RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 28, 2009

front_2.jpgTODAY: Russia to bolster security over North Korea nuclear tension; Russia-NATO ice thaws; Georgia accuses Kremlin of blackmail; NGO reforms meager; police to declare income; art reaches Perm

Russia is undertaking ‘an appropriate package of precautionary measures’ against the possibility that tensions with muscle-flexing North Korea may spin out of control.  North Korean Ambassador Kim Yong-jae has been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry to be told that ‘urgent measures’ to ease tensions should be made.  The Washington Post examines how Russia’s reaction to the situation has evolved.  It appears that the tensions between Russia and NATO have diminished as yesterday’s meeting was ‘positive’.  NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin has commented that relations ‘should be conducted on the basis of equality and mutual respect and  ‘must avoid unpredictability and provocation’.  Both NATO and Rogozin have said that a ministerial meeting should be the next item on the agenda.

A US analyst has said that the NATO-Russia Council is an ideal forum for talks on Arctic security.  Georgia has launched an attack on both the Kremlin and the UN, saying that Moscow blackmailed U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to change his Caucasus report.
Following suit from President Medvedev’s insistence on declarations of wealth among politicians, police officers will apparently now have to show their tax declarations to their superiors.  President Medvedev’s changes to Vladimir Putin’s NGO law, seen as a mark of a reforming impulse, are ‘top-down’  and not as meaningful as organizations had hoped.  ‘Actions like meeting with human rights activists, an interviewwith Novaya Gazeta, and so forth, turn out to be nothing more thandisinformation’, says an article by Irina Pavlova in the Other Russia.  Medvedev has continued his series of meetings with political parties with a discussion with the leaders of the Liberal Democratic Party.

Russia will uphold its ban on meat imports from the US, as the Federal Veterinary Service asserts that the measures are for safety reasons, not political ones.  A Russian space capsule has been launched from Kazakhstan on a mission that will double the crew of the international space station.  The New York Times reports upon how the art world is bringing Perm, once a military-industrial city, back to life.

PHOTO: Children waiting for a Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft carrying a three-man crew to the international space station to lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, May 27, 2009.  (Sergey Ponomarev/AP)