RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 26, 2009

capt.32d21aee6ba34d6cbfda9080f9cc2266.aptopix_russia_economy_mosb105.jpgTODAY: Russia condemns North Korea ‘Hiroshima’ size bomb test; Lavrov says election result in Lebanon must be respected; Medvedev believes influence in CIS states should be extended; streamlining the military provokes discontent

A spokesman for President Medvedev has said that ‘North Korea’s underground nuclear test in the region adjacent to the territory of the Russian Federation … causes deep regret and the most serious concern‘.  The detonation was, according to Russian experts, of a bomb roughly the same size as that dropped on Nagasaki or Hiroshima.  Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that the international community must recognize the results of Lebanon’s upcoming general election, regardless of who wins.  This comment comes hot on the heels of those by US Vice President Joe Biden who visited the country and warned against supporting ‘spoilers of peace’ – referring to Hezbollah.  NATO has said that Georgia, who will participate in the military exercises it is hosting, will eventually become a member.

President Medvedev laments non-Russian influence in eastern Europe, telling the head of the Federal Agency for the CIS that ‘many states – you know which states I mean – are quite active in the post-Soviet space, sparing no effort or money for financing the presence of their personnel’.  An op-ed piece in the Moscow Times looks at the ‘shifting alliances’ in the eastern bloc.

The Urals city of Perm is witnessing one of the largest prostitution trials in Russian history.  Mikhail Khodorkovsky has accused Russia’s Federal Security Service of wiretapping his lawyers’ telephone calls during his ongoing court case.  Lieutenant General Vladimir Shamanov has been named the new chief commander of Russian airborne troops; not without a chequered record, the general was accused of human rights abuses in Chechnya.  The Washington Post looks at the problems facing soldiers as Russia’s military reforms increase unemployment and reduces housing options.

Ukrainian authorities are undertaking a formal investigation into whether the 1932-33 engineered famine was an act of genocide – could this be project number one for Medvedev’s new anti-revisionist commission?  The Russian Embassy in Tallinn has urged the Estonian Foreign Ministry to investigate the vandalization of a Soviet war memorial.  Vladimir Ryzhkov writes in the Moscow Times, ‘it seems that the Kremlin is determined to distort global affairs and rewrite history to fit the Kremlin’s paranoid worldview’.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Moscow’s Kremlin, May 25, 2009.  (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service)