Monday's Russian Press Review

This Monday Russian daily newspapers continue monitoring anti-crisis steps by major World powers, compare geopolitical roles of the U.S. and Russia, look into the perspectives of the Transdniestr Republic. Here is the review of several publications:

VREMYA NOVOSTEI reports from Washington: financial ministers, central bank governors and other cabinet members of the World’s major economic powers gathered there for the annual session of the Governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The paper says, this time the agenda is focused on the current global financial crisis, its impact on the financial and real sectors of national economies. There have not been any answers so far, continues the paper, but the scale of the crisis has been more or less measured by now. The example of Iceland has shown that some national economies may face the danger of bankruptcy as a whole, says the paper. The publication also says that some members of the international community still think that the U.S., the nation that triggered the current crisis, has some magical tricks under its sleeve that will help end it soon.

The same newspaper has an interview with members of the Russian delegation at the Defendori-2008, the 15-th defense weaponry exhibition of this type conducted in Greece. The executive-level members of the Russian delegation say that the global crisis has so far had no impact on the arms trade and that Russia is definitely going to fulfill every obligation to its foreign partners in the years 2008 – 2009.

On another page the same paper has an interview with Richard Caplan, an Oxford Professor and one of the leading experts on international relations in the World. The topic of the interview is NATO, its 60th anniversary and its role in the modern World. The academic says, by expanding eastwards NATO is ‘exporting instability.’

IZVESTIA has an opinion article by author Alexandr Melikhov who writes that all comparison of the modern World with the World before WW I is irrelevant. Yes, he says, now there is no ideology to divide mankind into two camps and, again, like hundreds of years in the past, nations pursue their national interest. With one exception: the nuclear weapons in the possession of the U.S. and Russia are enough to turn the Earth into a lifeless rock many times over – or even destroy it altogether. The writer says there cannot be gunboat diplomacy in a conflict between the U. S. and Russia because both sides have the power to ‘launch the nukes’ and in the process of doing that doom the adversary, a whole bunch of unwilling bystanders, destroy itself and, if the weapons work as described, the whole planet.

The same paper publishes a column by political scientist Vitaly Ivanov who writes that there is a widely spread misperception about the true role and place of the U.S. in the World. He says, those who say that at the moment we see the process of ‘de-Americanization’ of the World are wrong because the World hasn’t ever been entirely American. In the 1990s the U.S., the only superpower left on the former battlefield of the Cold War, tried hard to make the World American but even under the Clinton administration it never achieved that goal. Starting from the year 2000 non-Western powers including Russia began playing more important roles in the World, and the current crisis is making this process more evident. The writer says, the U.S. is losing its leadership position in the West, and it’s losing its superpower status along the way. In these circumstances Europe will be seeking closer ties with Russia, and the adoption of the new system of European security suggested by the Russian President may become a turning point in the reshuffle of the World’s balance of power. But it doesn’t mean, continues Ivanov, that the U.S. is going to vanish from the political map: even after the current crisis America will be a power without which it would be impossible to solve global problems. It will be playing a more modest role in the global governance, that much is evident, he says, and it means, most probably, that the long-expected reform of the UN and other international bodies would receive the necessary forward impulse in the nearest future.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA publishes an interview with historian Natalya Narochnitskaya who is also the head of the Paris branch of the Russian Institute of Democracy and Cooperation. The latest book by Narochnitskaya, ‘What is left of our Victory?’ deals with the latest trend in the West: to compare the Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union and conclude that they are both equally evil. In the interview the Russian academic says that this is done to diminish the role of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazism, to lift the guilt for the birth of fascism from the shoulders of Europe and replacing it on the shoulders of the Soviet Union and Russia as its legal heir. Narochnitskaya says, the Potsdam Conference only confirmed the outline of the borders of the Soviet Union within the same limits Russia had enjoyed long before. The borders of the Russian Empire were not disputed by anyone in the West, not even such empire builders as Napololeon. Why should they be disputed now? The writer answers: ‘the West needs to cut us off from the seas – the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, and internationalize our natural resources in such a way that we lose our independent right to dispose of them the way we wish.’

KOMMERSANT publishes a column on Ukraine by Boris Makarenko who writes that political struggle in Ukraine is so much in the present, so real and fast that the legislative branch of power just cannot keep pace with it. The same, writes the author, can be said of Ukrainian courts. Therefore, he concludes, the future configuration of power in Ukraine cannot be figured out by analyzing only the current agendas of various political camps, the sentiments of the electorate and Ukrainian election laws. He writes, the current preparations for the coming parliamentary election campaign can be viewed as preparations for the next presidential election as well.

MOSKOVSKI KOMSOMOLETS has a special report from the unrecognized Transdniestr Republic and concludes that neither Moldova nor the republic with the center in Tiraspol are interested in reunification in any form. The paper says, the most likely scenario for the region is the continuation of the status quo for as long as possible.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT