RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Sept 1, 2010


TODAY: Dozens of Strategy 31 protesters detained in Moscow; EU officials criticize handling of rally; middle classes not interested in investigative reporting, says journalist; FSB declares leaders’ incomes; Latynina blames Communists for bad traffic; Russian Embassy in Minsk hit with molotov cocktails; Kremlin tweet row. 
As expected, Strategy 31 protesters ignored the Triumfalnaya Square construction and rallied yesterday, despite a reported 1,000-strong police presence (to an estimated 400-2,000 protesters, depending on your source – the Moscow police count the lowest, Kasparov.ru the highest).  Opposition sources say that around 100 people were detained in Moscow, and RIA Novosti counts almost 200, although it includes St Petersburg activists in its tally.  ‘Several activists were seen with bloody faces after having been beaten by law enforcement agents.‘  EU officials who joined the Moscow rally (including Heidi Hautala and Thjis Berman) criticized the police for their violent dealings with protesters, and said that the detention of Boris Nemtsov violated of his rights.  Probably not the best PR to bring about the visa-free travel regime with the EU that Vladimir Putin wants.  ‘This is an amazing way of dealing with democracy, shocking,Hautala said.  The European Court of Human Rights has begun considering a claim on Moscow authorities’ possible violations of the right to freedom of assembly.  RFE/RL looks at August’s wave of protests and opposition victories, citing Yevgenia Chirikova, Noize MC, Yury Shevchuk, and blogger Dr. Liza.

This report suggests that the middle class appetite for investigative journalism in Russia is ‘very low‘.  The FSB, after an initial refusal, has released income declarations for its leading members; the Moscow Times counts apartments and luxury cars.  ‘Anti-graft activists said much of officials’ wealth may still be hidden from the public as the rules do not require them to disclose corporate ownership.‘  Yulia Latynina blames the Communists for Moscow’s daily traffic jams.  Russia’s embassy in Belarus was hit with two molotov cocktails on Monday night, ‘destroying an embassy car‘.  
The Twitter-savvy Kremlin have been receiving online reprimands from the President for tweeting during State Council sessions. 
PHOTO: Opposition party supporters take part in an unauthorized protest rally to defend Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation in Moscow August 31, 2010. (RIA Novosti. Alexei Kudenko)