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Qualms Over Yevsyukov's Trial, Darkin Governor Again, Former PM Evaluates 2009

Denis Yevsyukov, the former head of police of the southern Moscow district of Tsaritsyno, enters a hearing in Moscow City Court on December 28, 2009

Bias Feared In Trial Of Shooting Spree Policeman

In the Moscow City Court the trial of former police major Denis Yevsyukov has resumed. In April last year Yevsyukov opened fire on shoppers in a supermarket in southern Moscow, killing two and wounding seven.

Observers are worried that defense witnesses, including a former chief of Moscow police, could enable Yevsyukov to receive a significantly reduced sentence. “Even after his arrest and seeing that he had killed people, they [the police] treated him as one of their own," Igor Trunov, the lawyer representing the victims, tells RFE/RL. "He was free to walk around the police station without handcuffs, and he wasn’t locked in a cell. ... What is also incredible is that around eight policemen went to arrest him and not one managed to shoot him. It seems that they were afraid of opening fire upon a policeman."

[read in Russian]

Darkin Re-elected Governor of Primorye Region

On Monday the legislative assembly of the Primorye Region voted to approve Sergei Darkin, the region’s incumbent governor and President Medvedev’s nominee, for a third term. Only one deputy objected.

Although Darkin is seen by many as an energetic and effective leader, several of his deputies during his second term were found guilty of corruption. “Against Sergei Mikhailovich [Darkin] is the fact that he hasn’t managed to establish order among the vice-governors,” independent journalist and member of the Primorye assembly Dmirtri Novikov tells RFE/RL.

Many observers believe that the Kremlin wants him to remain in office to oversee preparations for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference that is due to take place in Vladivostok in 2012.

[read in Russian / read in English]

Former Prime Minister Kasyanov Reviews Russia's 2009

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Mikhail Sokolov, Mikhail Kasyanov, a former prime minister during Putin’s presidency and current leader of the opposition Russian People’s Democratic Union, assesses the Russian government’s performance in 2009, and the development of the Russian economy over the past decade.

Kasyanov says that the government’s response to the global economic crisis was “absolutely inadequate,” and the crisis has exposed the full extent to which Russia is dependent on oil and gas exports. Of Putin, Kasyanov says, “He is completely opposite [to his former self]... I consider that was Putin No. 1, then there was Putin No. 2, and now it’s already Putin No. 3, and they are all contrary [to each other]. The first and second contradict each other and preclude each other.”

[read in Russian]