RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 15, 2010

dog.jpgTODAY: Lebedev appeals for freedom of speech;  Lyudmila Alexeyeva investigated for Magnitsky comments; Moscow Kashin rally attracts 500 people; protester faces 5 years for police injury.  Medvedev intransigent on Kuril claims; meeting with Obama stresses friendly ties and hopes for START ratification. Russia pressing to oust Lukaschenko?  Forgetting Stalin.

[S]hining into the dark areas where the powerful and corrupt want to keep things hidden’: newspaper owner and ex-KGB man Alexander Lebedev emphasized the importance of freedom of press at the annual Society of Editors Lecture in Glasgow.  Extracts from the address can be found in the GuardianRFE/RL argues that what it terms the ‘Moscow paradigm of journalism‘ is prevalent across the whole of the post-Soviet space.  A Moscow rally to protest against the beatings of Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin and Khimki forest defender Konstantin Fetisov in Moscow drew 500 people on Saturday.  The New York Times reports on the swell of support for Oleg Kashin dominating the blogosphere.  ‘It is no secret that the movement that called for Kashin to be punished is financed and directed by the presidential administration’.   A Russian opposition activist faces up to five years in prison for hitting a policeman during an unsanctioned Left Front movement ‘Day of Wrath’ rally in Moscow.

It never ceases to amaze me just how evil these people can be’, Bill Browder tells the Telegraphregarding those responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, on theeve of the one-year anniversary of the lawyer’s death in custody. Having questioned the Investigative Commitee’s probings into the deathof the Hermitage lawyer, human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyevahas found herself being questioned by said investigators, the Moscow Times reports.

On the sidelines of the APEC conference, Dmitry Medvedev apparently defied Japanese objections and asserted his right to visit the Kuril islands whenever he wishes.  ‘Our Japanese colleagues, I hope, will adopt a more appropriate attitude toward this,’ says an unrepentant Sergei Lavrov.  President Medvedev apparently sees economic ties as a way to improve relations soured by the territorial dispute.  ‘Our national security depends on it’: Hillary Rodham Clinton and Robert M. Gates make the case for START in the Washington Post.  In his bilateral meeting with Dmitry Medvedev at the APEC summit, President Obama apparently warmly praised Russia as an ‘excellent partner’ and pledged that pushing through START is a top priority for the lame duck session.  A Belarussian opposition leader has told Bloomberg that relations between President Lukashenko and the Kremlin have degenerated to such an extent that Russia is seeking to oust him.  President Medvedev is reportedly considering changes to Russia’s spy agency, following the somewhat embarrassing news that this summer sleeper spies were unmasked by a high ranking Russian intelligence officer.

The Russian psyche hinders development’: Russian-born Nobel Laureate for Physics Andre Geim gives his gloomy verdict on prospects for modernization.  A study into awareness of Stalin’s crimes among Russian citizens has revealed some disturbing lacuna in the collective consciousness: a manifestation of absent memory.

PHOTO: Putin hugging a Bulgarian shepherd given to him by Borissov on November 13, 2010.  (Oleg Popov / Reuters)