TODAY: EU critical of South Ossetia elections; Israeli foreign minister in Moscow; START talks underway in Geneva; court rules against Khodorkovsky appeal; journalist seeks asylum in Finland; order of parental glory ceremony
The EU has joined Georgia in claiming that the election in South Ossetia is illegal and ‘represents a setback in the search for a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in Georgia’. The Telegraph analyzes the victory of the pro-Kremlin Unity party: ‘South Ossetia has gone on the United Russia path. A decisive role (in Unity’s victory) was played by their active use of the methods of United Russia’. Russia will stick to its pledge to offer a $500 million loan to Belarus, but has warned that the Belarusian government should reduce its dependence upon loans.
Arms reduction talks between the US and Russia are accelerating asnegotiators meet in Geneva. Russia’s links to Iranand Syria may be a source of contention in discussions with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has suggested thatRussia and Israel work on a ‘single approach on arms supplies’ to theCaucasus and the Middle East. The pressure on beleaguered Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov from the military elite is the subject of an op-ed piece in the Moscow Times. Egypt will deport 13 Russian students from a group of 34 it has been detaining for breaking laws, including visa violations.
More on the bombing of opposition leader Eduard Limonov’s car – the Other Russia explains that Limonov also received a threatening phone call after the explosion. An opposition journalist for Free Word has requested political asylum in Finland as she faces harassment from the Russian authorities for reporting on the torture of a Chechen detainee. The Moscow City Court has ruled against the appeals of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and business partner Platon Lebedev in the second case against them.
Medvedev has welcomed large families to the Kremlin to celebrate the ‘Order of Parental Glory’, a financial reward offered to parents with many children as part of the drive to counter population decline. The campaign will be pleased to know that infant mortality rates are decreasing in Russia.
PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev hands over a medal of Parental Glory Order to Orthodox Church priest Andrei Reshitov during an award ceremony for people having many children, in the Moscow Kremlin, June 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)