START replacement talks are apparently stalling, with a series of issues that Russia wishes to discuss before a deal can be concluded, such as removing US monitors at the Topol-M ballistic missile plant. Russia will add more than 30 ballistic missiles and three nuclear submarines to its arsenal next year as part of its armed forces upgrade. Poland’s foreign minister has apparently sent a letter to NATO voicing concern about recent Russian military exercises.
Deputy Andrei Lugovoi, who is wanted in Britain in connection with the Alexander Litvinenko murder, has said that he is prepared to go to London to face questioning ‘under certain conditions’. The Khamovniki district court of Moscow has extended the investigation prison custody for former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev. RFE/RLponders the connection between whistleblower policeman Aleksei Dymovskyand the 22 criminal cases launched against state corporations – something the siloviki should be worried about? An article in the Economist suggests that the arrest of two ultra nationalists for the Markelov-Baburova killings is evidence that the Kremlin is organizing ‘a serious and co-ordinated crackdown on the neo-fascists in Moscow’. The editor of a paper in south Russia’s Krasnodar Territory is to face charges of extremism after publishing an apparently racist poem.
Vladimir Putin has been voted third on Forbes most powerful list, behind Barack Obama and Hu Jintao; Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin was placed 42, and Medvedev 43.
PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev delivering his second state-of-the-nation address to hundreds of dignitaries in the Kremlin’s St. George Hall on Thursday, November 12, 2009. (Igor Tabakov / MT)