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Some 1000 parents and children in the Komi Republic have received help through the Barents cooperation program “Children and youth at risk”.

Alexander Stubb, famous in the Barents Region for branding the north as the world´s most sexy region, is put on track to take over after Jyrki Katainen.

Gazprom in power

“Gazprom and the government have long had a close relationship, but the revolving door between them is spinning especially fast this year: Medvedev, 42, replaces Putin as president; Putin becomes prime minister, replacing Viktor Zubkov; and Zubkov is expected to take Medvedev’s place as Gazprom’s chairman at a general shareholders meeting in June”, the International Herald Tribune reports.

Ilya Klebanov

President Dmitrii Medvedev yesterday announced the names of his top representatives in the seven federal districts. Ilya Klebanov remains head of the Northwest Russian Federal District.

Andrey Krainy

With Vladimir Putin as Russia’s prime minister, the federal ministries are bolstered with a number of new powers, while agencies and services lose independence. Among the losers is the State Committee of Fisheries.

Photo: Barentsphoto.com

The Murmansk regional administration has got 60 additional powers and has hired 625 new people. Now several regional ministries will be established as part of a major administrative restructuring plan.

Gunter Verheugen (europa.eu)

European Commission Vice President Gunter Verheugen says he is confident that talks on a new EU-Russia treaty will begin before the upcoming June 26 summit.

EU and Russia

It would be in the West’s interest to include Russia in its political, economic and security plans, researcher Michael Emerson from the Centre for European Policy Studies writes in a new paper. He believes the next EU-Russia treaty should include emphasis on visa-free travel, free trade in goods and services, as well as rules relating to energy investments

Ilya Mikhachuk, Viktor Pavlenko

Acting city Mayor of Arkhangelsk Viktor Pavlenko has appointed Yuri Shaulov as acting Vice Mayor for construction. The appointment is based on a recommendation from regional Governor Ilya Mikhalchuk. Yuri Shaulov comes from a post in the Russian presidential administration.

Vladimir Putin, Igor Levitin (government.ru)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday requested parliament to approve the Russian Federation’s biggest ever investment programme. In the period 2010-2015, Russia plans to the invest 13 trillion RUB (550 billion USD) in infrastructure development all over the country.

More than 20 contributions were submitted in a competition on the new official hymn of Murmansk Oblast. The winning contribution is named “Be Proud, Murmansk Oblast!”, and is composed by a civil servant in the regional administration.

Solana, Lavrov (eu2008.si)

After eighteen months of standstill, EU and Russia are again ready for talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement. EU representatives yesterday finally agreed on the necessary negotiating positions.

Russian federal subjects

One of the first things Vladimir Putin did after taking over the post as prime minister was to strengthen control over the country’s municipalities.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller this week says he expects countries around the North Pole to respect international laws when settling territorial claims in the Arctic. Next week the Arctic costal states meet at Greenland to discuss the rules that apply to the Arctic Ocean.

Finland looks to Murmansk

A House of Finland with office facilities for Finnish businesses, the local General Consulate department, as well as a cultural centre will open in Murmansk, Finnish diplomats confirm.