RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 7, 2010

ivanov.jpgTODAY: Coverup regarding mine disaster? Protests in Samara against police; injured journalist to sue; Russia’s ecology record lambasted; trouble looming over Sochi Games; small parties given voice in Duma.   Ukraine will not recognize Georgian breakaway territories; Russia attacks NATO on Afghan drug laxity; Russia and Germany steady ties; OMON officers alleged to have raided Polish President crash site.  Psychic returns; Medvedev’s receives unwelcome visit; audacious play stages death of Sergei Magnitsky

The New York Times suggests that Raspadskaya mine management covered up a fire which was still burning the day of the explosions which killed 90 people.  Apparently managers did not order that work be stopped despite the danger a fire represented in a high-methane environment.  One man has died and another been injured in an accident at a gunpowder mill in the Russian city of Tambov.  Over 50 activists in Samara have taken to the streets against ‘illegal actions’ by the police.  The Russian journalist who was injured when law enforcement officers brutally dispersed a Strategy 31 rally plans on suing the police.  Greenpeace has blasted Russia’s environmental record suggesting that the country’s nine UNESCO-protected nature sites ‘are threatened with extinction’.   With an apparent terrorist threat lurking nearby and accusation of environmental despoilation, the Sochi Games are ‘some of the most divisive in history’, according to an article on RFE/RL.  The Other Russia reports that hunger strikers in the Olympic town protesting against what they view as inadequate compensation for eviction are now into their 16th day of protest.  Look here to see a video of Garry Kasparov at the 2010 Oslo Freedom Forum.  Small political parties outside the State Duma and regional legislatures will be accorded the right to speak at parliamentary sessions at least once a year, according to a new law signed by President Dmitry Medvedev.

After 100 days in office, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has defended his rapprochement with Russia, but has said he will not recognize breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent.  Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has urged NATO forces in Afghanistan to step up their efforts against the drug tradeand has affirmed Russian willingness to be involved in the creation ofsecurity rings.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Dmitry Medvedev have put forward the idea of a joint European Union-Russian security committee which would help solve regional crises.  Judy Dempsey examines new Russia-Germany ties in the New York Times: will it falter on differing interpretations of the notion of ‘modernization’?  Mikhael Gorbachev tells the Independent that he is disappointed Putin’s regime ‘started digging up the history of countries, ours above all… to prove that modernisation succeeds best under dictators, tsars, kings and the like’.

Russia has apparently denied reports that three OMON riot police officers have been held on suspicion of fraudulently using the credit card of a Polish official who died in the Smolensk air crash, having stolen it from the crash site.  A report in from the Guardian looks at the ‘modern Rasputin’, Anatoly Kashpirovsky, the psychic who held the gaze of the USSR.  Medvedev has an unexpected visitor.

A brave new documentary play, ‘One Hour and Eighteen Minutes’, tackles the death in pre-trial detention of Sergei Magnitsky.  The play’s director says: ‘This is the trial that hasn’t happened but should take place […] They put on their trials against people, so we put them on trial’.

PHOTO: Ivanov adjusting the microphones at a conference in Singapore on Sunday, June 6, 2010. Wong Maye-E / AP