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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 16, 2009

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TODAY: Medvedev denounces corruption as main problem in Russia, argues business mentality needs transformation, does not rule out standing at 2012 elections and hints at a possible U-turn on Iran.  NATO chief calls for closer cooperation with Russia; Medvedev suggests US was prime obstacle to WTO bid.  Military deal with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  CPJ report highlights neglect regarding unsolved journalist murders.

We are not used to saying ‘we have a dream’ in my country … but this is my political vision’:  Medvedev has promised to ‘squeeze’ corruption out of Russia with a reform program laid out at a Valdai debate club meeting.  The President also told the audience that the ‘business mentality’ needs to be changed and diversified from oligarch-controlled raw materials sales.  The President apparently took a more open line on Iran, expressing concern about the country’s nuclear program and contradicting, according to the Times, the no-sanctions stance of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, by acknowledging ‘sometimes you have to embark on sanctions and they can be right’.  The President was also ‘not ruling anything out’ as regards the 2012 election, says an AP report.  The BBC examines the ‘blood brothers’ of tandemocracy in consideration of the next presidential election.


Reports have emerged, the Washington Post relates, that Medvedev would like to meet with ‘dissidents’ on his upcoming trip to the US.  ‘Putting it bluntly, if the U.S. had not blocked it, we would long have been there – Medvedev speaks frankly about Russia’s bid to join the WTO.  According to Ria-Novosti, Russia has been labeled one of the states that could threaten US interests by the 2009 National Intelligence Strategy report.   ‘Alone together?’  An op-ed piece in the Moscow Times analyzes global power shifts – will Russia and the US be able to weather the storm?  Dark dealings indeed between Putin and Chavez, suggests Yulia Latynina in the Moscow Times

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called for ‘open-minded and unprecedented dialogue’ with Russia to alleviate security tensions in Europe.  Russia has signed defense agreements with Abkhazia and South Ossetia which will permit Moscow to keep military bases in the breakaway regions for the next 50 years.  Russia has warned Georgia that it will detain ships that enter Abkazian waters; Georgia has retorted that it will resist.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has, this week, published its report ‘Anatomy of Injustice’ which highlights the Russian government’s failure to thoroughly investigate the murders of 17 journalists in the past decade; the report places Russia as the world’s third deadliest country for the press after Iraq and Algeria.

PHOTO: PresidentMedvedev walking through Red Square as he arrives for a meeting withmembers of the Valdai group in the GUM department store, September 15, 2009.  (Natalya Kolesnikova / Reuters)