RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 27, 2009

41_2.jpgTODAY: Russia back firm but cautious stance on North Korea; Russia-NATO council meeting on level of ambassadors; Russia-Georgia discuss border reopening; Kremlin seeks extradition of Yukos’ Spanish head; Putin tries his hand at journalism

Vitaly Churkin, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has said that Russia will back a strong resolution’ on North Korea.  According to other sources, Russia believes that a blockade should not be imposed, ‘in any case it is counterproductive to raise the question of the DPRK’s international isolation. The path to dialogue should not be disrupted, and the problem can be solved only in political and diplomatic ways’.  An article in the Moscow Times explains why Russia has the most to lose from North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.  ‘One of the most dangerous chemical weapons arsenals in the world is finally getting demilitarized’; the New York Times reports on the rebuilding of a Siberian weapons cache discovered in 1994 and since rebuilt with American aid.  Russian Ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin says that  ‘a deep content analysis of our relations’ will take place at today’s ambassadorial-level meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

‘Switzerland must be present at all talks on the opening of the checkpoint as we can not rule out provocation by Russia‘, says the Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze.  RFE/RL reports a willingness on Georgia’s part however to accept Russia’s proposal to reopen the Verkhny/Zemo Lars border crossing.  In Tbilisi 60,000 people appeared at an opposition rally on Independence Day to demand the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.   Romanian President Traian Basescu has charged Russia with undermining trust in Europe with a lack of transparency and focus on maintaining its traditional sphere of influence. 

Russia is seeking the extradition from Spain of the former chief of Yukos subsidiary Fargoil, a Spanish national, who fled Russia after being formally charged of embezzling $13 billion.  Russian defense lawyer Boris Kuznetsov, who has been granted asylum in the US, has told reporters he believes the criminal case against him will soon be dismissed.  Yulia Latynina in the Moscow Times addresses the issue of crimes committed by law enforcers who face no legal consequences.  Rights group Memorial is the latest party to criticize the counter-revisionism commission, which they say could violate theConstitution’s ban on compulsoryideology.

The Independent looks at Vladimir Putin’s latest show of talent: the Prime Minister will write a column for monthly magazine, Russian Pioneer. The first is entitled ‘Why it’s hard to fire people’: ‘conflicts within a team, especially within a big team, always arise.  This happens every minute, every second – simply because between people there are always clashes of interest.’  The voice of experience? 

PHOTO:  Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the Yabloko party, speaking at a rally of small businesses Tuesday on Tverskaya Ulitsa.  (Vladimir Filonov / MT