RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 4, 2009

r2587458650.jpgTODAY: NATO ministerial level meeting to take place in Corfu; deputies suggests nationalization of troubled Pikalyovo factory; gay rights activist to sue Moscow mayor; blacklisting practice; bribery affecting the poor

‘We have always had quite good relations with the Korean leadership but what has happened arouses very big concern: says President Medvedev on North Korea.  The Kremlin has stated that it may support economic sanctions against the rogue state to convince it to put a halt to its nuclear program.  US and Russian officials have concluded their talks on strategic arms reduction without comment from Russia, but the US negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, has called them ‘productive‘.  NATO and Russia Foreign Ministers are set to meet in Corfu on June 27 in the first of such high-level talks since the Russia-Georgia conflict of last year.  According to the Moscow Times, aid-hungry Belarus is on the verge of bankruptcy.

The Other Russia examines the practice of the police ‘black-listing’ opposition members through using computer surveillance technology.  The Moscow Times reports on a survey stating that the number of people paying bribes is on the up and that most people think that complaining serves little purpose.  RF/ERL adds that the poorest are those who are the most vulnerable to paying bribes.

A bill has been submitted to the State Duma to nationalize the factories in Pikalyovo, the town that has seen a road blockaded by workers incensed by wage arrears.  An ex-KGB agent has hit the headlines for seeking refuge in a Canadian church, in an attempt to avoid being deported to Russia after being declared a security threat.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that the ‘degree of tolerance to Israel and Jews‘ is much higher in Russia than elsewhere in Europe.  Gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev has filed a defamation suit against Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov for saying that ‘queers‘ are a threat to the moral health of society.

PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets Finnish President Tarja Halonen at the official residence, Mantyniemi, in Helsinki, June 3, 2009.  (REUTERS/Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva)