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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Oct 13, 2010

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TODAY: 30 detained (including Pomonarev) at unsanctioned Moscow rally; Medvedev appoints human rights council replacement, consults with rock stars over Moscow mayor; Pavlovsk seed bank auction postponed; Schwarzenegger on traffic jams; Lavrov on Kyrgyzstan; UK to seek to mend ties as Lugovoi urges ‘move on’ from Litvinenko case; Russian no longer compulsory in Georgia; Caucasian Stonehenge?
An unsanctioned Moscow rally of ‘several hundred people‘ demanding elections for regional governor posts saw 30 detentions, says RFE/RL, including another one for Lev Pomonarev, who was arrested twice last month. President Dmitry Medvedev has named Mikhail Fedotov the new head of his human rights council: a replacement for Ella Pamfilova, who resigned two months ago (and who, says RIA Novosti, approves of the new appointment).  Fedotov, a journalist and lawyer, apparently wants to focus on Russian society’s positive portrayal of Stalin.  The auction of the grounds housing the Pavlovsk seed bank has been postponed, thanks to environmental campaigners and the support of President Medvedev, who told the manager of Pavlovsk to ‘stick to his guns‘.  Brian Whitmore writes on the need for the Kremlin to get its Moscow Mayor posting right if it wants to avoid ‘clan warfare and chaos‘.  Perhaps this explains why Medvedev is consulting with rock musicians on the next appointment.  Boris Nemtsov has co-authored a report that ‘scathingly criticizes‘ former mayor Yury Luzhkov. 

In anticipation of a Russia visit from the British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Andrei Lugovoi said it was time for Britain to ‘move on‘ from its attempts to extradite him over the death of Alexander Litvinenko, and stop making ‘noisy and unhelpful public statements‘ (click for audio).  Hague is apparently on a mission to restore healthy ties between the two, but Britain ‘is not going to say we give up on the Lugovoi case for the sake of business‘.  Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested that the new Mayor focus on the city’s traffic jams to ensure the safety of the environment.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expressing ‘concerns over Kyrgyzstan’s ‘sharp transformation to the form of parliamentary government‘ following its elections earlier this week, for which a recount has been scheduled.  Lavrov emphasized that a ‘stable Kyrgyz government‘ was required before Russia would be able to establish relations.
Greenpeace is predicting an industrial waste accident for Russia this winter.  Signifying an attempt to break with Russia’s influence, Georgia is phasing out the study of Russian in its schools, making it optional (and making English compulsory).  An archaeologist is claiming to have found a 2,600-year-old Caucasian Stonehenge
PHOTO: Police detain an opposition party supporter during an unauthorized protest rally in central Moscow, October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Mikhail Voskresensky