Monday's Russian Press Review

Russian newspapers this Monday urge the U.S. President to improve his image in his last 100 days in power; suggest that Georgia’s arms procurement before the conflict in South Ossetia made some people richer at the expense of U.S. taxpayers; assume that R

Apart from that several weekly magazines are out today. Here is a review of some of the publications:

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes in an editorial that U.S. President George W. Bush could make his international image much better in the last 100 days in power by throwing his weight behind the process of disarmament and inching it forward. The paper means that the president could now give the green light to start the process of negotiating a document that would replace the START-1 treaty after its term ends on December 5 this year. At least, says the paper, he could try doing that, so his name could end up attached to an unquestionably good deed.

IZVESTIA seems to be more and more fond of journalistic investigations. This time the paper turns into an accountant and scrupulously counts every cent of U.S. military aid money which Georgia used to purchase Soviet-type weapons from Ukraine. There are a few surprisingly cheap items, like million-dollar battle tanks sold for $155,000 dollars each. There are hundreds of 1891-type Mosin rifles and 1140 Nagan revolvers of 1920s vintage. The paper suggests all that was part of a scheme put together by some people in both Georgia and Ukraine in pursuit of personal gain at the expense of the average U.S. taxpayer. The paper says further that if the U.S. side thoroughly counted its own aid money, the scheme would have been impossible.

KOMMERSANT publishes an article on Ukraine by Andrey Fedorov, the former Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, currently the Director of Political Programme at the Russian Council for Foreign and Defence Policies. He says that there is no space left anymore in Russia-Ukraine relations for any kind of political mistake on the part of Moscow. In the course of the current political crisis Ukraine will continue drifting towards NATO and Yulia Timoshenko is not the person to try to prevent it. So, says Fedorov, we need to amend our Ukraine policy and, make it absorb the fact that we are going to deal with a very different Ukraine than the one we are accustomed to. He says Russia should not take sides in the Ukrainian crisis because that would inevitably lead to the break-up of the country into at least two parts and to the complete and total demise of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

VEDOMOSTI. Vladislav Inozemtsev writes in his column that the ongoing financial crisis may hit infrastructural programmes, especially in road construction. In Russia, he writes that road construction has always been a state business. He implies that for that reason it has always been so corrupt and, in our times, has become quite expensive too. Inozemtsev backs up his statements with examples, such as: 1 km of Moscow’s Fourth transport ring road costs 2.4 times as much as 1 km of the tunnel under the English Channel. The author says the company operating the tunnel is already bankrupt while the Russian government is still very much afloat. But, he concludes, the ways of Russian and European roads part further and further from one another every day.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA quotes Yuri Trutnev, Russia’s Minister for Natural Resources and Ecology who says after setting up the closed-circuit water treatment system at the Baikal Pulp and Paper Plant not a gram of contaminated water will enter the lake. Lake Baikal is considered the biggest reservoir of drinkable freshwater in the world. The paper says the Russian government is making a lot of efforts to preserve Baikal including the re-routing of a gas pipeline that had been put on the map too close to the lake. However, continues the paper, all these efforts can come undone one day just because somebody at the Pulp and Paper Plant proves to local authorities that the water treatment system causes losses that the plant cannot afford to sustain. There is already a letter to that effect undersigned by several senior executives of the plant. That may create a problem between the plant pursuing its economic interests and the state pursuing the interest of all humankind. The paper says the choice between the two interests is not as easy as it may seem.

PROFIL weekly magazine’s Chief Editor writes in his column that the counter-crisis measures of the U.S. government are actually spreading the crisis around the world. He writes the crisis is firmly stuck to the U.S. dollar as it was born in the dollar economy, and throwing dollars at it in America and elsewhere will just make it stronger on the one hand, and on the other will have other nations solving the crisis for the U.S. with their own sweat and blood.

ITOGY weekly has an interview with Russia’s UN Envoy Vitaly Churkin who says of the current state of Russia-U.S. relations and their impact on the world: ‘Where the U.S. is not taking our national interest into account we’ll defend our interest; where there’s still an opportunity for a dialogue, we’ll continue the dialogue. Where there is cooperation on their part, we’ll cooperate.’

The same magazine publishes an article by Nikolai Zimin in Washington, who implies that the current infusion of U.S. government money into the U.S. financial sector is, in fact, nationalisation of financial assets. He says the U.S. is step by step moving towards the path of Socialism – ‘Global Financial Socialism’ he calls it. He reminds the readers that under Socialism goods tend to vanish from the shop shelves.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.