RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 21, 2009


TODAY: Obama firm on reasons for missile defense decision; Medvedev and Putin seem to take it as a positive sign; Putin wishes to see trade the next barrier broken; Russia will abandon Kaliningrad missile plans.  Pressure mounting regarding Iran situation; Israel apparently promises Medvedev no attack on Ahmadinejad regime.  Top cleric murdered in Ingushetia; disappearances abound.
Barack Obama is still arguing the independence of his decision on missile defense saying, ‘the Russians don’t make determinations about what our defense posture is,’ but if they are ‘less paranoid‘ as a result, than can be considered a ‘bonus’.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has reiterated this position in an article in the New York Times.  Medvedev sees otherwise: the fact that they are listening to us is an obvious signal that we should also attentively listen to our partners, our American partners’.  RFE/RL has a comment piece on Russian ‘self delusion’ about Obama’s motives.  Prime Minister Putin has called the move ‘correct and brave’ and sees trade as the next area in which he would like see a similar decision, with support for Russia’s joint WTO bid.  Russia will scrap its plans to deploy missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave now that the US has changed tack.  Medvedev believes that the chances that arms reduction negotiations can be completed by the end of the year are ‘quite high’.

In an interview with CNN, Dmitry Medvedev has said that Israel had promised Russia not to attack Iran, a scenario that he called ‘the worst thing that can be imagined’.  The President confirmed that Israeli President ShimonPeres had made a ‘secret’ trip to Moscow.  According to Ria-Novosti, the Israeli President has said that Medvedev made a promise to ‘reconsiderthe sales of S-300s because itaffects the delicate balance which exists in the Middle East’.  Medvedev has said that ‘positive motivation’,should be used on Iran, rather than sanctions.  The Telegraph suggests that BarackObama is hoping to forge a deal with Russia for those very sanctions at next week’s meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.  NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen hopes that ‘Russia will join us in putting maximumpolitical and diplomatic pressure on Iran to stop Iran’s nuclearaspirations’.

Envoy Dmitry Rogozin has welcomed the efforts of Rasmussen regarding a ‘new beginning’ in relations as very positive.  Rasmussen has apparently suggested linking U.S., NATO and Russian missile defense systems.  An op-ed piece in Moscow Times argues that such an initiative would be riddled by security and technological problems.

Apparently Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko will try to alert Barack Obama to the threat that Russia, he believes, still poses to the stability of eastern European, as evinced by the war in Georgia.  Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has condemned the murder of a prominent Muslim cleric.  The Guardian reports on the chilling story of disappearances in the troubled republic.  See Mikhail Khordorkovsky through artists’ eye here.

PHOTO: In this photo taken on Sept. 19, 2009, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin andJean-Claude Killy, the chairman of IOC coordination commission for theSochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, look at a West Asian leopard asthey visit the National Park in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southernRussia. As part of the ecological program launched in preparation forSochi 2014, the park will breed the big cats and later release themback into the wild.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin)