TODAY: May Day opposition rally; Medvedev orders investigation into another death at Matrosskaya Tishina jail; activists detained in blue bucket protest; bombs in Caucasus; Russia and US push for nuclear weapon deal in Middle East; racism waning? Stalin museum founder killed.
‘Putin is Stalin! Putin is Brezhnev! Russia without Putin.’ A May Day opposition rally saw rights activists, among them Garry Kasparov, denounce Russia’s current leadership, under which, the former chess master lamented, ‘everything has got worse’. President Medvedev has ordered officials to investigate why 53-year old real estate agent Vera Trifonova, held on fraud charges, died while imprisoned in the same Moscow jail where Hermitage lawyer Sergei L. Magnitsky died. The Other Russia takes an in-depth look at the conditions of Trifonova’s passing, suggesting the prison willfully neglected to treat her diabetes-induced kidney failure. Despite using no posters, only blue buckets as props, ten activists who staged a protest against the misuse of flashing lights on cars owned by the wealthy have been detained by police: the Duma is currently reviewing a bill to place constraints on protest rallies by motorists. Reporters Without Borders have apparently named Prime Minister Putin among its list of ‘predators of the press’. Chechnya’s pro-Kremlin President Ramzan Kadyrov also features. Two attacks blighted May Day celebrations in the Caucasus: in Kabardino-Balkaria a 104-year old war veteran was killed when a bomb exploded in a hippodrome; meanwhile in Ingushetia an armed man was killed after opening fire at police officers when trying to enter a sports arena.
‘The most important conference in our lifetime on disarmament and non-proliferation’. Russia and the US have drawn up a proposal for the ban of WMDs in the Middle East, to be debated at today’s conference in New York. Clinton and Ahmadinejad will go head to head on issues relating to Iran’s nuclear regime and questions of arsenal building. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko has said that Russia has no opposition to Iran’s mediation between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
Racist crimes have, Reutersreports, halved in the first four months of the year according to a newsurvey by watchdog SOVA: only 15 people murdered in this period onracial grounds. A scientist held on espionage charges has had his appeal rejected by an Arkhangelsk court. A businessmen and founder of a Stalin museum in Volgograd has been beaten to death; motives remain unknown.
PHOTO: Members of an anti-fascist organisation chant slogans during a rally marking International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day, in Moscow May 1, 2010. (REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky)