Review of Russian newspapers

This is the review of Russian newspapers issued on Monday September 8.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA writes the war in South Osetia has changed a lot in Russia’s political life, including the topics discussed at the State Council. Instead of the future of Russian sports after the Peking Olympiad, over the past weekend the Council members had to deal with the aftermath of the war. The article says Russian regions are ready to help rebuild Tskhinval. Their leaders named particular districts and buildings in the capital of South Osetia that each region is going to help.

IZVESTIA writes that by supporting Saakashvili the U.S. is losing Europe. The paper reminds readers that in its August 22 issue it published an opinion piece suggesting that by starting the war in South Osetia Saakashvili ruined U.S. plans of a missile attack on Iran. The paper says, this suggestion should not be seen as the only version of the events, but it may be making more sense than others, first of all because such plans are still under consideration in the U.S. The paper says, the three destinations of the latest journey undertaken by U.S. Vice-President Richard Cheney are highly revealing in this sense: Tbilisi, Baku, Kiev. The paper continues its informed speculation by saying: if Georgia is meant to be the main base for U.S. actions against Iran, then Ukraine will have to play the role of a support base, and there only President Yuschenko is capable of signing up to such a plan. The paper concludes that any unusual activities by NATO warships in the Black Sea, especially around the Bosporus, would trigger close attention by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It will all end in a situation, says the paper, where economic interests of European countries would suffer most and Europe would hardly be grateful to the U.S. for that.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI says that at the State Council meeting President Dmitry Medvedev called the conflict in South Ossetia “a real war”, and that the aftermath of that war leaves not much of the current system of international security.
The same newspaper describes Friday’s summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Moscow as a meeting “where the CSTO recognized Russia’s actions in the Caucasus as right and fair but failed to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia”. The paper explains that this stance of “silent support” is more appropriate for the moment, to avoid any escalation of existing tensions. However, continues the article, the summit decided to increase and improve military cooperation between member states, and, notwithstanding the nation which chairs the Organization, to arrange all Heads of State summits in Moscow.

KOMMERSANT says, Moscow is ready for Nicholas Sarkozy . The President of France is bringing a detailed European offer for the further implementation of the Medvedev-Sarkozy Plan for South Osetia. Last weeks unofficial meeting of EU’s Foreign ministers concluded that Russia is not following the Plan strictly enough. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, is quoted by the paper as saying, one day before the visit, that Moscow is ready for dialogue, even if it concerns an international police force proposed by the EU, but only if the OSCE adopts a decision on that police force as well.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA reports from a fact-finding trip to Tskhinval by 60 journalists from different countries: Western reporters kept asking South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity the same question over and over again – evidently they could not get enough of the answer: “Yes, the first step for us is the recognition of our independence, the second step – our incorporation into Russia proper. And we will deploy Russian military bases here. We will.” Another Western correspondent is reported to have been asking locals, little children as well as grown-ups: are these ruins from the August bombing and shelling, or are they from previous wars? The question astonished scores of people over the course of the day. Those who are just returning to Tskhinval to rebuild their homes were quite surprised at the suggestion that they were showing foreigners fake ruins, says the paper.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes about the planned exercise of the Russian Pacific Fleet in the Caribbean: the exercise was planned a year ago, but at the moment it will look like retaliation for the current presence of U.S. navy ships’ in the Black Sea. The paper says, "our two countries are rapidly slip-sliding into another cold war while our leaders announce loudly how unwilling we all are to start the cold war anew.