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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 29, 2010

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TODAY: Editor of Russian Newsweek speaks out against television news; bill submitted on tougher penalties for those who attack journalists; Wikileaks could embarrass diplomats; small-time gangsters; Olympics row with Georgia; Duma blames Stalin for Katyn.
Leonid Parfyonov, the former editor of Newsweek in Russia made a speech last week publicly accusing federal television stations of failing to provide real information, and replacing it instead with ‘PR‘; and called attention to the attack on Oleg Kashin.  The head of the Center for Political Information believes that Parfyonov’s statements must have been sanctioned by the Kremlin.  The Other Russia has a full English translation here.  The speech was followed by a new bill submitted to the Duma on tougher punishments for those who attack journalists, although many critics would prefer more stringent attention to actually catching the criminals.  ‘The understanding that journalists fulfill a vital function beneficial to the state has yet to take root in Russian society,‘ says a Vedomosti editorial.

The Wikileaks have begun, and The Guardian has transcripts: the Azerbaijani leader’s ‘coarse joke‘ about Medvedev and Putin could cause embarrassment; French and US leaders discuss Russia’s actions in Georgia; and Saudi and Russian ambassadors discuss Iran‘s nuclear plans.  Further documents thought to be poised for release supposedly involved Vladimir Putin’s relationship with Silvio Berlusconi.  A further document details the US’ Moscow embassy comments that Medvedev is a ‘pale and hesitantRobin‘ to Putin’s ‘Batman
The Guardian has a special report and accompanying photo series on Russia’s ‘small-time gangsters‘.  Olympics official Alexander Zhukov says Georgia’s complaints and proposal to move the 2014 Sochi games is ‘completely unacceptable‘ and ‘goes against the spirit of the Olympic charter, which is above politics‘.  Novaya Gazeta has been fined and forced to retract statements about corruption in the Office for Presidential Affairs. 
The Duma has officially blamed and strongly condemn[ed]‘ Stalin’s regime for the 1940 Katyn massacre in Poland. 
PHOTO: Zenit’s fans react with the trophy’s replicas after Zenit won the national soccer Championship after match against Krylia Sovetov in St.Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)