TODAY: Russia planning naval expansion; Putin praises Tajik military base; Belarus accuses Russia of funding opposition; Merkel spiky ahead of talks; Lavrov supports UN statement on N Korea; Wikileaks to expose corrupt politicians? World Cup and Winter Olympics; EU court fines Russia over Chechen deaths; START is ‘irrelevant’; NGO says violence against women on the rise.
President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed Russia’s interest in expanding its global naval presence
, and hinted that plans are already in the works. ‘We need to do complicated political and diplomatic work … so that [our bases] are seen by [other countries] as a reinforcement of their own image, their own security.
‘ Diplomatic work such as Vladimir Putin’s praise of Russia’s military base in Tajikistan
as ‘a serious sign of mutual confidence
‘, perhaps? The Belarusian President has accused Russia of bankrolling its opposition
. ‘We know it. We have evidence.
‘ Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s trip to Germany has seen unexpectedly spiky developments
: Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that Putin’s German newspaper article
, in which he denounced a new EU energy package, contradicted his aim to create a free trade zone between Europe and Russia; she also criticized protectionist Russian trade measures (‘import duties are being repeatedly raised without warning
‘) and the CIS customs union. Meanwhile the threat that EU visas could be denied to 60 officials implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky could face ‘harsh retaliation
‘ if it goes forward. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is reportedly hoping that the UN security Council will issue a statement
condemning North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island.
reviews BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents: The Primorsky Partisans (listen here
), which tells the story of a rare instance of villagers’ violent resistance to official corruption in a remote Russian territory. Following a lawsuit filed by the Interior Ministry, The New Times has been ordered to retract an article
accusing a riot police unit of corruption. The US must ratify START
, says the FT, arguing that the costs of further delay are too high. START? Who cares?, says the Washington Post
: ‘The problem is never the weapon; it is the nature of the regime controlling the weapon.
Non-government organization Anna released a report to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women yesterday, which indicated that domestic and police violence against women
and children in Russia are rising. A Soyuz Russia-US space mission has safely landed
in Kazakhstan. The New York Times
has a nice piece on the life of Leo Tolstoy, marking this week’s centennial of his death.
PHOTO: An image taken from a video released by the Russian website V1.RU shows a frame of an anti-terrorist cartoon, which was created five years ago on a state tender from Russia’s FSB security service and the Krasnoyarsk region administration in Siberia.The FSB has created an unexpected Internet hit by launching a series of black humour anti-terror cartoons. (AFP)