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Russia Reform Monitor - No. 1489

New Russian neo-Nazi group draws blood;
Edging out the BBC

Edited by Jonas Bernstein
August 17, 2007

August 14:

The Federal State Statistics Service of Russia (Rosstat) reports that Russia, with a GDP growth of 7.9 percent in the first quarter of 2007, has outpaced all of the world’s industrialized countries, including Germany (3.3 percent), Great Britain (2.9 percent), Japan (2.7 percent), Italy (2.3 percent), Canada (2 percent), France (2 percent) and the U.S. (1.9 percent). According to RosBusinessConsulting, Rosstat based its report on International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publications.

Russian bombers are flying more missions than normal near U.S. territory, demonstrating their long-range strike capability, Reuters reports. Canadian Col. Andre Dupuis, an officer at the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), told the news agency that Russian aircraft carrying cruise missiles ran an aviation exercise near Alaska two weeks ago. “They didn’t do it to practice alone,” he said. “They’re making a point, doing it outside of their normal training cycle. They maintain capability.” Russian bombers have been “ranging farther than they have in the past,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. “We’ve had a couple times where we’ve intercepted them out over international waters, near Alaska.”

August 15: reports that someone identifying himself as a deputy commander of the Chechen separatist group “Riyad us-Salikhin” has called Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s North Caucasus Service claiming that the group was responsible for the August 13th bomb blast that derailed the Nevsky Express train in Novgorod Oblast. In 2003, the U.S. State Department officially designated the Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs, created by Chechen rebel warlord Shamil Basayev, as a terrorist group. However, Interfax reports that while investigators have “several theories” as to who may have been behind the train bombing, the involvement of “extremist [Russian] nationalist organizations... is one of the priorities.”

The New York Times reports that the Russian authorities are investigating a video recording of what appeared to be the grisly execution of two bound and gagged young men, filmed in a forest beneath a large Nazi flag. The video circulated on the Internet with a note from a previously unknown organization calling itself the National-Socialist Party of Russia. It demanded the expulsion from Russia of all Asians and people from the Caucasus, the granting of independence to all of Russia’s internal republics in the Caucasus and President Vladimir Putin’s resignation.

August 16:

Agence France-Presse reports that the leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have obliquely criticized U.S. foreign policy during a summit in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek touting the growing military and political strength of their regional grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “Modern challenges and security threats can only be effectively countered through united efforts of the international community,” the SCO leaders said in a joint declaration.

Russia also expressed support for an outspoken attack by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the summit against U.S. plans to build an anti-missile shield in central Europe. Attending the SCO as an observer, Ahmadinejad warned summit leaders that the missile shield would threaten the security of “most of the continent, Asia.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters the U.S. was using “invented, projected threats” from Iran as an excuse to build the shield and that he could understand Ahmadinejad’s concerns.

August 17:

A Moscow FM radio station has informed the BBC’s Russian Service that it will no longer carry the British broadcaster’s programming, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. FINAM, the holding company that owns the Moscow station Big Radio, said its broadcast license no longer permits it to rebroadcast programming from other media.

Related Categories: Europe; Russia; Central Asia; Terrorism; Democracy & Governance

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