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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 16, 2009

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TODAY: Medvedev meets Obama in Singapore on sidelines of Apec, discusses Iran and START; what happened to Russia’s US-Afghan supply route?; more law enforcement officers weighing in on corruption; Putin didn’t attend hip-hop party to boost popularity, insists Peskov; Moscow advertisers refuse controversial campaigns; Bulbov released, Vitaly Ginzburg has died.
President Dmitry Medvedev’s address at the Apec summit in Singapore ‘took a wait-and-see approach on specifics‘, reportedly largely echoing his state-of-the-nation address and ensuing Economist piece.  Medvedev met his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit, where the two said they hoped to strike a new deal for arms cuts under a new START pact by the end of the year, and agreed that ‘time is running out‘ for diplomacy on the matter of Iran’s nuclear program.  Although Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev’s chief foreign policy adviser, is forecastingdifficult‘ discussions with the EU after the Lisbon Treaty comes into force, he is ‘satisfied at the moment by the quality of open and pragmatic dialogue with the U.S. administration.‘  ‘For all of the lofty sentiments expressed at high-profile summit meetings, actual change has never been easy to deliver,‘ says the New York Times, wondering what happened to the U.S. Afghan supply route agreement with Russia.  

Grigory Chekalin, a former deputy prosecutor for the Komi republic, has added his name to a growing group of law enforcement officials coming forward to denounce corruption, following in the footsteps of Major Alexei Dymovsky and his YouTube appeal.  ‘They have one goal: to keep me silent,‘ said Chekalin, who has apparently already angered former colleagues.  Marking a trend, advertising agencies in Moscow and St. Petersburg are refusing to run a provocative anti-corruption Newsweek campaign. ‘There’s every indication that they refuse us for political reasons. It reminds me of the late Soviet Union,‘ said Newsweek’s editor-in-chief.  Medvedev’s plans for modernizing and reforming Russia are just ‘empty talk‘, says a Moscow Times opinion piece.  
An ‘uncomfortably detached‘ President Vladimir Putin has appeared on a Russian hip-hop show to suggest that hip-hop could be a cure for alcohol and drug abuse.  His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denies Reuters’ suggestion that the appearance was an attempt to boost Putin’s falling popularity ratings
Alexander Bulbov, a senior Federal Drug Control Service officer detained in custody for more than two years in a case ‘widely seen as blatant manifestations of a power struggle between Kremlin clans‘, has been released.  The territory of Russia has expanded by 4.5 square kilometers over the past three years due to earthquakes in the Far East, says InterfaxVitaly Ginzburg, a Nobel prizewinning Russian physicist and a father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, has died aged 93.   
PHOTO: President Barack Obama meets with Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Singapore, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)