RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 3, 2011


TODAY: Kremlin responds to bin Laden’s death; Moscow bomb injures 1; information on Navalny supporters extracted from Yandex and leaked; journalist deaths, press freedom; Domodedovo says operations are above board; May Day roundup.   
The Foreign Ministry ‘appreciates‘ having been tipped off about the death of Osama bin Laden before President Obama’s official statement.  The Kremlin welcomed the news, with President Dmitry Medvedev calling it a ‘serious success‘ against international terrorism, although public response is less positive: ‘A person in Russia can still become a victim of radical Islamic terrorism […] It does not matter if Bin Laden is alive or dead.‘  The head of Ingushetia says that bin Laden’s death will ‘decrease the activity of international terrorist organizations, including those operating in Russia.‘  A bomb blast in Moscow this morning has injured one policeman.  ‘Medvedev will seek to duplicate Obama’s own campaign as much as possible from start to finish.

Donors supporting Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption operations have had their personal data collected and subsequently leaked by the FSB, who got the details from Yandex.  Donors were then called up by people posing as ‘journalists‘ and asked why they had donated; Navalny suspects the involvement of youth group Nashi.  Yandex says it was forced to hand over the information, and is ‘unhappy about the situation‘.  Two of the 102 journalists killed worldwide last year were Russian.  RFE/RL has a summary of Freedom House’s new report on press freedom, which does not include Russia in its top 10 worst countries but notes it as an area for concern; ‘denial or suspension of broadcast licenses and the shuttering of media outlets on fabricated grounds is one of the Kremlin’s favorite ways to quash unpopular points of view.‘  Read the original report here
Domodedovo Airport insists that its management operations are all above board.  The Moscow Times has some highlights from Sunday’s May Day protests, including: Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was apparently pelted with eggs during his address; gay rights activists stormed the Communist Party’s rally; Yabloko held a picnic on an artificial island inhabited by the wealthy and powerful.  36 wildfires are raging in Siberia. 
PHOTO: A Russian police officer, right, looks through barriers in front of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, May 2, 2011. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)