RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – March 22, 2011


TODAY: Putin and Medvedev row over Libya; Putin talks about childhood, plays with leopards; problem with Pirate Party registration; Gates pushes on missile defense; police generals dismissed after lie-detector tests? Population set to shrink, suggests survey; Yakov Kreizberg obituary.
Speaking from a ballistic missile factory last night, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin compared the U.N. Security Council’s resolution to support military action in Libya to a medieval crusade, calling it ‘defective and flawed‘.  President Dmitry Medvedev promptly criticized Putin’s comments: ‘In no way is it acceptable to use expressions that in essence lead to a clash of civilizations, such as crusades and so forth,‘ he said.  Both leaders’ remarks were ‘aired widely on state television‘.  Putin meanwhile says that his childhood was ‘the real life of an ordinary family, and we must never forget about that‘, and has been ‘frolick[ing]‘ with a real-life snow leopard called Mongol.  According to the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev’s dismissal of six police generals was carried out following a series of lie-detector tests, but the direct cause of the dismissals has not been disclosed.

The Justice Ministry is refusing to register the Russian branch of global copyright legislation advocates the Pirate Party because ‘current legislation defines piracy as an attack on a sea or river craft, which is a criminal offense‘.  U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has spent what many assume will be his last visit to Moscow striving to reassure Russia on missile defense in Europe, and to take a ‘personal try‘ at improving military relations.  The Under Secretary of State says the U.S. ‘want[s] Russia in the missile defense tent rather than outside that tent.‘ 
Alexei Pankin writes on the ‘Faustian bargain‘ of Putin and Khodorkovsky.  A Standard & Poor’s report suggests that Russia’s population could shrink by 25 million over the next four decades, which would play havoc with government expenditures, says VOA.  A new anti-corruption bill composed by the Duma has been delayed for a month, apparently because the Justice Ministry wants to write its own version. 
The Guardian has an obituary for conductor Yakov Kreizberg, who has died aged 51.  
PHOTO: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (C) looks on as Germany’s chemical giant BASF CEO Juergen Hambrecht (L) and Russia’s Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller (R) sign an agreement in Putin’s Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow. (AFP/RIA NOVOSTI/Alexey Nikolsky)