RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – May 7, 2010

NEWS-3-parade.jpgTODAY: US congressman to make move on Magnitsky case; Stalin continues to cause outrage; focus turns to living conditions for veterans today; Medvedev calls Stalin regime ‘totalitarian’.  Obama keeps finger on reset button; puts civil nuclear agreement back on the table; Kadyrov pedestrian? new FSB law has sinister implications; Yury Luzhkov; gambling

The US is weighing in on the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, with one congressman pledging to introduce legislation that may repeal the visas of around 60 Russians connected with his death.  As preparations for Victory Day gain momentum, this article looks at the decades-long wait some veterans faced before receiving their state-pledged free apartments.  Reuters interviews a Red Army veteran who campaigns for the rights of ex-Soviet soldiers who did not take Russian citizenship, and therefore receive no state pay outs.  The Guardian has a picture gallery of the Victory Day rehearsals.  The parades will apparently see 10,500 Russian soldiers march for the first time alongside troops from the United States, France, Britain and Poland.  In total, more than 102,000 Russian troops will take part in military parades around the country.  An overview of reasons why the 65th anniversary celebrations are so monumental can be found here.  Memorial is asking that the St Petersburg Stalin bus be removed as the use of the leader’s image is ‘leading to a schism in society’;  a statue of the man of steel is also causing outcry in Ukraine.  Is the Stalinmobile even legal? asks this article.  Activists have also demanded that President Medvedev openly condemn the Soviet titan.  The President has told a TV interviewer on accusations of Stalin rehabilitation: ‘it cannot be said that Stalinism has returned to our everyday life… This is absolutely ruled out,‘  and commented that ‘ […] the regime that was built in the Soviet Union… cannot be called anything other than totalitarian.’   The President has also reportedly urged for the opening of secret military archives.  The Guardian offers an interesting look at war correspondent Vazzily Grossman, one veteran whose memory the government has not chosen not to honor.

The New York Times reports that President Obama is planning on reviving a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with Moscow that had been shelved by predecessor George Bush.  Are moves like this supporting the theory, argued here, that Russia is gaining all the concessions in the reset dynamic?  Meanwhile US Vice-President Joe Biden has reassured Europe that plans for missile defense will go ahead, in an IHT op-ed.

There have been minor conflicts between protesters and police in Georgia as elections near.  The Kazakhstan parliament is apparently contemplating giving President Nursultan Nazarbayev powers for life as a way of ensuring a successor can be installed.  Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has made his belated declaration of income: $131,000 earned last year, but apparently he has no car.

The Moscow Times reports that about 70 notaries who lost their licenses between 2006-2007 are believed to be back at work ‘Jews could be harassed for inciting anti-Semitism by being Jewish’: what kind of a law could possibly create these kinds of conditions?  The ever astute Robert Coalson has the answer.  The era of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov is, perhaps, coming to a close, suggests the FT.   An article on RFE/RL wonders if the remote gambling zones are on a losing streak.

PHOTO: Russian World War II veteran Sayara Shestopalova, 83, center, holding flowers and standing near the Marshal Zhukov monument and State Historical Museum, just outside Red Square, Thursday, May 6, 2010.  (Mikhail Metzel / AP)