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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – October 19, 2009

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TODAY: Russia emulating Chinese Communist Party?  Protesters march against disputed election results in Tver; last two private television channels to come under state control. Moscow residents celebrate new ad restrictions, Northeast Passage, FC MVD, monotowns.
United Russia is ‘increasingly examining how it can emulate the Chinese Communist Party[‘s…] ability to use a one-party system to keep tight control over the country while still driving significant economic growth,‘ says the New York Times, alleging that the two parties held a secret how-to meeting this month.  ‘Even routine domestic economic decisions in Russia are increasingly made with a consideration for China,‘ adds the Moscow Times.  Communist Party activists demonstrated against alleged violations in recent nationwide elections outside Vladimir Putin’s Tver residence over the weekend. The Kremlin’s political chief, Vladislav Surkov, has told ruling party activists ‘not to be ashamed‘ of their ‘well deserved‘ victory (‘another phony, Soviet-style election,‘ says the Washington Post; a ‘mockery‘ of democracy, says Gorbachev).  Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin’s vote was not counted at Moscow Polling Station No. 192, his party alleges.  News that Russia’s two remaining private TV channels (REN TV and St Petersburg’s Fifth Channel) are to come under state control next year has sparked angry responses.  ‘Russians won’t be able to find alternative views to state propaganda. We are returning to the Soviet regime and Soviet model,‘ according to one journalist. 

Could the Northeast Passage, which runs along Russia’s northern coasts, be a political gateway?  ‘There could be no better way for President Obama and European leaders to build ties with Moscow than to recognize Russia’s concerns about its national security in the High North with concessions,‘ says the New York Times.  Badri Afanasyev, a former Georgian television producer, is seeking political asylum in Russia on grounds of of harassment for his opposition contacts. 
Moscow residents are celebrating a new amendment to the federal law on advertising that guarantees them a say on whether ads can appear on their buildings.  Russian Black Sea Fleet commanders aren’t pleased about spot checks by Ukrainian traffic police.  On the ‘monotowns‘ that are reportedly threatening Russia with ‘a serious breakdown of authority‘.  The Guardian documents the rise and fall of FC MVD, the football team of Russia’s police force.  
PHOTO: Russian Fashion Week begins in Moscow today. (Source: Artefact via the Moscow Times)