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RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – Feb 4, 2010

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TODAY: Memorial nominated for Nobel Peace Prize; Medvedev’s think-tank releases report demanding political reform; Kasparov interview; Moscow home-razing to continue? Putin invites Polish PM to remembrance ceremony; RIA Novosti denies support of Russia Today. Eutelstat.
Svetlana Gannushkina and her human rights group Memorial have been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize (along with the Internet).  The Institute of Contemporary Development, the Moscow-based think-tank headed by Dmitry Medvedev, has published its report on modernizing the country, calling for political reforms that would bring Russia in line with western-style democracy, including cutting the presidential term back to five years instead of seven, and abolishing the FSB. The BBC says the report reads ‘like a catalogue of criticism‘.  The Moscow Times noted: ‘Analysts cautioned that the proposals were far from realistic and most likely an attempt to rally public opinion behind Medvedev’s modernization drive.‘  The report (in Russian) can be found here.  An interview with opposition leader Garry Kasparov covers topics such as Russia’s focus on China (‘it will inevitably cause our country to lose geopolitical subjectivity‘), Russia’s role in Europe, and explains why he thinks of the Institute for Contemporary Development as ‘our ideological opponents‘.

Moscow authorities are considering re-enacting their Rechnik home-razing tactics in Sokol, an arts-oriented neighborhood in northern Moscow, and are looking into checking the legality of house construction there.  Analysts suggests that the Moscow mayor ‘could be looking to free up valuable land for commercial projects‘.  Why stop at START, suggests the Moscow Times – Russia and the US should reduce tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, too.  This report alleges that the White House was contemplating military intervention against Russia during the 2008 Georgian war.  Poland is reportedly hailing Vladimir Putin’s invitation to Polish prime minister Donald Tusk to an April ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre as ‘a breakthrough that could lead to improved bilateral ties‘.
RIA Novosti just wants you to know: it is neither a ‘sponsor‘ nor a ‘backer‘ of Russia Today. Georgia’s UK ambassador is badmouthing Russia in the British press over the Eutelstat allegations, which are being heard today in a French court.  Read more on the scandal of the Russian figure skaters slated for their Aboriginal-themed routine.  Just days before the next elections, Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions has apparently pushed through parliament an amendment to electoral rules that, according to Yulia Tymoshenko, ‘wreck an honest presidential election, make it false, dishonest, unregulated‘. 
PHOTO: A dog runs past a coloured wooden house, built during the Soviet period, in a suburb of Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk February 2, 2010. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin