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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 5, 2010

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TODAY: Governors reluctant on income transparency; official fired in Trifonova case, calls for prison reform redouble; Putin rebuffs Reports Without Borders criticisms.  Kyrgyzstan to investigate Manas fuel supplies; Georgian opposition members suggests plan for Russia to re-neg on Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow heritage buildings under threat; snow unwelcome at Victory Day; video games.

Apparently only half of Russia’s governors made Friday’s deadline to post income declarations.  Among those who failed to publish: Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and Tula Governor Vyacheslav Dudka.  A Putin spokesman has said that the placing of the Russian Prime Minister on the Reporters without Borders list of predators of press freedom is ‘deeply erroneous.’  The Duma will consider a bill tightening regulations for the recruitment of police officers, whose reputation has suffered of late from incidents of violence and accusations of graft.  ‘Millions of corrupt officials gobble up the country’s wealth and cripple the country with their parasitism,’ says a Moscow Times op-ed.  An investigator will face prosecution for allowing Vera Trifonova to die though lack of medical treatment at Matrosskaya Tishina detention center.  Meanwhile the deceased’s lawyer believes officials should face a charge of death through ‘direct intent.’   The case is re-igniting calls for prison reform, says the New York Times.  ‘The death of Vera Trifonova occurred mainly because the proper conclusions have not been drawn from the Magnitsky case,’ argues one NGO representative.


Kyrgyzstan’s interim government has initiated an investigation into supplies of fuel provided to the US Manas base.  Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has asserted that he will not extradite the ousted President of Kyrgyzstan who has sought refuge in Minsk.  Georgian opposition leader Zurab Noghaideli claims that he has a clear plan to encourage Russia to go back on its recognition of breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia‘Cowardice in the face of an international bully’: Yulia Latynina returns to the subject of the Tagliavini report in the Moscow Times.  A Lithuanian woman has been detained on suspicion of collaborating with radical Islamic groups and planning a suicide attack against a Russian military target.  This op-ed suggests that Ukraine need not be torn between Russia and Europe.

Moscow City Hall is facing the wrath of conservationists for failing to maintain the upkeep of a historic building which has had no repairs since being damaged in a fire six months ago.  RFE/RL looks at Luzhkov’s GenPlan, which one conservationist calls ‘a death sentence for Moscow.’   Point of information: the Mayor’s wife, property tycoon Yelena Baturina declared earnings of more than $1 billion last year.  As Moscow prepares for Victory Day, Mayor Yury Luzhkov plans to perform his favorite party trick – dispersing the snow clouds that loom over the city.   A new idea from the Communications Ministry plans to use video games to enliven a sense of nationalism in Russian children.

PHOTO: Chechen Republic President Ramzan Kadyrov, center, was one of the many governors who did not release his income declaration by the April 30 deadline.  (D. Grishkin / Vedomosti)