RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 14, 2010

metro.jpgTODAY: FSB kills three metro bombing suspects; Trifonova judge resigns; fears for health of another jailed businessman; anti-Putin petition rally; scientists protest.  Ex-air force chief claims Russian defense in sorry state; Obama and Medvedev discuss Iran sanctions; Russia-Ukraine text book;, bribing helps, says poll; Dostoevsky murals cause depression

The FSB has killed three people allegedly involved in the suicide attacks on the Moscow metro in March, after they refused to surrender.  An attack on a police convoy in Dagestan has killed at least eight people, most of whom were repair workers according to reports.  The Moscow Times reports that a 62-year-old Latvian businessman in ill health, jailed on economic crimes, fears he may die like other sick inmates at the Matrosskaya Tishina pretrial prison.  The judge in the Trifonova case, Olga Makarova, has resigned.  A meeting has been held by opposition activists, including Garry Kasparov, to rally thePutin Must Go’ petition.  Land seizures in Sochi continue to raise eyebrows.  Around 500 scientists in St Petersburg have protested against what they view as the government’s lack of support for the sciences.  Nikolai Alekseev sees depressing parallels between gay rights (or lack thereof) in Russia and Belarus.

As President Obama sends START, (which has been described in a joint US-Russia statement as ‘the end of the Cold War’) to the Senate, he has also asked for $80 billion in funding for a nuclear complex, a move designed to sweeten the treaty’s opponents.  The US president is reportedly interested in Russian ideas about tackling piracy (of the oceanic, as opposed to copyright variety).  A Russian man has been sentenced to four years in jail for apparently handing over military maps to the US.

An ex-airforce chief has lamented that Russia is 25-30 years behind the US in terms of the development of its air defense weapons, due to crumbling industrial plants.  Why the memory of the USSR will continue to influence Russian foreign policy, in the FT.  Russia has shrugged off criticisms from Israel about President Medvedev’s recent meeting with Hammas.  Opponents of the interim government in Kyrgyzstan have seized an airport and administration buildings, calling for the reinstalling of Kurmanbek Bakiyev.  Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych says he has no plans to renew the nuclear submarine base at Balaklava on the Crimean peninsula.  Whilst traditionally in disagreement over issues such as the 1930s famine, Russia and Ukraine are set to release a joint history textbook by the year’s end.

Apparently 55% of Russians believe that bribing officials helps to solve problems.  The opening of a new Moscow metro station, dedicated to Fyodor Dostoevsky, has been postponed as grim murals illustrating the writer’s work have prompted concerns the station could become a suicide hotspot.

PHOTO: A mural in the Dostoyevskaya metro station of a man killing two women with an ax. The station’s planned Saturday opening has been delayed indefinitely amid concerns that its Fyodor Dostoevsky-themed murals are too violent.  (Roman Vukolov / Itar-tass)