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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 3, 2011

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TODAY: Suspect charged with Politkovskaya murder; Medvedev meets Berlusconi and Biden in Rome; Russia as Libya mediator; Putin pledges support for Abkhazia; ongoing blasts at arms depot, 12,000 evacuated; drugs and H.I.V.; European red tape; veteran in YouTube scandal.
Chechen Rustam Makhmudov has been charged with the 2006 murder of Anna Politkovskaya.  His lawyer says that Makhmudov had nothing to do with the crime.  Dmitry Medvedev, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden have been discussing Middle East issues in Rome, with the Russian President pushing for negotiations with Libya and Sergei Lavrov calling for a solution that is ‘acceptable to all Libyans‘.  Russia wants to act as a mediator in the conflict, and is planning to send an envoy to meet with rebels ‘in nearest time‘.  Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says that Russia is ready to consider supporting new projects in Abkhazia.

A blast at an arms depot in the Volga region has killed three people and caused the evacuation of more than 12,000 people as further shells continue to explode.  Mikhail Khodorkovsky gave evidence at the trial of former Yukos executive Antonio Valdes-Garcia yesterday, saying that the charges against his former colleague were baseless
A ‘majority‘ of the 1 million H.I.V. positive Russians contracted the virus through drug use, and it is anticipated that numbers will grow, as the government does not fund outreach programmes.  Red tape for travel between Russia and the E.U. will be eased – but not for tourists.  YouTube strikes again!  A veteran submarine commander is in trouble over a verbal outburst caught on camera, but as ‘verbal abuse is the standard form of informal communication in the military,‘ it is likely he will escape dismissal.  
PHOTO: Teenagers jump into a fountain outside the Kremlin wall, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, June 2, 2011. Hot weather has set in with temperatures rising up to 29 Celsius (84 Fahrenheit) in Moscow. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)