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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Oct 29, 2009

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TODAY: Markelov’s assassins to be arrested?  Stalin monument reports ‘baseless’; UK and Russia to try and mend relations; Russia not supplying Iran with missiles; abstinence-based AIDS strategy not working; nuclear spaceships.
Mikhail Markelov, the brother of Stanislav Markelov, the human rights lawyer murdered in January of this year, said he has conducted an investigation parallel to the official one and that those responsible for the killing are known to the authorities and will be arrested soon. ‘Not since the time of Joseph Stalin […] have the political killings [in Russia] been so blatant — or so chillingly common,‘ says the Washington Post.  Mayor Yury Luzhkov has denied ‘baseless‘ widespread reports that a monument to Stalin would be installed in the Kurskaya metro station. British foreign secretary David Miliband will visit Moscow next month in a joint effort to normalize relations.  Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov says Russia is not supplying S-300 defensive surface-to-air missile systems to Iran, but does not give especially reassuring reasons for this.  ‘Presently, there are no such supplies,‘ he was quoted as saying.  

Amidst news of a growing epidemic, International AIDS experts are urging Russia to scrap its abstinence-based strategy in favor of methadone for curbing the spread of HIV, but the country’s top epidemiologist says Russia will create its own programs rather than borrow ideas from abroad.  President Dmitry Medvedev is ‘urging‘ his cabinet to find funding to support a new proposal to build a Russian spaceship with a nuclear engine.  
In an interview to be aired in Russia this weekend, Vladimir Putin talks about his ‘personal contribution‘ to the events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  ‘What disappoints so many potential supporters is the yawning gap between Mr Medvedev’s rhetoric and his deeds,‘ says The Times.  
PHOTO: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Volkswagen CEO Martin Wintercorn riding in an electro car during their visit to the Volkswagen assembly plant in Kaluga on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / Reuters)