TODAY: Military spending increased; Central Asia open to US influence?; Oleg Deripaska to pay out more for wage arrears; Ukraine denies entry to Russian lawmaker; rehabilitation of Romanovs
A report on global military spending has shown that Russia ‘continues to increase spending’ and whilst it announces a defense budget of $43 billion, it is actually around $58 billion. The Washington Post features a comment piece by four Russian thinkers on US-Russian relations: ‘We believe Russia dearly needs to expand all sorts of ties with the United States and the West, but such cooperation must not come at the price of U.S. refusal to understand what is happening in Russia’. The President of Kyrgyzstan may meet with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai as the latter wishes to negotiate the continued use of a Moscow-opposed US airbase. Should Russia be worried about Uzbekistan praising Obama’s promise of a ‘new beginning’ between Washington and the Muslim world? Russia has welcomed the results of Lebanon’s elections which were won by the West-supported ‘March 14′ coalition.
Oleg Deripaska will be paying out $2.8 million in wage arrears to workers at his Siberian pulp plant, where 63 workers have been on hunger strike. A Moscow Times contributor praises the people of Pikalyovo for ushering in a possible era of ‘grass-roots initiative’, which ‘could take the place of Duma commissions and federal ministries’. RF/ERL looks at the recent kidnapping of the son of Rosneft Vice-President Mikhail Stavsky, as an indictment of Putin’s inability to bring order to Russia. Yevgeny Chichvarkin, the exiled founder of Yevroset, who is wanted by Interpol, has been spotted in London.
Russia has banned another 800 dairy products from Belarus, due to apparent violations of legislation. The Foreign Ministry has called the refusal by Ukrainian authorities to allow entry of a Russian lawmaker into the country ‘unfriendly’.
The General Prosecutor’s Office has accepted that six members of the Romanov dynasty were victims of ‘repression on class and social grounds’, and has exonerated them. A Moscow Times contributor is worried by the lack of access to state archives. RF/ERL sees the (somewhat) bright side: ‘But the archives of the Internet, unlike state archives, are open to all. And future historians will read with interest about how scholarship was reduced to empty nothingness‘.
PHOTO: Workers install a stage in preparation of Russia Day, in Red Square, with a Kremlin tower in the background, in Moscow, June 5, 2009. Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, established the June 12 holiday after the Soviet breakup to mark the 1990 declaration of sovereignty by Russia’s Soviet-era parliament. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)