RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 10, 2010

coalmine385_715529a.jpgTODAY: Deadly mine explosion kills 30, 60 remain trapped; metro attack remembered; Medvedev highlights unity and conciliation at Victory Day celebrations; NATO soldiers present, but did the US and GB face a snub?  Katyn documents handed over; adoptions to US to continue; Magnitsky hearing in US; Alexeyeva and Kasparov named top dissidents.

Two explosions at Russia’s largest coal mine, the Raspadskaya mine in Siberia, part-owned by Roman Abramovich, have reportedly killed 30 people.  Apparently 60 people remain trapped after the blasts, which were presumed to be caused by methane.  Reuters suggests that Russia’s industrial accidents betray a ‘creaking infrastructure’.  Commemorations have taken place for the 40 victims of the Moscow metro attack, 40 days on.  ‘In recent years, Victory Day has been something of a barometer of Russia’s attitudes toward the West’ so would the invitation of allied soldiers at the parade imply that ties have improved?  The Guardian suggests that the US and Great Britain may have not benefited from Victory Day-inspired munificence.  The presence of NATO soldiers at the event apparently stirred the ire of the Communist Party.  In his speech at the parade, President Medvedev emphasized conciliation, the notion of the ‘good neighborand Western cooperation.  The parade was apparently celebrated by more than 4.2 million people and presented the largest selection of Russian armory since the fall of the Soviet Union.  The emphasis on Victory Day is apparently as much for the benefit of Russian youths as Russian veterans.  ‘What should be done about Stalin?’

President Medvedev has presented acting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski with 67 volumes of documents pertaining to the Katyn massacre, as a gesture in improving ties.  The deceased Polish President’s twin brother has thanked Russia for its help.  Has the EU’s eastern partnership turned out to be a damp squib?  Apparently Russia is planning to focus on the development of social and military infrastructure in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.  Doctors at a Russian Military Commission in Penza have been arrested for reportedly taking bribes from draft dodgers.

President Obama is, according to the Washington Post, looking to see ‘increasing cooperation between the United States and Russia’ on terrorism.  He also reportedly hopes that the Senate will ratify the START treaty by November.  The New York Times wonders if there is any logic in the US keeping tactical nuclear weapons in a post-cold war Europe.  Russia will apparently not stop adoptions from the US.

The United States Human Rights Commission has held a hearing concerning the case of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.  An article from Article 19’s executive director on the worrying upturn in human rights abuses in the North Caucasus can be read here.  Robert Coalson examines furtive goings-on in the Federation Council.  The Other Russia notesthat rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva and opposition leader GarryKasparov have been named on Foreign Policy’s list of top dissidents. 

PHOTO: Rescue workers search for survivors at Raspadskaya mine in the Kemerovo region of western Siberia.  (EPA)