Russia 090922 Basic Political Developments

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RIA: Russian sample mission to Martian moon delayed until 2011

MOSCOW, September 21 (RIA Novosti) - The launch of the Russian mission to one Mars' moons has been delayed until 2011, said Lev Zeleny, chief of the Institute of Space Research at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"I can officially announce that the Phobos-Grunt mission has been postponed until 2011," he said.

He cited a tight schedule and the final testing of all systems as reasons for the delay. The launch of the mission was initially scheduled for 2009.

Phobos-Grunt is an unmanned lander that will spend several months studying the planet and its moons from orbit before landing on Phobos. Under the new schedule, the return vehicle with soil samples is expected to be back on Earth in 2012.

RIA: Russia's state defense order to rise 8% to $36 bln in 2010 – Ivanov

MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state defense order will rise 8% in 2010 year-on-year to 1.1 trillion rubles ($36 billion), Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Tuesday.

Defense orders in 2009 are expected to amount to 1 trillion rubles ($33 bln), with 332 billion ($10.9 bln) being spent on purchases and maintenance of military equipment.

Ivanov earlier said that Russia would spend 470 billion rubles ($15.5 bln) on arms, equipment and maintenance of its Armed Forces in 2010.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earlier identified the priorities for the financing of the Armed Forces as "Maintenance and development of the nuclear capability and missile and space defense forces, providing troops with modern offensive weapons, as well as command and control, communication and intelligence systems, and strengthening military infrastructure in key strategic sectors."
RIA: Russia's legendary Kalashnikov producer faces bankruptcy

RIA Novosti

September 22, 2009

An arbitration court has accepted a bankruptcy suit against the producer of Russia's famed Kalashnikov assault rifles, Russian media reported on Monday.

A court in the Urals republic of Udmurtia said on its website that the suit had been filed by a previously unknown company named Gremikha. It did not specify the connection between the plaintiff and Izhmash, the owner of the Kalashnikov plant.

The court said a hearing on the suit would be held on October 7.

Observers said bankruptcy would help Izhmash, Russia's largest firearms producer, to deal with its debt burden, but warned that new wave of unemployment would sweep the region.

The Izhmash-owned Molot factory, which produces the legendary assault rifles, has already frozen operations due to a lack of orders from the state, Ekho Moskvy radio reported.

State technology corporation Rostekhnologii holds a 57.01% stake in Izhmash, according to Kommersant daily.

Designed in the Soviet Union in the 1940s by Mikhail Kalashnikov, the AK-47 is the most widely used assault rifle in the world. The gun and its variants are manufactured in many countries under licenses or illegally, and are used by both regular armies and militant groups.

MT: Australians Don't Want Kadyrov or His Horses
22 September 2009

By Nikolaus von Twickel

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has come under fire in Australia after it was revealed that two of his elite racehorses would participate in high-profile races in Melbourne this fall.

Australian Greens party leader Bob Brown said that neither Kadyrov nor his horses should be let into Australia because of the Chechen leader’s brutal politics.

“If this nasty character were to get his hands on the Melbourne Cup, it would be the lowest point in Australia’s sporting history,” Brown said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday.

Kadyrov is sending Mourilyan, a gelding that won this summer’s March Stakes race in Goodwood, England, to contest the Melbourne Cup on Nov. 3, the report said.

The contest is the country’s most prestigious race, with the winner’s prize money worth $3.3 million.

Australian media reports said victory for Kadyrov’s horse would be a public relations disaster because the cup is awarded personally by the governor-general, the official representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Australia.

His other horse, thoroughbred Bankable, will start in the $750,000 LKS Mackinnon Stakes race, held Oct. 31.

Kadyrov’s spokesman, Alvi Karimov, declined to comment on the reports Monday. “I simply do not know anything about these things,” he told The Moscow Times by telephone from Grozny.

Brown, who is a member of the Australian Senate, said the Chechen president should be denied an Australian visa for a number of reasons.

“Mr. Kadyrov has no criminal record as such because he runs the secret police. But his opponents have been gunned down at home and abroad — including assassinations in Vienna and Dubai in recent times,” he said in a statement published on his party’s web site.

A spokeswoman for Australia’s Foreign Ministry said Kadyrov had not applied for a visa, but if he did, it would be hard to imagine him being granted one, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Yet it would be hard to ban the horses from entering, the report said.

Human rights activists say Kadyrov is running Chechnya as his personal fiefdom with the Kremlin’s consent. They accuse him of torturing and killing opponents in Russia and abroad. In January, Umar Israilov, a former Kadyrov bodyguard, was murdered in Vienna, and in March, political rival Sulim Yamadayev was gunned down in Dubai.

Yamadayev’s shooting coincided with the Dubai World Cup horse race on March 28, and local police later arrested Kadyrov’s horse trainer on suspicion of involvement in the killing.

Police also issued an international arrest warrant for a relative of Kadyrov, State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov.

Delimkhanov and Kadyrov have vehemently denied wrongdoing.

Kadyrov reportedly has a horse stable in Dubai, and Mourilyan was trained by South African Herman Brown in Dubai earlier this year, Britain’s Racing Post newspaper reported.

Kadyrov’s passion for racehorses has raised little public interest so far, even after he sent a record 11 of them to compete around the president’s cup in Moscow this July.

His prizewinning stallion Bronze Cannon took a disappointing fourth in the Moscow race, where Kadyrov mingled with President Dmitry Medvedev and other leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Bronze Cannon was bought from British diamond magnate Anthony Oppenheimer, and experts told The Moscow Times that the horse is worth £500,000 to £1 million ($809,000 to $1.6 million).

Kadyrov, who is also known for collecting fancy cars, said in his first public income declaration in May that he earned 3.5 million rubles ($110,000) last year and that his only personal property consisted of a tiny 36-square-meter apartment and a VAZ-21053 car.

“I am a poor Chechen,” he told Komsomolskaya Pravda in an interview published last week.

But he also told the newspaper that he would not refuse “anything that the Almighty gave me.”

In an earlier interview with the newspaper, Kadyrov had said the horses belong to the Chechen Republic rather than to him personally.

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