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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – March 24, 2010

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TODAY: Human rights activists call for European protection, blame corruption as a setback to Russia’s development; death penalty to stay; Putin meets Chinese premier; Luzhkov’s deputy investigated for corruption; police officers disappear after being publicly named in wrongful arrests case.  Alcohol lowering life expectancy. 
Veteran human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva is calling for European help in gaining visas and political asylum for Russia’s human rights workers whose lives, she says, are at risk.  ‘Our people are being killed and injured and none of us knows who will be next.‘  What will Russia’s recent ratification of Protocol 14 do for the European Court of Human Rights?  Dmitry Medvedev’s presidential human rights council count corruption as one of the major setbacks to the development of Russian civil society.  Victory Day will not be accompanied by posters of Stalin, according to a presidential committee.  ‘Such things weren’t even made in Soviet times.‘  Meanwhile, the death penalty isn’t going anywhere as long as Russia is threatened by terrorism, according to Boris Gryzlov.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met in Moscow this week and pledged to enhance their countries’ ties.  Mayor Yury Luzhkov’s deputy, Alexander Ryabinin, is the latest and most powerful Moscow official to be investigated for corruption, over a property deal involving his daughter.  Six police officers have disappeared after being publicly named as being suspected of wrongfully arresting homeless people to bulk up their case-solving numbers.  
According to a new report, heavy consumption of strong alcohol is to blame for low life expectancy levels.  
PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at an annual innovative technology conference in Moscow March 23, 2010. REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Pool/Alexei Druzhinin