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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Oct 7, 2010

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TODAY: 4 year anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s death sees investigation extended; Putin’s birthday; Resin fast-tracked into United Russia, may stay in office; Luzkhov comments on his dismissal; human rights council advises on police reforms; Kerch strait bridge? WTO membership could remain blocked by Georgia; Duma deputy goes missing; power vertical analysis.
Today marks four years since the death of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, as investigators say they have located the source of the murder weapon and will extend the probe until February.  Today also marks Vladimir Putin’s 58th birthday, celebrated this year by Moscow State University’s journalism department with a risqué calendar.  Press speculation suggests that Moscow’s acting Mayor, Vladimir Resin, could stay in office for another two years, fueled by the news that Resin’s application to join the ruling United Russia party had been fast-tracked and processed in ‘a matter of hours‘.  Former mayor Yury Luzhkov says he was dismissed because of the upcoming 2012 elections: ‘The authorities need Moscow to support the Kremlin-proposed candidate.‘  The Audit Chamber says it has documents showing that Moscow spent its budget funds ‘at least inefficiently‘.

Brian Whitmore has some interesting commentary on the personnel policies of the President and Prime Minister and how they relate to Russia’s power structure: ‘Medvedev’s real rival in the ruling elite is not Putin but Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin.‘  The government’s human rights council has offered its amendments to President Dmitry Medvedev’s reforms for the police force, including higher salaries and opportunities for local officials and citizens to have a say in who joins the force.  Will a long-awaited and much-discussed bridge over the Kerch strait become ‘a visible signal of the rapprochement‘ between Russia and Ukraine?  Seventeen years into negotiations on Russia’s membership of the WTO, membership is thought to be close at hand, but remains blocked by issues such as timber export duties and meat imports, says RIA Novosti.  But unless the dispute over breakaway regions is resolved, Georgia will likely continue to block membership over border operations in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. 
Billionaire Aras Agalarov is having trouble buying out Voronino residents’ homes to make way for his golf course. ‘He just doesn’t understand that not everything can be bought with money.‘  State Duma Deputy Ashot Yegiazaryan has ‘disappeared‘, sparking rumors that he has fled the country.  Does the ‘untenability of the authoritarian model‘ in Venezuela hold any relevance for Russia
PHOTO: A woman places flowers near a poster of slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow in 2009. (AFP/File/Natalia Kolesnikova)