RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Oct 28, 2009

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TODAY: Putin protest achieves results; Medvedev on election fraud; academic publishing rules to come into force; CIS in a mess; court case brought against human rights activist Orlov; AIDS epidemic, Stalin PR, and a bizarre gift for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Unpaid Russian workers from bankrupt KD Avia staged a protest in Kaliningrad to coincide with a visit by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday, which supposedly stirred Putin to order the region’s governor to pay compensation.  President Dmitry Medvedev has more clearly acknowledged ‘irregularities‘ and ‘problems‘ with this month’s election results, and instructed Central Elections Commission chief Vladimir Churov to review the issues and make sure that any complaints were heard in court, although reports suggest that these apparent concessions will affect only future elections, and not the recent election results.  Click here for the Kremlin-approved meeting notes.  St. Petersburg professors are worried that a new rule about academic publishing ‘could be applied selectively to penalize faculty members […] whose work was critical of the Russian government.‘  RFE/RL writes on the possible motives behind the conflicting agendas of Vladislav Surkov.  

Russia, India and China have agreed to leverage their status as developing giants to make the international governance structure friendlier to emerging markets.  Planned concrete measures to support this aim are not reported.  Only 6 of the remaining 11 CIS country leaders attended its most recent meeting, and two of them (Belarus and Ukraine) were snubbed by Medvedev, says this columnist, who says the non-event ‘solidifie[s Russia’s] reputation as an unreliable and unpredictable partner.
Less than a week after the European Union awarded him its Sakharov Prize, a criminal libel case carrying possible prison time has been opened against Memorial chairman Oleg Orlov, on behalf of the president of Chechnya.  ‘Maksharip Aushev’s killing might very well be linked to the issue of whether to initiate criminal proceedings in Moscow against the Zyazikov administration for embezzlement of state funds,‘ says Yulia Latynina. The head of the International Aids Society says that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia is now out of control, according to a BBC report.  Russia is reportedly planning a huge PR campaign to improve its (and Stalin’s) image.  The Booker prize shortlist has been announced…but only in Russia.  A Russian sculptor is casting a bronze bust of Vladimir Putin as a gift for Arnold Schwarzenegger – a gift commissioned by the Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation. 
PHOTO: Russian sculptor Alexander Chernoschekov works on a plasticine model of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s bust in St. Petersburg on October 18. (AFP/File/Kirill Kudryavtsev)