RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – October 13, 2009


TODAY: Clinton in town looking for answers on Iran, will meet Lavrov and Medvedev; Rogozin refuses to be out-twittered; United Russia confirmed to have powered through regional elections.  New book ‘Without Putin’ by Mikhail Kasyanov sheds light on Khodorkovsky case; St Petersburg hopes to extend outwards (but not upwards?)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to lean on Russia to support sanctions against Iran should international talks regarding the country’s nuclear program prove unsuccessful.  Encouraging signs are reported in Ria-Novosti, with Foreign Minister Lavrov hoping that talks will be ‘fruitful’.  The Washington Post quotes one analyst who suggests, ‘things do not look as good today as they did a week ago’, with no guarantees from the Kremlin.  The head of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces has said that Russia would deploy multiple-warhead missiles in December, coinciding with the expiration of the START treaty.  Russia’s security chief has accused Georgia of backing terrorist operations in the North Caucasus.  American prosecutors apparently met with Federal Security Service to verify the possible terrorist connections of a defunct charity.  Never one for mincing words, Dmitry Rogozin has opened a Twitter account, upon learning that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has one.

United Russia has been declared the major victor in the regional elections.  Medvedev has commented that the party’s success ‘proves its authority’.  Some would disagree: Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Dagestani President Mukhu Aliyev have been beset with claims from the opposition and senior party officials that the elections were riddled with fraud.  Luzhkov has rebuffed pre-election suggestions that he may resign.

On the subject of Alexander Podrabinek’s harassment at the hands of the Nashi youth, Vladimir Ryzhkov in the Moscow Times laments that ‘criticism of the Soviet Union has suddenly become tantamount to criticism of Russia’RFE/RL has an article on the new book by Mikhail Kasyanov, ex-Prime Minister-turned-opposition figure, in which he describes his opposition to Putin’s handling of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.  The BBC reports on the disturbing treatment of the disabled in Russia.

The Governor of St. Petersburg has asked that the boundary of the city be extended into the Gulf of Finland.  Residents of the town have been temporarly victorious in their fight to stop a local park being turned into a residential development.  Sotheby’s and Christie’s International are offering $31 million of Russian art at upcoming auctions, hoping that the country’s superwealthy have resumed their spending habits. 

PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton seenduring her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov inMoscow, Russia, October 13, 2009. Clinton was meeting with Russianleaders on Tuesday to urge their support in pressuring Iran to proveits nuclear program is peaceful. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, Pool)