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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – October 7, 2009

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TODAY: Third anniversary of the killing of Anna Politkovskaya; Kadyrov wins his lawsuit against Memorial, launches another.  Gay marriage bid rejected; critical posters displayed around Moscow.  Medvedev gets his new speech writer; no independence recognition trade-off with Turkey; Russia denies its scientists are helping Iran with bomb.

Three years on from the slaying of Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta editor Sergei Sokolov says that new suspects have emerged in the murder case.  Russia has denied visas to two members of Reporters without Borders, who planned a trip to Russia for the anniversary of the journalist’s death.  The move has been criticized by her son Ilya Politkovskaya.  K. Anthony Appiah in the Washington Post laments the fact that in Russia the ‘pursuit of investigative journalism carries an informal death penalty’.  Ramzan Kadyrov has won his case against Memorial head Oleg Orlov, who has been told to pay symbolic damages and retract his accusation that the Chechen President was involved in the murder of Natalia Estemirova.  Kadyrov has also filed a new libel suit against Novaya Gazeta, for an article which linked him to the murder of former bodyguard Umar Israilov.  The Moscow Arbitration Court has ignored a defamation lawsuit filed by Elena Baturina against opposition figure Boris Nemtsov because it was filed improperly.


RFE/RL looks at the difficulties of cleaning up the police when corruption is ‘endemic through Russia’.  More than 6,000 criminal cases involving corruption hit the courts in the first half of this year, writes the Moscow Times.  According to a Ria-Novosti report, Russia is not yet ready to introduce the death penalty for drug dealers.  A Moscow court has ruled against two lesbians seeking to become Russia’s first legally married gay couple.  A wave of subvertizing has hit Moscow.

President Dmitry Medvedev has appointed a new speechwriter, Eve Vasilevskaya.  Is Anatoly Chubais taking the fall for the creaky Soviet infrastructure and problematic economic policy that facilitated the Sayano-Shushenskaya accident?  Yulia Latynina in the Moscow Times suggests the failure to apportion blame is why the EU report on the war in Gerogia has proved unedifiying reading.

RFE/RL reports that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected an offer from Turkey to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia in return for Russia acknowledging the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.  Russia apparently plans to develop military and technical cooperation with Iran, but strictly adhering to international agreements.   According to Ria-Novosti, Moscow has rejected the notion that Russian scientists are implicated in the developments of nuclear weapons in Iran.

PHOTO: Ilya Politkovsky, left, son of murdered Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and Vera, daughter of Anna Politkovskaya, seen at a news conference in Moscow, October 6, 2009. Three years after their mother was shot dead, the son and daughter of Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya say they have little hope the killers will be brought to justice, despite an announcement that new suspects have been found. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)