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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Oct 30, 2009

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TODAY: Russia’s Day of Remembrance for victims of political repression, Medvedev speaks out against justification of Stalin’s acts; ‘Romaphobia’; election fraud case opened in Irkutsk; officers prepare for angry pensioners; grocery-store gambling. 
October 30 is Russia’s day of remembrance for the victims of political repression, marked this year by a ceremony to remember the victims of Stalin’s ‘Great Purge’, and insistence from President Dmitry Medvedev that attempts to justify repressions during the Stalinist regime under the pretext of ultimate state interests are unacceptable.  The deputy prosecutor of Makhachkala, in the republic of Dagestan, has been killed.  Moscow’s Human Rights bureau wants Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov to apologize for ‘Romaphobic‘ comments, although one commentator suggests that such sentiments are so widespread among Russians that a retraction would be unlikely.  ‘Military exercises need a notional enemy and, from Russia’s point of view, NATO is the obvious choice,‘ says The Economist.  Medvedev demonizes NATO on grounds that ‘its missiles are pointed at Russia‘…Missiles? What missiles?, wonders The Moscow Times.  ‘Talk of a “new Cold War” is a grotesque exaggeration. Russia[n] foreign policy is based on a cautious assessment of its national interest,‘ says the former British Ambassador to Moscow.  

A criminal case has been opened against 10 members of the local election commission in Irkutsk’s Oblast region following widespread accusations of fraud.  Interior Ministry officers tested out new rally-dispersing techniques in an exercise that saw a group of protesting pensioners dispersed with ‘water, tear gas and stun grenades‘, although the Ministry later insisted that ‘[special equipment] is not generally used in practice, except for psychological influence‘.  Grocery-store gambling is one offshoot of a legal loophole that has left the gambling industry thriving long after it was banned by the federal government.  
Russia views U.S. Security Adviser Jim Jones’ visit to discuss nuclear proliferation and the implementation of a new START treaty as a success, and results are to be presented in Singapore next month, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t disagreements over missile defense, stockpiled weapons and delivery vehicles, says the New York Times.  
PHOTO: Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)