News in Brief

Medvedev Teacher Gets Job



Presidential front-runner Dmitry Medvedev's former professor is likely to become the new head of St. Petersburg University following the resignation Monday of the previous dean, Lyudmila Verbitskaya, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

The Federal Education Agency appointed Nikolai Kropachyov, Medvedev's law professor and adviser, as the acting dean, the report said. Kropachyov will retain the post after an election scheduled for May 21, Kommersant cited unidentified university officials as saying.

Kropachyov remains Medvedev's close friend and is a personal acquaintance of President Vladimir Putin, the report said.

Kropachyov headed the law school before Monday's appointment. (Bloomberg)




Saakashvili Critic Unloads



PARIS -- Irakli Okruashvili, an ally turned critic of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, said the head of state is addicted to power and will do "everything" to assure victory in a parliamentary election in May.

Saakashvili "will do everything to get a majority,'' Okruashvili said in an interview in Paris on Feb. 15. "Just as a drug user is dependent on more drugs, so Saakashvili seeks more power."

Okruashvili faces charges in Georgia related to his tenure as defense minister from 2004 to 2006, including extortion and money laundering. (Bloomberg)




Azeris May Offer U.S. a Base



The United States may be offered a radar base in Azerbaijan now used by Russia, Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Tuesday.

Azerbaijan will consider renting out the Soviet-era Gabala facility to the United States if Russia does not renew its lease in 2012, the report said.

Russia last year offered to share the base with the United States as an alternative to the deployment of a missile-defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland. (Bloomberg)