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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 24, 2009

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TODAY: Medvedev meets with his human rights council, but there is nothing to report; Putin promises housing to retired military officers including WW2 veterans; media corruption; Amur tigers dying out; Russia’s misbehaved ‘golden youth’.
President Dmitry Medvedev met with the Council for Promoting Civil and Human Rights, his human rights council, yesterday, and called for tax incentives and other measures to assist Russian nonprofit groups which struggle with funding.  But even changes implemented last year by Medvedev have caused few changes ‘at grass roots‘, says the New York Times.  Ella Pamfilova, the chairwoman of the council, called Sergei Magnitsky’s death ‘a murder and a tragedy‘.  In return, Medvedev ‘made no direct mention of the issues that have most concerned Russian rights activists‘.  In Belarus earlier this week, Medvedev reiterated his previous position on gubernatorial elections, saying that he would not reinstate them, and that he does not consider them a sign of democracy.  ‘Dmitry Medvedev keeps giving speeches about ending the lawlessness and corruption that have overtaken his country. That would be encouraging — except that Russians who try to act on the president’s words keep turning up dead.‘  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to provide housing by 2012 for all military officers who have retired in the last 20 years, although some WWII veterans have still not received their promised housing.  There is widespread discussion of financial corruption in Russia’s business sector – but what about the media, wonders this analyst, which is ‘awash in a corrupt culture of paid-for news stories‘?  
The Amur tiger population is declining in Russia, but the country is seeing no shortage of wealthy young Russians exhibiting outrageous behavior. ‘The first generation of our ‘new Russians’ are behaving like complete prats,‘ says Dmitry Rozogin.  
PHOTO: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev shakes hands with human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva during a session of the presidential council to support the development of civil society institutions and human rights, in Moscow’s Kremlin, November 23, 2009. (REUTERS/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool)