RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 4, 2011


TODAY: European court orders rules that Sutyagin was detained for too long; former spy Poteyev charged with high treason; investigator calls for new Hermitage arrest; media head disputes Freedom House findings; Latynina on Domodedovo; Moscow wants guarantees on U.S. missile defense; President gets new terror powers; Magnitsky play debuts in Washington.
The Russian government will have to pay €20,000 in damages to Igor Sutyagin, after the European Court of Human rights ruled that he was detained for too long (he was arrested in 1999 and released last year) and denied a fair trial.  Alexander Poteyev, the former intelligence officer accused of aiding the U.S. arrest of ten Russian sleeper agents last year, has been charged in Moscow with high treason and will be tried in his absence.  Oleg Silchenko, thought to be connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, is calling for the arrest of Ivan Cherkasov, another Hermitage Capital employee based in London, in connection with the same tax evasion case.  The Chairman of the Public Chamber’s committee for media issues, who is also the editor of the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, argues that this week’s Freedom House report on Russian media freedom did not take ‘positive trends‘ into account.

Yulia Latynina has the background to this week’s Domodedovo accusations: apparently the airport was planning to place a quarter of its shares with foreign investment funds, which caused it to reveal its healthy earnings, and thereby become an attractive asset for the state.  Moscow is still pushing for legal guarantees from the U.S. that its missile defense shield will not target Russian forces.  The President will now be able to set color-coded terror alerts – a ‘subtle shift in the balance of power‘?  Russia has apparently dropped Scientology publications from its list of extreme literature.  
A play based on extracts from Sergei Magnitsky’s diary is to debut in Washington, DC.  Reuters has compiled short histories on Moscow’s top three political monuments.
PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is offered an oxygen cocktail by staff during his visit to a children’s sanatorium in the Lazarevsky district of southern Russia’s Krasnodar region May 3, 2011. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin