RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 30, 2011


TODAY: Foreign Ministry proposes tit-for-tat; rights violations at Matrosskaya Tishina; Russia’s role in Belarus’ meltdown; Kaczynski report blames Russia for Smolensk; Petrozavodsk transcripts completed; Medvedev’s driving gaffe; pre-election speculation.
The Foreign Ministry is proposing that foreigners who have violated the rights of Russian citizens be blacklisted and barred from entering the country – the Ministry calls this ‘our acceptable answer to the actions of the West, including the U.S. State Department, which drafts certain blacklists of Russia citizens.‘  11 prison officials have been ‘disciplined‘ for violating inmates rights at the Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial detention center where Sergei Magnitsky and Vera Trifonova died.  ‘The swiftness of Belarus’ economic meltdown reflects the directness of its cause. Russia had been financing Lukashenko’s shabby paradise, and then it decided to stop paying.‘  An anti-Lukashenko documentary which ‘seemed to encourage [anti-government] protests‘ was apparently just aired on Belarusian airwaves with the help of Gazprom-owned NTV.

Polish opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski has reiterated that Russia is to blame for the April 2010 Smolensk plane crash in a new report, written independently of the two previous state probes into the crash.  Transcripts from the Tu-134 plane that crashed in Petrozavodsk have been completed.  
Oops.  Dmitry Medvedev stepped out of his Mercedes to meet villagers in Mirny, but failed to park it beforehand, causing a scrum of bodyguards who tried to prevent the car from rolling into the crowds and general mass public embarrassment.  A nice counter to Vladimir Putin’s failure last month to get his Lada to start, notes RFE/RL, duly noting that ‘[t]he tandem can’t drive!‘  The IHT has an extensive round-up of pre-2012 election running tandem jitters. 
PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gestures during a meeting about preparations for the Asian Pacific Economic Conference in Vladivostok June 30, 2011. REUTERS/Dmitry Astakhov/RIA Novosti/Kremlin