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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 10, 2009

PH2009110817812.jpgTODAY: Youtube policeman faces slander investigation; Omsk students threatened with expulsion; Committee to Protect Journalists urge global attention to threats against media in Russia. Merkel thanks Gorbachev; Medvedev approves new military bill; advocates abolition of death penalty. Delay for Gazprom eyesore?; Nobel Prize winning physicist dies; Kalashnikov goes on; gangsters’ idea of cemetery chic.

Corruption-highlighting policeman Alexei Dymovsky is now facing three investigations after posting a video address to Putin lamenting the state of the police, including an Investigative Committee examination of whether the policeman’s accusations hold any truth; another investigation is against Dymovsky himself, for slander.  Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has already ordered an investigation into the Novorossiisk police force and suspended Dymovsky pending the results – though he has already been fired by his superiors.  The Russian interior minister has his work cut out for him at today’s annual Police Day address after a difficult year for the reputation of law enforcers.  The Times has a run down of prominent Russians who criticized the government, and paid for it dearly.  Representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Kati Marton and Nina Ognianova, have a piece here about the necessity for the world to address the problem of freedom of press and threats to journalists in Russia.  Apparently 44% of Moscovites do not trust the results of the recent elections.  However, supporting some commentators’ claims that there is widespread apathy about the results, 51% of Moscow residents do not believe that there is the need for new elections to be called.  12 students branded ‘extremists’ by Omsk State University’s administrators, including three who are members of the Yabloko opposition party, may face expulsions.


Suspicions about the Russian government’s position on the fall of the Berlin wall in the Moscow Times, for being ‘overtly positive’.  Angela Merkel has thanked the last Soviet leader, Mikhael Gorbachev, for his role in allowing the wall’s collapse.  The BBC is running an interview with Medvedev’s adviser, think tank head Igor Yurgens, about Russia’s current foreign policy.  An op-ed in the New York Times on Russia’s tandemleadership suggests that for the US and Europe, ‘ambiguous lines of authorityonly add to the difficulty of working with a corrupt, autocratic andoften inept bureaucracy’.  According to the Moscow Times, Medvedev has ratified a bill that widens the legal basis for the use of Russia’s military abroad.

How to combat nationalism by Leonid Gozman in the Moscow Times: a question of education, party politics and policing.  The Constitutional Court has opened hearings into whether a ten-year moratorium on capital punishment should be overturned. Apparently President Medvedev supports the ‘gradual abolition’ of the death penalty.

The hearing on a lawsuit protesting the construction of the Gazprom tower in St Petersburg will reportedly be postponed for a week, as the Okhta Center requests extra time to examine the arguments of the Yabloko party.  Nobel prize winning physicist, Vitaly Ginzbur, who was one of the godfathers of the Soviet H-bomb, has died at the age of 93.  Gun inventor Kalshnikov is 90 today.  Bling-bling gangster gravestones are making a statement in Ekaterinburg.

PHOTO: About 1,000 dominoes marking the fall of the Berlin Wall have been placed near the Brandenburg Gate. (Herbert Knosowski/associated Press)