Media Mirror – 02.06.07

Russian newspapers write about democracy institutions and interpretation of democracy by different nations, the lessons of history not to be forgotten, and the respect to perished soldiers – no matter the side they fought for.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA weekly’s regular column “The main events of the past week” features ratings of events by Senator Mikhail Margelov. The senator chose the unusual heat wave over European Russia and the successful tests of the new Russian missiles as numbers one and two.

Evgeny Primakov writes in his column in MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI that he was impressed by the unanimous criticism of the U.S. foreign policy at the annual meeting of the Interaction Council, a body consisting former heads of governments of 30 countries. Mr Primakov quotes the remarks of the main speaker on the topic, former U.S. Vice-President Walter Mondale as saying:

“After WW II America became the leading nation in the world not only because of its might but because citizens and leaders of other countries believed in America’s good will and common sense. Now the situation has changed, and the changes were caused by the catastrophic consequences of the radical neo-conservative revolution.”

“Neo-conservatives interpret the military might of the U.S. as a means to increase America’s influence. They believe it is possible to use military force and achieve beautiful results, for instance, creating democracies. This can be called democratic imperialism,” the American politician continues.

Eveny Primakov concludes his column with one short phrase: No comment.

A democratic monarchy happens in the world much more often than a democratic empire, and one of these has just been born in Central Asia, writes NEWSWEEK RUSSIA, meaning Kazakhstan, after President Nazarbaev’s amendments to the nation’s Constitution gave him exclusive rights to run for his office for any consecutive number of times – a virtual lifetime Presidency. Both Russia and the U.S. voiced approval for this “step in the right direction”. It was a matter of stability chosen over democracy, the experts say.

Seventeen university professors of history, economy and philosophy plus a famous playwright and an MP undersigned an article in MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI calling for the return of the Day of the Great October Revolution as a national holiday. Their argument is that history cannot be cancelled. The Bolshevik revolution and over 70 years of the Soviets are a huge part of it, and that cannot be ignored.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA writes about a monument to Soviet pilots who died in combat in Afghanistan. It was built by their fellow officers in their free time between operations. Now three U.S. air force sergeants based at the same airfield in Bagram are protecting the monument from their own bosses’ plan to build a new runway over it. They maintain e-mail contact with the surviving Russian veterans.