Friday's Press Review

This Friday, Russian newspapers predict the outcome of the U.S. election, discuss NATO with a British MEP, outline Russia’s role in the dialogue of civilisations and quote a German newspaper on the Catholic version of Das Kapital.

Here is the review:

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes in an editorial that less than a week before the U.S. election the gap between the two candidates is getting quite narrow. If a few days ago, Barack Obama’s lead was obvious, today he is only 5% ahead of Senator McCain and by election day their chances may be nearly equal. However, Obama remains the favourite of the electorate. He is also getting a lot of support from abroad, which has considerable influence on public opinion. Russia will work with any U.S. president if he is rightfully elected by the American people. As for the question of who is better for Russia, the paper says it’s hard to predict because policies often change when the race is over, and the newly elected president has to face the realities of world politics.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA’s correspondent Darya Aslamova explores the diversity of opinion on the coming presidential election in New York. She talks to a left-wing political scientist who speaks highly of Barack Obama’s Internet bid for the presidency. He says McCain is a man of the ‘old school, a man of paper’ while Obama is using modern informational technology to his benefit and thus is gaining the support of the younger generation of Americans. He also says that if McCain’s anti-Russian rhetoric is a logical result of his whole life, Obama’s tough language on Russia is just an immediate campaign necessity that will be forgotten the day after the election.

Another interviewee, a journalist, says of senator McCain: ‘this man has driven only two things in his life: an airplane that was shot down by the Vietnamese and a desk in the Senate which was constantly criticised for lack of organisation.’ Of Obama the same source says: ‘a blank sheet of paper. No experience apart from that of an afro-American activist. Never has been a manager of anything in his life. But he is charismatic and bright. So far his only goal is victory, all the rest we will have to discover together after the election.’

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS has sent correspondent Ekaterina Sazhneva to Washington DC. She writes that there are no campaign posters and windshield stickers visible anywhere in the quantities usual for previous elections. Washington residents, she explains, say that it’s because if there were stickers on cars it would have been dangerous to park them for risk of facing broken windows and windshields on returning to the vehicle. Such is the level of tensions during this election, continues the correspondent, that everyone is afraid of everyone else. She quotes an unnamed acquaintance in Washington who says that the coming election is definitely bringing a drastic change to America: ‘a civil war if the Republicans win and something as big if the Democrats take over.’ However, writes the correspondent, as always Americans demonstrate their undying hope for a better future. They say changes are coming – changes for the better.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI has an interview with British MEP Andrew Duff, a member of the Liberal faction of the European parliament. He says the unlimited expansion eastward of NATO, which started after the days of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, has weakened NATO. The status of the guarantor of security for Eastern Europe should not have meant the actual expansion of NATO as an organisation, he adds. Commenting on the current crisis in Russia-EU relations, he says that it is necessary to maintain dialogue at all times, especially in times of crisis. In times like this dialogue should even become more active.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA reports that the President of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaimiev, who leads the Russian delegation at the fourth meeting of the strategic group ‘Russia: the Islamic World, Dialogue of the Civilisations’, held in Saudi Arabia to evaluate the current world situation, said: ‘Thanks be to Allah, they are not blaming Islam and the Islamic World at least for the financial crisis which has hit the global economy.’ The meeting put an emphasis on the efforts to find harmony between global civilisations based on different religious beliefs. The article says the meeting concluded that Russia, as a country where Islam lives side by side with other major world religions, can play a significant role in the dialogue of civilisations.

The paper writes the choice between a conflict of civilisations and peaceful cooperation was summed up in a phrase from a speech by the Saudi King, His Majesty Abdallah ibn Abdel Aziz Al Saud, which was often quoted at the meeting: ‘Man can destroy our planet together with all living things, or he can turn it into an oasis of peace and tranquility.’

KOMMERSANT publishes a translation of an article from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung about a book published recently by Archbishop Reinhard Marx. The book is called Das Kapital and begins with the letter to his namesake written by the hierarch. Despite the announced faithfulness of the author to the market economy and Catholic teachings about society, the book criticises liberal capitalism for its propagation of greed, which only widens the gap between the rich and the poor, threatens the very existence of the middle class and may collapse upon itself at any moment.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.