Plus, a bombing in Ingushetia fuels a dispute between Caucasus chiefs and a sex scene scotches a Bulgarian diplomat’s plum posting.by Ky Krauthamer, Ioana Caloianu, and Joshua Boissevain 8 August 2012
In its decision to downgrade Serbia’s rating and give it a negative outlook, S&P cited the new bank legislation as well as Prime Minister Ivica Dacic’s call for expansionist fiscal and monetary policy and the effect those could have on the country’s deficits, The Financial Times and Reuters report.
Conflicting explanations of an incident in which three suspected criminals were killed in Ingushetia have led to a clash of words between the Ingush and Chechen leaders.
In a 4 August statement, Kadyrov said he was perplexed at Yevkurov’s version of events, Interfax writes.
Radio Free Europe reports that Kadyrov said the dead men were veteran insurgents who took part in a bloody August 2010 raid on his home village. He claimed they traveled to Galashki to fetch a bride for one of the insurgents, Ibragim Avdorkhanov. However, Yevkurov’s explanation of an accidental explosion involving ordinary criminals may be more plausible, RFE writes. Kadyrov talked of a well-planned operation in which the three fighters were tracked to the village and killed, but veterans of the North Caucasus insurgency rarely leave their “mountain strongholds,” the news agency notes.
In his statement, Kadyrov suggested that instead of criticizing the security situation in Chechnya, the Ingush leadership should look to their own problems, “especially considering that there are enough of them.”
In the latest attack in Chechnya, at least four troops died in a 6 August suicide bombing near Grozny.
Germany’s Spiegel Online this week gives details of a police training program that appear to contradict assertions by former federal police chief Matthias Seeger that his department stopped cooperation with the Belarusian police two years ago.
Seeger’s abrupt retirement was announced by the German Interior Ministry 31 July. Seeger’s relationship with Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich had come under increasing strain. While no official reason was given for the decision, both Spiegel and Deutsche Welle mention what the latter describes as reports of “Seeger's undetermined relationship” with the government of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
Spiegel Online says it has seen the German government’s response to a request from the Left Party for information on the Belarusian training program. As of 2011 the federal police were providing "instruction to Belarusian experts in the area of risk analysis," the response stated. The training took place in February 2011.
The Holy See’s rejection of Marichkov’s name came after Vatican officials learned of the offending passages in his novel Clandestination (also translated as Fugitive's Row), The Telegraph reports. The book features a Bulgarian immigrant in Italy driven to robbery and prostitution. Marichkov, 39, is the grandson of the first Bulgarian ambassador to the Vatican after the fall of communism.
The Bulgarian government nominated Marichkov in March.
The Vatican Insider notes that the real reason behind Marichkov's rejection might have to do with his qualifications. Despite his law degree, he has not been accredited by the Italian bar association, he lacks diplomatic experience, and he is based in Italy although Vatican rules specify that ambassadors be permanent residents of their home countries.
When dozens of Bulgarian diplomats were recalled home in 2011 after revelations about their collaboration with the communist-era secret police, Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov expressed his preference for “young and inexperienced [diplomats] rather than people who gained their experience in the KGB academy.”
Days after Russian President Vladimir Putin promised that a beefed-up navy would help protect the country’s Arctic shores, his chief security adviser has revealed where the new ships and submarines may be based.
Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev said 6 August that officials had drafted a list of sites for temporary stations for naval and coast guard vessels along the northern sea route over the top of Russia, RIA Novosti reports. The Arctic Sea is expected to grow in importance as sea ice continues to thin, opening up a shorter shipping route between Europe and Asia and simplifying exploration for oil and gas deposits on the seabed.
Earlier this week Putin reaffirmed the Kremlin’s plan to build 51 new naval vessels by 2020, including eight advanced Borei nuclear submarines.
Putin mentioned the navy’s role in protecting Russian economic interests, including in the resource-rich Arctic.
In April the Russian government announced plans to spend some $44 billion on economic and social projects in the Arctic by 2020, RIA Novosti reports. In 2008, the Kremlin approved an Arctic strategy to strengthen security in the region, which is being increasingly eyed for its energy resources by the other Arctic countries, including the United States and Canada.