Russian press review, 01.03.07

The Russian Press looks at the fall of world stock markets and the visit of Russia’s Prime Minister to Tokyo. It also comments on the statement of the U.S. National Intelligence Director, who accused Russia of backsliding on democracy.

Vremya Novostey writes that Russian experts are inclined to consider the fall of world stock markets as a natural phenomenon related to excessive speculative games in China. The paper’s experts believe this scenario will not take place in Russia, because its stock-exchange market is not as overestimated as the Chinese one.

Commenting on the visit of Russia’s Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov, to Tokyo, Vedomosti writes that unclear Russian laws, complicated customs regulations and slow decision-making are the main sources of concern for Japanese businessmen.  But the Prime Minister convinced them that the eventual high profit would compensate all the high risks of working in Russia.

The paper claims the negotiators were pleased with the agreements reached. Thus, Russia will increase its share in uranium enrichment,   and the Foreign Economic Bank will get a 13-year-long credit line from its Japanese counterpart and insurance agencies. While Toyota intends to start the production of spare parts for its cars in Russia, Vedomosti cites the press-service of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Energy as saying.

Meanwhile, the already working Russian subsidiary of the Ford factory is likely to sign a collective treaty, reports Novye Izvestia. The striking workers have made this choice. The paper says the Vice Governor of the Leningrad region is not much concerned with such strikes, but the new Russian proletarians live in the epoch of globalization and have learned new sophisticated forms of fighting for their rights like the “Italian strike”, for example. They come to work, according to the rules, but don't produce anything. 

Novye Izvestia also speculates on results of a public opinion poll on how the Russian morality has changed over the last 15 years. It turns out, writes the daily, that values like hearfulness remain in the background as they used to be. According to the General Director of the All-Russia Public Opinion Centre, ideological convictions, either liberal or totalitarian, have become of minor importance, and the society of consumers so much longed-for by the former Soviet citizens is emerging.

Kommersant looks at the statement of the U.S. National Intelligence Director, Michael McConnell, who thinks the Kremlin's recent harsh course will increase antagonism between Russia and the U.S. The paper says it’s not just the most outspoken display of discontent in Russian politics. It means the White House may start revising its relationship with Moscow.  Kommersant quotes its source close to the U.S. administration as saying “Moscow and Washington will continue cooperating in the areas where it’s required, but the negotiations will become tougher and longer”.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta focuses on Georgia’s President Mikhail Saakashvili’s negotiations with the European Council. He raised the question of replacing the Russian peacekeeping contingent in conflict areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The daily also adds that Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko said, before his visit to Georgia, that Kiev was eager to back up Georgian efforts to settle these conflicts. This statement makes the paper to contend that Tbilisi is looking for more substantial and effective Western aid while starting its campaign against the Russian military presence.