» 05/07/2008, 00.00
Aleksij II blesses new Russian president
Medvedev’s oath as the third head of the Russian Federation is blessed in a function presided by the patriarch of Moscow. The new president talks about further developing the “trust-based” relationship between state and Church. The Kremlin uses the occasion to present itself as the defender of traditional moral values as the Patriarchate carves for itself a special place amongst religions.
Putin’s expected landslide marred by suspected electoral fraud
With 97 per cent of the vote counted, United Russia led by the Russian president wins big with 64.1 per cent of the vote. Four parties will be represented in Russia’s State Duma but only one will be really in the opposition. Turnout is high, reaching 99 per cent in Chechnya, but many international observers denounce illegalities, including a raffle for TVs in some polling stations.
25/08/2008 RUSSIA – GEORGIA
Russian parliament set to vote support for status of Georgian separatist provinces
Senate has unanimously approved independence proposal for Abkhazia and South Ossetia, results from Duma still to come. The vote is non binding for Kremlin decisions, as relations with the West precipitate.
19/04/2006 RUSSIA VATICAN
High-level Vatican delegation in Moscow for religious summit, Catholics free, says nuncio
In an interview with Russian-state news agency Interfax, Mgr Mennini, nuncio in Russia, talks about cooperation with the Orthodox Church. Catholics face no external obstructions in the country.
18/06/2009 CHINA – RUSSIA
Beijing and Moscow urge Pyongyang to go back to the negotiating table
Both countries express “serious concern” over escalating tensions in Korea. The economy, currency, trade and bilateral cooperation were discussed during President Hu’s visit. The two powers want to take on greater responsibilities to offset US dominance.
Low voter turnout, only threat to Putin’s (expected) victory
The outgoing president heads the United Russia list, which is most likely to win a majority in the Duma hands down. However, “Tsar Vladimir” needs a high turnout to ensure that his victory will be credible, hence the use of hyperbole and pending doom rhetoric in his latest speech-cum-advert on Channel One TV “Vote for me or face the country’s disintegration.”
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