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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 24, 2010

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TODAY: Chess federation loses home; Siberian authorities ban miners’ protest; promise to close suspect mines; new anti-corruption measures; Duma lawmakers complain about judiciary’s failure to comply with new economic crime law.  US drops Russia sanctions after Iran deal; Russian missile deal with Tehran apparently unaffected.  Defense to try lotteries; wobbling bridge; Soviet collectibles.

The Russian chess federation has been ousted from its headquarters after it refused to back the Kremlin-favored incumbent, Kalmyk President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.  Siberian authorities have banned a march to be held by miners angered by the Raspadskaya mine explosions.  According to RFE/RL, the threat of industrial action by workers enraged by the events is ‘spooking the Kremlin, which has a long-standing fear of politicized miners’.  Officials in the Kemerovo region where the accident occurred have reportedly promised to close any unsafe mines.  Workers in the Altai Krai region have ended their hunger strike as they have started to receive their back pay.  The Moscow Times reports that Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin has ordered a crack down on graft which will see gifting banned and bribe takers punished.  Apparently State Duma deputies have complained about judges’ lack of compliance with the law banning pretrial detention for those held on economic crimes. 


The US has removed sanctions against three Russian organizations that Washington had previously suggested were involved in helping Iran develop nuclear weapons.   A Russian senator has said that the sanctions against Iran would not affect Russian’s current contracts with Tehran.  US officials have also admitted that a loophole in the Security Council resolution means that the Russia-Iran missile sale will still be permitted to go through.  As part of the ongoing START weapons detente, the White House has agreed to inform other nations before it launches most ballistic missile tests or satellites; apparently it hopes Russia will follow its lead.  Russia’s drug enforcement chief Viktor Ivanov has apparently providedthe US with a list of notorious drug barons operating in Afghanistanand criticized NATO for not doing enough to stem the flow of opium.

President Medvedev has said that 80% of the army’s cable communications lines are near obselete and must be replaced.  The defense ministry may use lotteries as a way of providing extra funds for the armed forces.  Apparently the Mistral may be setting sail for Russia imminently.

Another Russian infrastructure wobble.  The Guardian looks at Soviet artifact collector David King.  RFE/RL reflects on the life of writer and dissident Joseph Brodsky, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1987.

PHOTO:  Bridge that crosses the Volga River in Volgograd shown moving up and down, in this frame grab from Russian state television network.  (RU-RTR. AP / RU-RTR)