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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 26, 2011

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TODAY: Activist’s wife facing drugs charges; independent newspaper shut down after supporting opposition candidate; Moscow says no to gay rights parade; United Russia remove posters; Duma intern fired for revealing session secrets; Khodorkovsky ruling responses; Russia moves closer to OECD; cultural cold war; Cameron to visit Moscow; Putin cult.
Is the drug-dealing charge against activist Taisia Osipova a government frame designed to punish her husband, a member of the Other Russia party?  She says a raid on her house was attended by an anti-extremism officer.  Independent weekly newspaper Krestyanin has been shut downfor allowing its printing press to print campaign flyers‘ for a Communist Party mayoral candidate. Moscow has reconfirmed its decision to reject gay rights activsts’ application to hold a gay pride parade.  The law says that a deceased person’s image can only be used with the permission of their relatives: but that didn’t stop United Russia from launching a poster campaign using the faces of St Petersburg’s historic residents without permission. ‘They [United Russia] have long been living in a dream world.‘  Soviet-era activist Aleksei Manannikov has been sentenced to 48 hours’ detention for missing a police appointment.  A Duma intern has been fired for revealing that deputies were playing cards and surfing the internet during sessions.

The U.S. says that the failed appeal of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev raises concerns about ‘the apparent selective application of law‘.  The Foreign Ministry has criticized Amnesty International’s move to label the former Yukos executives as prisoners of conscience, saying that they are seven years late.  On the pro-Kremlin moves and ‘mid-career crises‘ of Mikhail Prokhorov and Alexander Lebedev.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised to cooperate with Russia on its efforts to achieve full OECD membership, after Russia signed the forum’s anti-bribery convention.  On the ongoing ‘cultural cold war‘ between Russia and the U.S. over art loans.  In a sign of improving relations, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has accepted a Kremlin invitation to visit Moscow in September.  
A cult in central Russia believes that Vladimir Putin is the reincarnation of St. Paul the Apostle (he does not approve).
PHOTO: Svetlana Frolova, who leads a cult which venerates Vladimir Putin, leads a service at her sanctuary at Bolshaya Yelena, a village near central Russia’s city of Nizhny Novgorod May 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Natalia Plankina)