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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – October 12, 2009

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TODAY: United Russia sweep polls at regional elections; accusation of vote-rigging fly.  Mitvol receives unusual delivery.  Medvedev had no time for Yushchenko at CIS summit; positive on Obama’s peace prize; Ecuador looking for weapons deals?; Russia bids to host World Cup

With almost 90% of the votes counted in Moscow, the city’s election Committee has reported that the United Russia party has garnered 66.10% of the vote, with the Communist Party coming in second at 13.28%, sufficient for three seats in the 35-member chamber.  Vladimir Putin’s party is apparently likely to have dominated in other regions.  The Guardian reports on allegations of vote-rigging; talk of which has seen leading opposition candidates scorn Medvedev’s promise to uphold democratic procedures‘These elections are illegitimate‘, argues Boris Nemtsov.  Say it with flowers; Communist deputy Oleg Smolin delivered a funeral bouquet to Prefect Oleg Mitvol, representing the death of ‘political freedom and decency‘ in the Northern prefecture.  A Just Russia handed out comics in which the party’s Sergei Mironov was seen warding off villainy in the shape of political opponents.


Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed surprise at a statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow urging Russia to consider the security interests of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan when drawing up a new START treaty.  Medvedev has said that time constrictions meant he could not meet with Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko in Chisinau, in what the Moscow Times has described as a ‘snub’ by the President.  Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has said that he plans to discuss matters of a military nature on a visit to Russia.  Finland has apparently said that the conclusion drawn from the Russia-Georgia war is the necessity for closer ties to Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev has commented that Obama’s winning of the Nobel peace prize may add ‘further stimulus’ to bettering U.S.-Russia relations.  Vladimir Frolov suggests that Medvedev would be a worthy co-winner of the prize in an op-ed in the Moscow Times

An article in the New York Times looks at the story of Andrei Amalrik, who paid a heavy price for predicting the collapse of communism in 1969.  The Independent reports on Russian TV channel RT, which claims it does not feel deterred from showing Kremlin-challenging stories.  3000 protesters have rallied against plans to build the Gazprom tower in St Petersburg.  The indefatigable host: Russia has launched a bid to hold the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev drops his ballot into a ballot box at a polling station in Moscow, October 11, 2009. (REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Vladimir Rodionov)