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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 17, 2009

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TODAY: Medvedev speaks in Singapore, elections committee to be formed under the president?; Abkhazia pledges dialing allegiance to Russia; Moscow real estate and low-rise government housing; kiosk theft, Nabokov.
Soundbites from Dmitry Medvedev’s Singapore appointments: climate change poses a ‘catastrophic‘ threat; Russia’s rejuvenated navy wants to up its presence in the world’s oceans; stop rewriting history on WW2; state financial problems will have no impact on arms procurement.  Journalists continue to bemoan the lack of ‘a bridge between his wonderful strategic plans and his concrete proposals‘.  Discrepancies between Medvedev’s words and actions happen because ‘true modernization never succeeds without a corresponding major change in political leadership,‘ says one Moscow Times columnist.  Boris Gryzlov’s idea to create an electoral monitoring committee in the State Duma to deal with complaints about fraudulent results has been scrapped, according to The Other Russia, in favor of plans to create the committee under the president, in line with Dmitry Medvedev’s proposed reforms.  Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia has adopted Russia’s international dialing code.  

Unauthorized extensions added to listed buildings in Moscow as a way of increasing their area are endangering the buildings’ foundations, say preservationists.  Meanwhile the government is continuing with its plans to build low-rise housingto pull people out of the slums‘.  Proper attention to certain ‘technical issues‘ such as the ‘location and boundaries‘ of Russian land plots, is not always given.  Viktor Yanukovych, front-runner for the next Ukrainian presidency, says his country must rebuild strong ties with Russia.  
An exchange kiosk owner made off with Duma deputy Edward Markin’s €300,000 in cash, but what was Markin doing with that amount of cash anyway?, wonders the BBC.  Vladimir Nabokov’s final, unfinished novel will be published in the UK and US today, apparently with the approval of his ghost.  Russia is about to rule on the reintroduction of the death penalty.  
PHOTO: A child passing by a painted bench in a park in St. Petersburg, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2009. (Dmitry Lovetsky / AP)