’s illegality as ‘tricks
‘ and ‘total nonsense
‘. A 2,000-strong rally
was held in Moscow over the weekend to protest the party’s exclusion. Demonstrations were also held in Moscow yesterday to mark Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s birthday
– roughly 10 activists were detained. Lie detector tests will be voluntary, but police will have to comply with them if they want to safeguard their careers
, according to an Interior Ministry spokesperson.
PHOTO: A gay rights activist holds a poster reading ‘equality’ during a rally in St Petersburg
(Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images)