RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 23, 2010


TODAY: Medvedev in online session with citizens; Russia and US to consult on North Korean nuclear program; Nemtsov attacked on return to Moscow; Russia Today reporters arrested in US; Pamfilova to receive state honors; Kremlin stamps out Zorkin’s dismissal of European Court of Human Rights; Georgia to seek accord / demand Sochi Olympics relocate. 
The patron saint of the Russian Internet is, of course, President Dmitry Medvedev,‘ who staged an online question-and-answer with citizens’ yesterday.  Despite the modern set-up, the questions apparently pertained to problems with public utilities such as street-lighting and energy.  The US is planning to consult with Russia on Pyongyang’s uranium enrichment program, as China responded to reports of a North Korean attack on a South Korean island with a call to resume six-party talks on the matter.  ‘There is just one problem [with Russia’s signing of an accord with NATO]: This celebration of mutual understanding is completely worthless. There have already been a number of such celebrations‘.  Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich has congratulated himself on the accord: ‘In many respects the result of the Lisbon summit depended on Ukraine’s position.

Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov says he was assaulted at Moscow airport, after returning from the United States where he had called for a travel ban on Vladislav Surkov.  The Washington Post has a mini-profile of Nadira Isayeva, one of four journalists recognized by the Committee to Protect Journalists this month.  Two Russia Today reporters have ben detained, fined, and subsequently released in the US, whilst trying to cover an unauthorized protest at a military center in Georgia.  The pair, both US citizens, called their arrests ‘very unacceptable‘, given that they ‘complied with all the requirements of the police‘.  The President’s former human rights advisor, Ella Pamfilova, who resigned earlier this year, is to receive state honors for ‘longstanding productive government activity‘. 
Another day, another poll: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is Russia’s ‘real leader‘, say 84% of Levada’s polled Russians.  A Kremlin aide was quick to rain on chief justice Valery Zorkin’s comments that Russia ‘may withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights‘, saying that Russia is not ‘developing backwards just yet‘.  The French branch of the court has agreed to hear the case of Aleksei Mumolin, a Russian policeman who was fired after posting a complaint about police corruption on the internet.  Medvedev suggests that the enormous‘ workload of Russia’s judges is what causes ‘poor consideration of cases‘.  The Georgian parliament is apparently planning to appeal to the international community for a relocation of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, over security and environmental concerns.  That should neatly balance President Mikhail Saakashvili’s planned invitation to invite Russia to begin talks on a unilateral renunciation of force. 
The Federal Air Transportation Agency will not look into complaints from the public that Vladimir Putin’s August firefighting-pilot stunt, performed without a pilot’s license, was worthy of a fine.  Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of Mikhail, speaks to the Moscow Times on his self-imposed exile from Russia.  Could Russia’s whistleblowing spy reveal secrets about official money-laundering
PHOTO: Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin greets China’s Premier Wen Jiabao after his arrival to St. Petersburg November 22, 2010. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/Ria Novosti/Pool