RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Oct 27, 2009


TODAY: Modernization faces institutional problems; Stalin memorial opposed by rights activists; terrorist death compensation to be brought in line with Europe; Lavrov in India; polygamy, divorce, Nashi, mushrooms.
The ‘fizzling‘ outcome of weekend talks in the Kremlin with opposition parties about election fraud, and Dmitry Medvedev’s lip-service to the progress of democracy, ‘seemed to give credence to skeptics’ claims that the Duma walkout was a Kremlin-orchestrated affair,‘ says the Moscow Times.  Modernization in Russia is only impossible because oligarchs, wealthy Russians, and most of the ruling elite, aren’t interested, says Vladimir Ryzhkov.  His view is confirmed by an article by Kremlin Deputy Chief of Staff Vladislav Surkov, saying that liberal reforms would cause Russia to collapse into chaos.  A Moscow architect’s claims that he wants to return the Kurskaya metro station to its original appearance by reinstating a monument to Stalin is not going down well with rights activists, so new plans have been devised to add a counter-balancing bit of verse praising Lenin.  

Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said his ministry was working on legislation to bring compensation levels for those injured or killed in terrorist attacks in line with European levels, marking the seventh anniversary of the Dubrovka theatre siege.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Bangalore yesterday for a meeting with his Indian and Chinese counterparts focused on strengthening ties.  Dmitry Medvedev has emphasized the need for quality in Russia’s defense systems, and that upgrading weapons systems (to the tune of $15 billion) will be the military’s focus after it completes is re-structuring.  
The fight to legalize polygamy in Siberia is reportedly backed by men and women, and driven by falling population and economic hardship. ‘Women say that the legalisation of polygamy would be a godsend: it would give them rights to a man’s financial and physical support, legitimacy for their children, and rights to state benefits.‘  
More on Nashi’s legal action against foreign newspapers including Britain’s The Independent and France’s Le Monde.  What’s the cost of an oligarch divorce?  Around $150 million… And the New York Times writes on the danger that is…mushroom season.  
PHOTO: India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna (centre) welcomes Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bangalore on October 27. (AFP/Dibyangshu Sarkar)