RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – June 9, 2010

FRONT-1-medvedev.jpgTODAY: Russia falls in GPI index; Georgia talks held; Saakashvili fears over Mistral; France asserts commitment on sale to Russia.  Medvedev orders civil service cuts; outrage over Ekho Moskvy radio chief’s suggestions for rallies; victory for conservationists in St Petersburg; Medvedev establishes housing project.  Officers charged with plane crash credit card theft; Arkady Dvorkovich plays chess with robot

The Global Peace Index has just released its findings on 2009, which saw Russia drop to 143rd place in the rankings, due in part to the remaining effects of the 2008 Georgian war.  Georgia also fell a considerable amount due to ‘an increase in violent demonstrations, a big decrease in political stability in the year of measurement’, amongst other factors.  The two countries have held ‘tense’ talks regarding security and humanitarian issues which have lingered since the 5-day war.  Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has voiced concern about France’s plans to sell at least one Mistral warship to Russia: a commitment which France has apparently pledged to honor.   According to Russia’s top military commander, Russia needs the Mistral in order to ensure protection of the disputed Kiril Islands.  Read here about Russia’s General Staff’s plans for military districts.  Is the detente between Russia and the EU built to last?  President Medvedev has reportedly ordered a 20% reduction in the number of state officials in an apparent attempt to curb corruption.  It has been acknowledged that a car owned by Deputy Interior Minister Mikhail Sukhodolsky was in the vicinity of a crash which saw a woman injured, but the Interior Ministry denies that it was the migalki-sporting car responsible.  

If the United States and leading European governments would make clear that improvements in human rights are necessary for Moscow to win trade and other economic concessions, there is a chance Mr. Putin would respond’.  Opposition activists are up in arms over comments made by the editor-in-chief of Ekho Moskvy radio, who suggested a one-year moratorium on political events in Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square.  Activists in St Petersburg who staged a 24-hour a day protest to save the historic Rogov House are celebrating a decision not to demolish the building.  ‘Call it the Russian dream’, says the President: the government has acquired almost 2.5 million acres of land to promote construction of single-family homes

The four Russian conscripts accused of stealing a credit card from among the wreckage of the Polish airliner crash have apparently admitted their guilt and are being charged.  The Polish government’s press secretary has offered his apologies to Russian OMON officers for accusing them of the theft.  Reclusive math genius Grigory Perelman has not collected his $1 million prize in Paris for proving the Poincare conjecture.  Presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich will battle it out with the robot that will represent Russia at the first ever international robot chess championships next year.   Stanislav Belkovsky on the Other Russia examines the civil servant’s motives for such an interest in the world of chess.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev speaking with children during a visit to the Levkovo summer camp in the Pushkinsky district of the Moscow region on Tuesday, June 8, 2010.  (Sergei Chirikov/AP)