*The authoritarian leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, denied his own earlier statement that he was grooming one of his sons to succeed him at the country’s top job, which Lukashenko has held since 1994.
*An alliance with representatives in the German Bundestag has approved a party resolution calling on the parliament to vote in favor imposing travel bans and freezing the assets of Russian officials involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitisky, the Hermitage Capital said in a statement.
*A law proposed by the ruling United Russia party to force foreign-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in politics to declare themselves “foreign agents” was slammed by human rights groups and the head of the Kremlin’s own rights council.
*Russia will not postpone the implementation of its ambitious rearmament program for three years, but may make some adjustments to curb the budget deficit, Economic Development Minister Andrei Belousov said.
*Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev praised on Monday the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, which will host the APEC summit in September, saying it looked like San Francisco, but with “better” people.
*Six Russian regions, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, produced almost 50 percent of the country’s GDP in 2011 and the regional structure is unlikely to change in the near future, experts of RIA Rating agency said.
*The average price of Russia’s Urals oil export blend hit its six-month low of $93.44 per barrel in June 2012, falling for the third consecutive month, Finance Ministry expert Alexander Sakovich said, citing Argus and Platt data.