RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 24, 2010


TODAY: Opposition parties struggle to register for elections; allegations that Grzylov violated income declaration; police semantics cause confusion; protester-beating policeman deemed ‘impolite’; Medvedev suggests using Miranda rule equivalent.  Activists in Moscow courts; Iran calls Russian S-300 volte-face humiliating; Russia offers Poland Katyn files; Vice President of Abkhazia attacked

According to Central Elections Commission statistics, apparently more than half of the independent candidates who were planning to run in the October 10 elections for six regional legislatures have been denied registration.  The opposition party Yabloko is calling for an investigation into the earnings of State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov on suspicions that he failed to comply with income declaration requirements.  United Russia’s failure to come the defense of its co-founder, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov (aside from its Moscow contingent) could be the ruin of the power structure the party seeks to protect, argues one analyst in Bloomberg.  As part of an initiative to quash police corruption, President Medvedev has suggested that Russia employ a law akin to the US’ Miranda rule, which requires police to inform suspects of their rights.  In an online discussion of the revised police bill citizens have reportedly complained that changing the name of law enforcement agency from ‘militsia’ to ‘politsiya’ is too confusing.  Some would call the actions of ‘Pearl Ensign’, the officer who assaulted Strategy 31 protesters, police brutality; apparently St Petersburg police call it ‘impolite’ and ‘not tactful’.

The Moscow Times reports from two cases against opposition voices being heard in the capital: firstly, the case of Khimki forest-demolishing construction company Teplotekhnik against 11 environmental activists; secondly a defamation lawsuit city police have filed against the Noviye Izvestia newspaper over allegations that police beat Rechnik residents as they resisted the demolition of their homes.  A Russian woman has posted a Youtube video calling on US citizens to come to the aid of 2,000 citizens in the city of Izhevsk who apparently risk losing their homes.

Iranian defense minister General Ahmad Vahidi has stated that Russia risks humiliation over its decision to scrap the selling of S-300 as it is evidence of capitulation to international pressure.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has attempted to bridge the gap, claiming there is no proof that Iran is working toward the creation of nuclear weapons.   

Russia has provided Poland with more files relating to the contentious tragedy, the 1940 Katyn massacre.  ‘[I]n order to please Russia’, Poland initiated his extradition procedure, says Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev in an RFE/RL interview.  The vice president of Abkhazia has been wounded in a grenade attack at his home.  Agitator Gennady Yanayev, who briefly declared himself acting President of the Soviet Union during an unsuccessful 1991 coup attempt, has died at the age of 73.

PHOTO: Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, left, walking with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Prince Albert II of Monaco at the Arctic forum. (Mikhail Metzel / AP)