RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – September 3, 2009

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TODAY: Russia looks for greater role in Afghan war; Ingush president pleads for vigilance.  Opposition ousted from Moscow race; Rushydro bans reporter; piracy expert flees; war on drinking.

Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has warned that a new wave of suicide bombings could be imminent, and has urged citizens to help in the fight against terrorism.  The President warned that ‘several suicide terrorists have arrived in the republic’ in a televised address.  Lev Ponomaryov, from For Human Rights, has told journalists that Russia is using illegal ‘death squads in the Caucasus.  Tensions are flaring over Sergei Bagapsh’s threat to destroy Georgian ships entering Abkazian waters, with Tsibili responding that the waters belong to Georgia and any attack upon them would be considered the responsibility of Russia.  Georgia has denied entry to two Russian journalists.  Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has announced that he is stepping down as acting leader; leaving the pro-Western opposition parties to elect a chosen candidate as head of state.

Bloomberg reports that Russia is seeking greater involvement in NATO’s increasingly difficult war in Afghanistan.  Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen apparently received this suggestion with an ‘approving nod’.  An op-ed piece in the Moscow Times examines why victory in Afghanistan is so crucial to Russia.

Four opposition candidates claim that they have been prevented from entering the race for the Moscow city Duma as a result of mistakes in their application papers; a move deemed ‘absolutely politically motivated’ by one of the barred politicians.  Rushydro has banned an interfax reporter from the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant on the basis of ‘incompetence’; the journalist claims it was his refusal to allow the company to edit his stories.  Piracy expert Mikhail Voitenko, who suggested that there were political shades to the Arctic Sea case, has fled Russia on account of his interpretation of events, says the Moscow Times.

RFE/RL reports on the 1 million workers leaving Tajikistan to find work in Russia.  ‘The Russian man will always be drinking. Russians don’t surrender’: the Los Angeles Times considers Medvedev’s thankless task, trying to get Russians to give up the bottle.  The Sochi oceanarium will sue local customs officials over the deaths of half a million dollar’s worth of exotic fish from China.

PHOTO: Mikhail Voitenko discussing the Arctic Sea case at a news conference, August 18, 2009 He flew to Istanbul on September 2.  (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP)