RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – October 5, 2009


TODAY: Lavrov keeps eagle eye on Georgia; Netanyahu’s fears about Russian rogue scientists; Chubais takes the fall for hydropower plant disaster.  Litvinenko widow despairs over apparent British moves towards rapprochement.  Luzhkov-Baturina to take Nemtsov to court. UN report pessimistic on Russia’s demographic decline; Ban Ki-moon voices approval for ecological care.
According to the Moscow Times, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says that Russia will survey shipping in the Black Sea to monitor Georgian ‘provocations’ which are a ‘serious concern’.  Jorg Himmelreich in the International Herald Tribune suggests that much analysis of last year’s Georgia-Russia conflict has overlooked the crucial matter of President Bush’s Georgia policy.  Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko says that he believes that the ratification of the Lisbon treaty would benefit Russian-EU relations, Ria-Novosti reports.  Maintaining predominance in energy issues, protecting trade: the Washington Post looks at Russia’s reasons to play nice with Iran.  The Times reports that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s fly-by-night visit to Moscow was to present the Kremlin with a list of Russian scientists who are helping Iran to make a nuclear warhead.

Following the Rostekhnadzor probe into the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower station disaster, the head of now defunct electricity company UES, Anatoly Chubais, has taken responsibility for the safety failures, having signed an acceptance certificate in 2000.  According to Reuters, it is unclear whether Chubais and the five others inculpated will be prosecuted over the tragedy.

The widow of Alexander Litvinenko is apparently ‘deeply dismayed’ that British Foreign Secretary David Miliband will make a trip to Russia.  The BBC has the lowdown on Russia’s unsolved murders.  The rewards of having Soviet contacts: the Washington Post reports on gun shot survivor Paul Joyal who believes he was imperiled by close ties with a former KGB agent.  One time British Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s Soviet connections won him the dubious honor of a permanent MI5 dossier, says an article in the Times.

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov and his wife Yelena Baturina are reportedly suing opposition activist Boris Nemtsov for libel, over his most recent publication ‘Luzhkov: the Results’, which apparently suggests that Baturina’s ascendancy in the world of property was directly linked to her marriage.  A Moscow Court has thrown out a lawsuit filed by gay activists against the mayor for using derogatory terms to describe homosexuals.

Nervous fliers take note: hard liquor may soon be banned in airports.  A UN report says that by 2025 Russia could see the population drop by a further 11 million people.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is reportedly ‘encouraged‘ to see that Russia has decided not to locate Olympic facilities in Sochi in an environmentally-protected area.

PHOTO: Mayor Luzhkov speaking at a crisis-themed news conference, October 2, 2009. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP)