TODAY: Russia expresses alarm at EU moves towards eastern Europe; US missile base could be met with Iskander missiles; corruption claims launched against the Other Russia; Gorbachev says democracy waning; air hostesses on hunger strike
The BBC reports that, among other tensions overshadowing the Russia-EU summit, President Medvedev has warned the European Union against encouraging the Eastern Partnership to become a partnership ‘against Russia‘. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said Washington remains undecided on the issue of a planned missile defense system in Europe. According to the New York Times, Russia could deploy its latest Iskander missiles near Poland if the plans to settle U.S. Patriots on Polish soil go forth. ‘The Bomb gets Russia disproportionate privileges in Washington‘: the Times comments upon how atomic weaponry has been Russia’s calling card in global affairs for half a century. According to Ria-Novosti, Russia has said that resuming the work of the Russia-NATO Council depends upon ‘how much our partners are ready in practice to build relations with Russia‘.
The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has recommended that security zones be established on either side of the cease-fire line between Georgia and Abkhazia. The Telegraphreports upon a new alliance in South Ossetia which will attempt tooverthrow the region’s Kremlin-backed President, Eduard Kokoity. Moscow has complained about remarks made by the Japanese Prime Ministerregarding the ‘ongoing occupation’ of the Southern Kuril islands, an issue that prevents the two countries from signing a official peace treaty to end World War Two.
Ex-President Gorbachev has denounced the erosion of democracy and the state’s consolidation of power. ‘We have seen the step-by-step monopolization of political activities‘. A United Russia party official and two pro-Kremlin analysts have filed a report in which they claim corruption is rife in opposition groupslinked to the Other Russia, naming National Bolshevik co-founder EduardLimonov, United Civil Front leader Garry Kasparov, former Deputy PrimeMinister Boris Nemtsov and former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov asculprits among them.
A Moscow court has maintained the rule to prevent women from becoming metro drivers. Eleven women who were employed as air hostesses with bankrupt Siberian airline KrasAir have been on hunger strike for over a week over eight month’s worth of unpaid wages.
PHOTO:From left, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Czech President VaclavKlaus and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana walk before a boat tripon the Amur River outside the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk, May 21,2009. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential PressService)