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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 2, 2009

PH2009090101100.jpgTODAY: Poles riled by Russia’s take on war; conciliation comes with recrimination; Beslan families still seeking justice; Lavrov advises against freezing Iran out; Bagapsh verbal attack on Georgian ships; Gazprom tower causing friction. Tropical fish.

The Guardian reports on the historiographical clashes between Russia and Poland over World War Two.  Polish Premier Donald Tusk has said of Russian troops: ‘They gave their lives for liberation, but they didn’t bring us freedom. But we honor them too, and care for their graves’.  Whilst the Polish media is apparently in a frenzy of criticism at Russia’s response, the two heads of state are not allowing the issues to overwhelm the commemorations.  A piece by Anita Prazmowska explains why Poles may find Putin’s approach inadequate.   ‘The Poles had hoped for candor from Russia on this day of all days; instead they got historical relativism’, says the Times, referring to Putin’s comment, ‘a huge number of mistakes were made by all sides.  No Russian grovelling over Katyn; the Poles will have to make do with a joint commission to investigate the tragedy. The foreign intelligence service has released documents that it claims show that Poland plotted to destroy the Soviet Union.  The Telegraph considers why Putin’s speech is likely to chime with Russian citizens.


There is a Reuters feature on Beslan and how wounded survivors of the atrocity struggle to stay alive with limited state benefits, psychological scars, and the impression that the killers were not brought to justice‘They don’t want to investigate anything and don’t want to do anything’, said Susanna Dudiyeva, chairman of the Beslan Mothers’ Committee.

Putin has reportedly stated that democracies in the post-Soviet space are weak and their legal system ‘undetermined‘.  Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said there is no option except cooperation between the EU, the US and Russia in the Euroatlantic space.  Lavrov has also warned against isolating Iran as a method of forcing the state to abandon its nuclear program.  Abkhaz leader Sergei Bagapsh has said that Georgian ships which enter Abkhazia’s territorial waters should be destroyed.

The Gazprom tower is proving contentious as members of the banned National Bolsheviks party have attempted to protest against the skyscraper’s construction.  Overzealous customs officials have let 4,000 tropical fish destined for a Sochi oceanarium die after leaving them in the hot sun for 14 hours. 

PHOTO: Women react in the gym of the ruined school, scene of the hostage crisis, in Beslan, Russia, Sept. 1, 2009. Wailing mothers and anguished relatives on Tuesday marked the fifth anniversary of Russia’s worst terrorist attack, mourning the hundreds killed at Beslan’s School No. 1 and haunted by questions over the botched rescue attempt. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)