RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 17, 2009


TODAY: US to modify or jettison missile defense plans?  NATO chief to meet with Russian envoy; Lukaschenko sends out mixed messages.  South Ossetia denies book burning; think tank leader says Putin could be heading for Brehznev-style decades in power; Medvedev finds inspiration on blogosphere.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the White House may abandon the Bush-era missile defense plans which have caused consternation in Russia.  AP sources quoted on the Washington Post suggest a compromise measure, tempered to Russian concerns.  RFE/RL has an entertaining list of the ‘dissidents‘ President Medvedev might like to meet on his upcoming US trip.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Russian envoy to the alliance Dmitry Rogozin will hold an ‘extraordinary’ meeting today.  Bloomberg suggests the impetus behind NATO’s desire for increased cooperation is that of curbing nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran.  The unholy trinity: an op-ed piece by Robert Amsterdam on the Iran-Venezuela-Russia triangle is published today in the Moscow Times.  ‘It looks as though the Kremlin really does want a war between the West and Iran’ Dmitry Sidorov on RFE/RL examines the recent vicissitudes in the Kremlin’s Iran policy.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has suggested the traditional ally of Russia must move away from dependence on just one country, even one that is near and dear to us’.  The Moscow Times reports that the authoritarian leader has emphasized ties with Russia, whilst on a rare visit to EU-member state Lithuania.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has brushed off fears about security in the republic despite yesterday’s suicide bombing and a spate of recent attacks.  The Russian Foreign Minstry has said that the criminal investigationinto charges of forgery against RIA Novosti’s Tbilisi bureau chief is politically motivated.  South Ossetia has denied bonfire-style burning of Georgian books and other classic works at the state university.  An op-ed contributor in the Moscow Times is disturbed by what makes it onto Russian bookshelves.

The head of the Institute for Contemporary Development, a think-tank which advises President Medvedev, has suggested that it is not altogether improbable that Putin may become a Soviet-style leader à la Brezhnev, should he run for President again.  Medvedev keeps up with the times, proposing that the government look into a blogger’s suggestions for Russian economic development.

PHOTO: The island of Big Diomede sits inthe morning mist on the Russian side of the Bering Strait as seen fromthe Russian research vessel Professor Khromov, August 28, 2009. A jointU.S.-Russian oceanographic expedition, the Russian-American Long-termCensus of the Arctic (RUSALCA), is studying the impact of climatechange on the waters from Alaska’s coast to Russia’s eastern tip.Picture taken August 28, 2009.  (REUTERS/Jeffrey Jones)