Russian press review, 05.12.06

Russian press writes about a possible medicine shortage due to unclear import control legislation, declining popularity of Russian language in the world, and patriotism among Russian people.

“Nezavisimaja Gazeta” predicts a new far-reaching crisis in Russia’s pharmaceutical market. The customs service will not allow imported medicines into the country until a new declaration system is created. The daily refers to a change in certification policy which came into force in February. It was supposed to raise the standards of imported products, but no specific regulations have been outlined. Importers say the problem is unlikely to be solved by the end of the year. This may result in a huge deficit of medicines in Russia’s pharmacies because imports make up 80 percent of all pharmaceutical products in Russia.

The topic is further developed by “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”. It adds more details reporting on an urgent meeting of Russia's Federal Custom Service. According to the paper, officials have found a way to avoid a full-scale crisis. The departments responsible for issuing import licenses have been ordered to publish a list of all the products that need to be declared. The paper goes on to say this situation is unlikely to be as severe as the problems caused by restrictions on the imports of foreign cars and alcohol into Russia earlier this year.

According to “Novye Izvestia”, the Russian language ranks fourth in the list of the most widely spoken languages in the world, but it's gradually losing its position. The former Soviet republics, just several years into their independence, are hurrying to strip the Russian language of its official status. The West is not particularly interested in learning Russian either. Analysts explain this by Russia's losing its economic and political power in the world. However, the situation is not hopeless, says the paper. One way out is improving Russia's educational system and raising competency in Russian among students.

In the same issue the paper goes on to look at how patriotic Russian people are. According to their surveys, Russians consider it patriotic to bring up children, respect traditions and mark historic dates. Nine out of ten people believe military and patriotic education should be introduced as a subject at schools and universities. The list of most unpatriotic things a person can do is topped by tax evasion. But experts say such views could be a reflection of the military hysteria forced on society. It results in people shifting their attention from real problems to delusional ones, leading them to ignore the genuine priorities for the country today.