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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – October 14, 2009

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TODAY: Did Clinton get what she wanted?; media reports possible silence for sanctions deal; START treaty progress.  Georgia accused of abetting al-Qaida; Putin ‘satisfied’ with job.  German official castigates Medvedev for investigation into Stalin-researching historian; the man of steel’s grandson loses battle with newspaper; psychological perils of police force and military; mafia boss funeral.

According to the Moscow Times, Hillary Clinton received a ‘cool welcome’ from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the crucial issue of sanctions on Iran, with Russia still resisting.  Clinton apparently ‘brave-faced‘ it, saying, ‘we did not ask for anything today. We reviewed the situation’, and added ‘Russia has been extremely co-operative in the work we have done together’.  Reports have circulated that the US agreed to not publicly criticize Russia’s democratic shortcomings in return for cooperation on Iran.  Julian Borger in the Guardian analyzes the likelihood of this.  According to the Times, Clinton assured human rights advocates that they would continue to receive support from the US.  Reuters reports that she mentioned the slaying of journalists in her meetings with both Lavrov and Medvedev.  An ambiguous approach is how Russia manages to throw its less-than-hefty weight around, suggests an analysis in the Washington Post.


Lavrov has said ‘significant advancement’ hasbeen made regarding the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.  In a newconsideration of its nuclear weapons policy, Russia may reserve the right to a pre-emptive strike if it feels its security imperiled.  Vladimir Putin has told Chinese media that he is ‘quite satisfied with his job.  Apparently only 6% of Russians believe that Anatoly Chubais was responsible for the Sayano-Shushenskay dam disaster.  See Yulia Latynina here for more thoughts.

The Federal Security Service Chief has apparently accused Georgian intelligence agents of assisting al-Qaida.  Germany’s commissioner for the records of the former East German Secret Service has sent a letter of complaint to Dmitry Medvedev regarding the probe into the activities of an Arkhangelsk historian who is researching deportations of Soviet Germans under Stalin.  A Russian court has ruled against Josef Stalin’s grandson in his case against Novaya Gazeta.  Prominent Russian singers and writers including pop star Lolita are behind a campaign to end discrimination against gay people.

A young conscript has been found hanged in a military unit in Russia’s Far East, RFE/RL reports.  The psychological well being of the police force in the spotlight again.  Mafia boss Vyacheslav Ivankov, better known by nickname ‘Yaponchik’ has been laid to rest by a crowd of his criminal brethren.

PHOTO:  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, second left, seen during their meeting at the Barvikha residence outside Moscow, October 13, 2009. At left is U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle. Second right is Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Russia on Tuesday pushed back at U.S. efforts to threaten tough new sanctions against Iran if it fails to prove its nuclear program is peaceful, setting back the Obama administration’s desire to present a united front on the matter. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service