RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 23, 2010


TODAY: Russia will respect weapons sanctions against Iran, but sees no end to military cooperation; Clinton pushing for closer ties with NATO.  Russian youth death rate highest in Europe; second opposition coalition forms. Fears surface about ethnic tensions in Kyrgyzstan; car-free day marred by traffic jams; Putin’s nature show

President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree banning all sales of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran as well as the export of tanks, aircraft and sea vessels to the nation in acceptance of the latest round of UN sanctions.  President Obama has praised the long-hoped-for decision.  Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has pledged that this will not put a halt to military cooperation between Tehran and Moscow.  US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council that the US and Russia are not ‘adversaries’ and that renewed cooperation between the treaty organization and the Kremlin is to be strived for, particularly on the issues of missile defense in Europe and the CFE treaty, which Russia opted out of three years ago.  How convinced is Russia? wonders RFE/RL.

President Medvedev has advocated the creation of a unified entity for ‘breakthrough research’ in the defense sector.  Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has expressed hope that Kiev’s choice to pursue EU membership will not have a negative impact on ‘very close’ relations with Russia.  The New York Times reports on Poland’s complaints that Russia’s investigation into the April plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski has been inadequate.

According to recent reports by the World Health Organization, Russia has the worst record in Europe and Central Asia on homicides of young people, as well as the world’s highest youth suicide rate.  A second group of opposition politicians have followed the example of the ‘For Russia without Tyranny or Corruption‘ coalition by forming the ‘Russian Opposition‘ coalition.  Click here for an interview with Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s mother, Marina Khodorkovskaya, on RFE/RL.

The Moscow Times reportson a group of Ethiopian ex-fighter pilots eking out an existence in racially tense Kyrgyzstan.  Apparently the Russian embassy has voiced concerns aboutthe safety of ethnic Russians living in the country, citing internecine violence.  Congested Moscow has participated in World Carfree Day for the third year running, but the day’s traffic jams were apparently more acute than usual.  Today’s Moscow Times notes the oddness of Vladimir Putin’s apparent love for mega fauna, (evinced by numerous photo ops, as well as his paean to whales in Russian Pioneer magazine) when environmentalists would argue the Prime Minister has ridden roughshod over some of the country’s natural marvels.  Those who have elected to cycle round Khimki forest in protest against its destruction for the Moscow-St Petersburg highway, would doubtless also note that irony.

PHOTO: President Dmitry Medvedev visiting an aviation equipment plant in Ramenskoye, outside Moscow, on Wednesday, September 22, 2010. (Mikhail Klimentyev / RIA-Novosti / AP)