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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 2, 2009

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TODAY: Police arrest weekend protesters; British Foreign Secretary travels to Russia to mend relations; the Stalin question; UN Human Rights Committee urges Russian reforms; simulated attacks on Poland, Kremlin campaigning against Moscow Mayor.
At least 50 protesters were detained at a ‘Dissenters March‘ in Moscow over the weekend. Reports suggest that all detainees have now been released, having been ‘disciplined‘.  British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is in Moscow for a much-anticipated meeting with Sergei Lavrov, to attempt to work through a number of contentious issues and mend relations.  ‘Mr Miliband is not expecting miracles from this trip,‘ says The Times, whose editorial suggests that the meeting, which is the first ministerial-level bilateral visit between the two in five years, suggests a slackening of protest against the death of Alexander Litvinenko.  Russia’s UK ambassador Yuri Fedotov says recent difficulties are ‘a break in normal relations‘, citing positive trade links, but blames the UK government for ‘allow[ing] political differences to spill over into the granting of visas‘.  The mother of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has appealed to Miliband to raise her son’s case during his visit.  

There’s no question that Stalin is undergoing a sort of renaissance in Russia,‘ writes the LA Times.  Read a more detailed version of President Dmitry Medvedev’s anti-Stalin and anti-Communist comments about ‘bloodbaths‘ and ‘maimed destinies‘, made on Friday to prevent young Russians from getting a ‘lopsided‘ picture of Russia’s past.  ‘The social problems in Russia, as in other post-communist countries, are proof that simply abandoning the flawed model of a centralised economy and bureaucratic planning is not enough,‘ writes Mikhail Gorbachev.  Only 19 countries abstained from a resolution in the disarmament committee of the United Nations General Assembly that would regulate arms production, and Russia was one of them.  The UN’s Human Rights Committee has urged the Kremlin to implement a number of legal reforms that would help protect journalists, activists, and prison inmates from a wide range of abuses.  
Emerging reports that Russia staged military exercises that simulated nuclear attacks on Poland have angered the Polish public and drawn complainants to the European Commission, says the Telegraph. ‘Russia has laid bare its real intentions with respect to Poland.‘  Public attacks being levied by government officials on Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzkhov are part of a ‘campaign […] waged by pro-Kremlin forces. There is an order to hound him, but we won’t take part in this,‘ according to Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the liberal Yabloko party.  ‘We don’t want to see him removed because then they could appoint somebody who was unelected and who would do to Moscow anything the Kremlin happens to want.‘  St. Petersburg State University has eased fears that new procedures, announced last week, would constrain academic freedom.  
Russia will finally be able to operate in the .рф domain and create Cyrillic site names after the world’s governing body for Internet domain names voted to allow the use of non-Latin characters.  Pro-Putin poetry for children
PHOTO: Police detaining human rights protesters on Triumfalnaya Ploshchad on Saturday. At least 50 people were held. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP)