RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – March 29, 2010


TODAY: At least 37 people killed in double suicide Moscow metro bombing; weekend of protests all over Russia; arms treaty with US sealed by a phone call; Kremlin smear campaign to discredit opposition? Yulia Latynina; Communist mayor beaten.
Dozens of people – the count had reached 37 by the time of reporting – were killed in a suicide double bomb attack on Moscow’s metro station earlier this morning.  The first blast happened at Lubyanka station, the second at Park Kultury.  North Caucasus terrorist groups are thought to be responsible, but no one has claimed the blast as yet.  Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, conveying information apparently received from the FSB, said that the attack was carried out by ‘two female terrorist suicide bombers‘.  The Guardian and the BBC are liveblogging new developments and information, and Reuters has a timeline of similar attacks over the last 15 years.  The BBC looks at the history of Moscow’s metro system.  There were a number of protests all over the country this weekend: Sunday saw a 1,5004,000-strong (depending on your source), anti-government and uniformly anti-United Russia protest in Arkhangelsk. ‘I do not believe United Russia because they have plundered us and gave all we had to corrupt bureaucrats,‘ said one protester.  Smaller protests took place on Saturday in various locations to protest the reopening of the Lake Baikal paper mill, and the rise in utility prices.

The Other Russia is running coverage of a recent public appearance by Yulia Latynina, where she spoke about about the power of raw materials, the lack of a chemical industry, the squandering of Russian funds and her choice for president: ‘Khodorkovsky‘.  Ilya Yashin, an anti-Kremlin opposition politician, is alleging that the Kremlin is running a smear campaign to discredit its opponents, after the editor of Russia’s Newsweek was photographed in a compromising situation.  Valery Larionov, the newly-elected, 62-year old Communist mayor of Shatura, has been attacked outside his home.  
The press is hailing the completion of the Russia-US arms-control treaty, following a breakthrough phone call between President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev.  The treaty is due to be signed on April 8 in Prague, although Reuters does not discount the possibility that Republican opponents may prevent the treaty from being ratified in the US Senate.  Nato’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, wants Russia to be included under the ‘security roof‘ of US plans for a missile defense shield in Europe.  
Vasily Smyslov, former world chess champion, has died, aged 89.  
PHOTO: A woman cries as officers from Russia’s interior ministry block her entry into the Lubyanka metro station (Alexander Natruskin/Reuters)