RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 1, 2009


TODAY: 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two – officials meet in Gdansk for carve up of history; Putin acknowledges ‘immoral’ treaty and Katyn suffering; NATO receptive to plans for Russian defense; Stalin’s grandson sues for libel; Other Russia leader detained; Arctic Sea carrying weapons?; five-year anniversary of Beslan.
‘We meet here to remember who started the war, who the culprit was, who the executioner in the war was, and who was the victim of this aggression’, says Polish premier Donald Tusk in Gdansk.  Reuters has a preview on the anniversary service – quoting a poll from Rzeczpospolita newspaper which says that most Poles believe that Russia carries equal responsibility for the outbreak of the war.  Is Putin big enough to say sorry? wonders an article in the Independent.  A conciliatory tone has been noted in the article written by Putin for Gazeta Wyborcza in which he slams the ‘immoral’ 1939 non-aggression pact, but calls it ‘analogous’ to other pacts being made at the time, referring to France and Britain’s Munich treaty in 1938.  The Russian Prime Minister also asserts that future cooperation should not be jeopardised by talk of the past.  Former Polish prime minister Leszek Miller has warned Poland against rejecting Putin’s olive branch (if there is one.)  The Independent is sceptical about Putin’s take on WW2.

Russia will make public a number of documents pertaining to Poland’s foreign and domestic policies between 1935 and 1945.  Stalin’s grandson is seeking $299,000 from the Novaya Gazeta over an article which said that the dictator ordered murders of citizens.

NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has expressed an ‘open mind’ regarding  plans to tighten up security through a Russian-led defense alliance to defuse tensions between Russia and the West.  Time magazine wonders if the Arctic Sea was carrying weapons to Iran:a theory supported by the European Union’s rapporteur on piracy,Admiral Tarmo Kouts.  Dmitry Rogozin has vociferously denied theseclaims.

The Other Russia coalition group says it intends to stage a March of Dissent rally in Moscow today.  Opposition leader Eduard Limonov has been detained for his part in organizing the event.  The Moscow Times reports that almost 60% of black and African people living in Moscow have been beaten in racist attacks.  Many live in sequestered conditions for fear of assault, says the BBC.  Medvedev hits youtube.

Another somber memory for today:  Russia also commemorates the five-year anniversary of the Beslan school siege in which 344 people were killed.

PHOTO:  The grave of a Polish officer, Henryk Sucharski, killed at the start of the Second World War, near Gdansk, August 31, 2009.  (REUTERS)