RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 27, 2011


TODAY: G8 Summit commences, missile defense stalemate, WTO accession, Libya; Saakashvili blames Russia for demonstrations; Yabloko leader arrested; Navalny sues over fraud case; Khodorkovsky cell-mate describes forced attack; Islamic Cultural Center closes; village evacuated after military fires.
Meeting on the sidelines of the G8 Summit, President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to continue talks on missile defense with a view to solving the problem ‘maybe in 2020‘.  Both leaders are pushing for Russia’s WTO accession.  Russia says that its G8 partners asked it to mediate in and help resolve the Libya crisis, although it was unclear what form such mediation would take, and one non-Russian diplomat implied that no such request had been made.  The Telegraph is liveblogging the summit.  Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is blaming Russia for violent demonstrations (click for video) in Tbilisi, which were ended by riot police, saying that ‘our occupiers‘ sought to ‘cause sabotage and mass disorder‘.  Police in Moscow have detained Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of the Yabloko party, during a protest held outside the Ministry of Economic Development to draw attention to a 34% increase in mandatory insurance fees for small businesses.

Corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny is suing the Investigation Committee for failing to officially inform him of the reopening of a fraud case against him. ‘A suspect has the right to know what he’s being suspected of exactly.‘  Alexander Kuchma, a former prisoner and cell-mate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, admitted in a television interview that he was forced to carry out an attack on the former Yukos head: but the interview was not broadcast, and he now fears for his life.  It is thought that the Supreme Court ruling to close the Islamic Cultural Center was politically charged, with members apparently pressured by the F.S.B. ahead of the ruling. 
The entire village of Urman, in the Bashkortostan region, is being evacuated, following fires and explosions at a military depot.  Will Obama’s visit to Poland alter the country’s relations with Russia?  A film festival in London will screen movies from Soviet ‘film pioneers.
PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev, center, embracing French President Nicolas Sarkozy while walking with U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday at the start of the G8 summit in Deauville, France. (Larry Downing / Reuters)