Friday's Press Review

AFP Photo / Stringer
This Friday Russian newspapers wonder if the summit of the Top 20 will make any difference, talk of Russia’s nuclear capability, note the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan and turn to history to find the reasons for the instability in Ukrainian po

IZVESTIA writes under the headline ‘The Top 20 will gather to overcome capitalism – in themselves…’ that most of the existing ideas for the fight against the crisis are based on nationalisation, market limitation, total government control over finances and rejection of the U.S. dollar. European leaders, says the paper, want even to gain control over the U.S. monetary emissions. But the U.S. which caused the crisis in the first place, continues the paper, will make every effort to turn the summit into a toothless talk shop. It is clear, insists the publication, from the plain fact that George W. Bush, already discarded as political waste, will represent America at the meeting.

The article continues to say that the U.S. is already acting as if were not France and Russia that suggested the meeting but rather it was the American president that suddenly decided to invite the leaders and top financial officers of twenty top economies of the world for a nice chat over dinner about the causes of the crisis and the ways to avoid such events in the future. In fact, writes the paper, Washington just has nothing to say, especially when the role of the founder of the new world financial order is taken up by France, a country where socialist ideas, a total anathema to the U.S., are deeply rooted.

The same paper publishes opinions by several experts.

Evgeny Yasin, of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow says there are three options open for the Top 20 summit. First, to turn on state controls on a total scale. But our current economic model is a market economy, and state controls suggested by Nicholas Sarkozy can only make the market mechanism stall. Let’s not forget that the market has a capability to heal itself. Meddling with it may make things worse. Second, to conduct a deep analysis of what is happening to figure out how to make the market economy better. I don’t like Bush, but in this case he may be right. Third, to dump the dollar and create an artificial monetary unit. That may happen. However, when the IMF tried it once in the past, it didn’t work.

Igor Nikolaev of FBK Consulting, writes that dumping the dollar is not a good option. He says the Top 20 summit should analyse the situation and make the right diagnosis, which hasn’t been done so far. It may happen, he says, that the problem is not the lack of money in the economy but money ‘clots’ in the ‘veins’ of the financial system. In that case injecting more money into the system may cause a stroke.

Mikhail Khazin  of Neokon Consulting says that the summit will hardly take any drastic decisions because big decisions are not made on the go while going down the slope. He says there’s no alternative to the system dominated by the U.S. dollar. Of course, he continues, the summit may decide to get rid of the dollar, and that is why the U.S. is so keen on its own participation. And the dollar system may easily fall apart if after the summit the U.S. administration makes a couple of wrong moves.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes that Russia is ready to take an active part in the working out of a collective global anti-crisis strategy. The paper quotes a European expert saying that in the past decade it has become evident that we all live in a globalised, deeply inter-dependent world, with a global economy and financial system which are already too big for a single country to control.

The same paper has an article by its military commentator Victor Litovkin, who writes that the financial crisis cannot prevent Russia from reminding the rest of the world of its nuclear might. It is time, he writes, to replace the R-18 (SS-19 by NATO classification) – a multiple warhead missile with a range of 10 thousand kilometres with a newer, more modern weapon. Litovkin says Russia already has such a missile: the RS-24, which will be ready to be delivered to the Strategic Missile Command in 2009, when the U.S. – Russia SALT-1 Treaty’s term comes to an end.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI notes the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan and predicts that if Obama wins the U.S. election, there may be a withdrawal from Iraq in some form or other, but Afghanistan will definitely see reinforcements joining the U.S. troops in that country. The paper says, from the point of view of American generals on the theater, NATO efforts in Afghanistan are badly coordinated and lack a clear line of command.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA publishes a two-page report on Ukrainian politics in which it quotes, among other experts, Vladimir Malenkovich. A well-known dissident in Soviet times, Malenkovich decided to come home in 1992 to take part in the building of a new Ukraine. Today, says the paper, he is disappointed and getting ready to leave: he’s going back to Germany, this time most probably for good. Malenkovich says he has analyzed the voting patterns in different parts of Ukraine and suddenly decided to check the map that contained the results of his research, against a political map of Ukraine in the 17th century. The match was perfect to a fault, he told the newspaper. Yushchenko gets the votes of the part of Ukraine that was actually part of Poland in the 17th century, and Yanukovich the votes of the traditionally pro-Russian part of the country. Malenkovich says, now we have two totally different nations here, both calling themselves ‘Ukraine.’ The paper concludes that only a leader who can manage to create a common ideology for all of the Ukrainian people could succeed in uniting the nation and stopping the political kaleidoscope that has become the only constant feature in Ukrainian politics.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT