RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 30, 2011


TODAY: Gay rights parade in Moscow leads to attacks and arrests; Obama appoints McFaul as new Russia adviser; prison for police; Abkhazia President dies; lie detectors in Kazan; Khodorkovsky to appeal for parole.
An unsanctioned gay rights parade was held in Moscow on Saturday, seeing three international gay rights leaders arrested (including the American, Daniel Choi), together with dozens of protesters (the Moscow Times reports over 30 arrests).  Reports say that some protesters were attacked by a group of ultra-Orthodox lobbyers.  ‘In some cases, it looked as if the police were trying to shield the protesters from the violence.‘  U.S. officials are reminding the Kremlin about the right to freedom of assembly.  President Obama will appoint Michael McFaul (‘a champion of the “reset” policy’) as the next U.S. ambassador to Russia.  McFaul’s appointment to the post, which would normally filled by a diplomat, ‘is intended as a message to the Kremlin about the importance Washington puts on improving an often testy relationship‘.  The New York Times reports on a prison that houses only former policeman and other ex-officials from the legal system – ‘a legacy of a post-Stalin reform of the penal colony system‘.

The President of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region, Sergei Bagapsh, has died of heart failure in Moscow; early analysis suggests that his death will not upset relations with Russia.  RFE/RL reports on the use of lie-detector tests for bureaucrats in Kazan.  Following the ‘complete buffoonery‘ of his failed appeal, Mikhail Khodorkovsky is reportedly planning to appeal for release on parole
PHOTO: A Russian police officer detains a gay activist during an attempt to hold a gay pride parade in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)