RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – March 26, 2010


TODAY: Russia dropping two time zones; express train infuriates locals, royalties debate infuriates veterans; US-Russia treaty still on shaky ground; China to invest in Belarus; Kremlin bans ‘Mein Kampf’, Yury Luzhkov hasn’t given up on Victory Day Stalin posters. 
Russia is to lose two time zones this weekend with the shift to daylight saving time – five regions will not move their clocks, thereby moving closer to Moscow time.  The move is a bid to ‘revive commerce‘ and could eventually lead to the complete elimination of daylight saving time.  Furious locals have been pelting the 250km per hour Moscow-St Petersburg Sapsan express train with rocks and ice, over complaints about fatal accidents, pedestrians being knocked over by blasts of air from the passing train, and the cancellation of commuter trains.  Members of local veterans organizations are fuming over a debate about whether or not they should pay royalties when they want to sing war songs in public.

All 41 US Republican senators are planning to block ratification of a new arms treaty with Russia over specific disagreements.  Meanwhile a White House spokesman says that the treaty will be ‘wrapped up‘ after a phone call between Presidents Obama and Medvedev.  Although, this doesn’t look likely to happen any time soon.  News that China will invest $10 billion in the Belarusian economy could further complicate the latter’s relations with Russia, says RIA Novosti.  
The Kremlin is banning the sale of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf‘ on grounds that it violates a federal law against extremism.  Despite recent news that a presidential committee had announced that Stalin posters would not be part of Victory Day celebrations,  Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov apparently still believes that Stalin should get his due as the Soviet commander in chief, and accordingly there will be ‘a few posters of Stalin at information booths where veterans gather‘.  
The ins and outs of Russian weather control.
PHOTO: Gazprom’s Chief Executive Alexei Miller (2nd L), Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin (L) and Economic Development and Trade Minister Elvira Nabiulina (2nd R) attend a meeting with Ukrainian delegation, led by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Ria Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin/Pool