Russia in the News: August 31, 2009

Tskhinvali street celebration.  Source: provides a glimpse into the topical news stories emerging from Russia:

Georgian Coast Guard Intercepts Trade Vessels between Turkey and Abkhazia

The Georgian Coast Guard recently intercepted an Abkhazian cargo ship filled with scrap metal bound for Turkey and a Turkish cargo ship filled with fuel as part of Georgia’s economic blockade of the breakaway region. The incident raised already high anti-Georgian sentiment in Abkhazia, a de facto independent region backed by Russia. Abkhazia and South Ossetia remain in a strange state of international and legal quagmire one year on from Russia’s land war with Georgia.

Read more from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Russia Arrests Eight for Hijacking Ship with Dubious Cargo

Russia has charged eight men from Estonia, Latvia, and Russia with hijacking a Russian ship named the Arctic Sea last month. Media reports have said that the ship may have been carrying arms or nuclear material to the Middle East.

Read more from Reuters and the Canadian CBC News.

Kyrgyz Teenager Assaulted in Petersburg: Despite Evidence Contrary, Investigators Claim Violence Was Not Ethnic Hatred

Kyrgyz ninth-grader Tagir Kerimov and a friend were assaulted in Petersburg in February by a group of 25-30 who shouted, “Beat the khuch” and “Russia for Russians” along with other racist and nationalistic slogans. On Friday investigators said that the assault was not incited by ethnicity or nationalistic intent, stunning human rights activists.

Read more from the Moscow Times.

Putin Vows to Settle Debt from Soviet Era

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian Ministry of Finance to repay the remaining debt from the USSR. Before the end of the year, Putin plans to close the $34 million debt owed to the London Club of Creditors.

Read more from

Russian TV Documentary Caught in False Reporting Scandal

A dispute ensued over the past week between media photographer Arkady Babchenko and the state-run Channel One. The channel aired a documentary accusing the West of manipulating the media, even as it misrepresented a photograph of a wounded soldier.

Read more from The Other Russia and the St. Petersburg Times.