RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 7, 2009

capt.photo_1241611092404-2-0.jpgTODAY: Georgian tensions continue; ‘counterproductive’ is NATO’s word on Russian expulsions; Eastern partnership a risky undertaking for the EU?; Sochi is apparently secure and within schedule; first attempt at gay marriage in Russia; anti-Gorbachev plotter dies

NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin has commented it would be better for NATO to undertake their war games ‘in a madhouse than in a country where troops were ‘rioting against their own president‘; the digruntled diplomat expounds his issues with NATO in a piece he has written for the New York Times.  ‘Very unfortunate and counterproductive is how NATO perceives of Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats.  Reuters features an analysis.  Could a free trade agreement help smooth relations between Georgia and Russia?  The Defense Ministry has announced that a planned second meeting between Russia, Georgia, the breakaway region of South Ossetia and the EU has been broken off ‘because of Georgia.’   Preposterous, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, are claims that Russia was involved in the attempted mutiny. 

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has adopted a more conciliatory tone with NATO, expressing a desire to workpragmatically’ with the NATO council; he hopes ‘to discuss an entire range of cooperationonhis visit to Washington.  The Duma is likely to accept the European Social Charter, although agreement on sections concerning the rights of immigrant workers and the needy has been postponed.  ‘A wall of instability’ in the EU’s backyard; a comment piece in the Moscow Times discusses the pitfalls of the EU’s eastwards policy; the Telegraph suggests the union’s attempts to foster links with the ‘gray zone’ may provoke the Kremlin’s ‘fury’.

The Moscow Times collects different opinions on Medvedev’s first year in power.  ‘Medvedev is gradually emancipating himself from Putin’, says Bloomberg.  Apparently preparations for the Sochi Olympics are ahead of schedule’ and it is the ‘state with the highest security level, the Games chief has commented.

General Valentin Varennikov, Red Army veteran and participant in the 1991 rebellion against Mikhail Gorbachev has died.  A lesbian couple in Moscow will apply for the first same-sex marriage licence, although activists say that in a town where the mayor branded gay marches ‘satanic’, it is unlikely to be granted.

PHOTO: Georgian women walk past a poster of the NATO logo in Tbilisi on May 6, 2009.  (AFP/Vano Shlamov)