RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Nov 3, 2010


TODAY: Lebedev raid; Medvedev will return to the Kuril Islands, says Lavrov; ties with Norway on the mend; bomb at Athens’ Russia Embassy?  Census, Soviets, NATO meeting today.  Sobyanin continues shuffling; Lake Baikal; Medvedev and Putin work as a team, analysts say; missing artefacts, Chernomydrin dies.
The Guardian suggests that yesterday’s raid on the headquarters of Alexander Lebedev’s National Reserve Bank by masked and armed officers was designed ‘to upstage the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky‘. The BBC has a useful summary of various media responses to President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to the disputed Kuril islands, noting that all sources agree that it is a ‘major development‘ in relations with Japan.  And the row is unlikely to blow over: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the President is planning further trips to other islands in the region.  In contrast, much headway was made in Russia’s relationship with Norway this week, following a border agreement that ends a ‘four-decade dispute‘ and which could pave the way for further accord in energy exploration. Cloudy and unconfirmed reports suggest that a bomb exploded at the Russian Embassy in Athens earlier this week.  The census? What’s the point, wonders Yulia Latynina.  Russia should do more to confront its Soviet wrongdoings, says this Vedomosti opinion piece, including making judicial reforms.  Reports suggest that today’s meeting between Medvedev and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will focus on cooperation in security in Europe and Afghanistan.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin continues to reshuffle his team as he turns his attentions to the metro system.  Ecologists say that 88% of waste-water in Lake Baikal comes from the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill; the plant director says that water leaving his factory is 100% pure.  ‘[N]either Putin nor Medvedev is interested in weakening the other,‘ says this Russia analyst.  Brian Whitmore agrees, saying that, despite media speculation and feuding between their extended political camps, ‘Putin and Medvedev are on the same page‘. 
What happened to the 250,000 artefacts thought to be missing from Russia’s museumsViktor Chernomyrdin, former Prime Minister and the first head of Gazprom, has died, aged 72. 
PHOTO: An armed man in a mask stands guard near the entrance of a bank building controlled by Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev in Moscow November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Alexander Natruskin