Russian press review, 12.03.07

Russian press highlights some parties’ tactics in the country’s local elections, once more writes about homeless children, who receive little support from the government, and also speculates on what could be Russia's position on Kosovo.

Vedomosti writes that the local elections in Russia's second largest city – St Petersburg – have revealed the hostility between the United Russia and the Fair Russia parties and it cites the opinion of Communist Party representative Igor Melnikov. He says that United Russia applied new ‘election tactics' to gain the upper hand over its rivals. He explains that United Russia had put the names of deputies who have been working in constituencies, in the fourth position in the party ballot lists after the three party leaders and says that because those deputies were sometimes more popular among voters than the party itself, the tactic would definitely bring United Russia at least 10 % more votes.

The front page of Novye Izvestia carries an article about homeless children in Russia. The country’s human rights activists claim twice as many homeless youngsters are on the streets than officials admit, and it’s all a bid to spruce up the situation in the election year. The paper says abandoned children have become a scourge in Russia which doesn’t have any serious programs for work with unsocial families, or a single agency to work with homeless children. Experts quoted by the daily believe most youngsters run away from drunk and violent parents.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta speculates on what could become Russia's final position on Serbia’s breakaway province of Kosovo. According to the paper, it remains 'unpredictable', primarily because of Moscow’s contradictory policy in the Balkans. The paper concludes that “Moscow will apparently formulate its final stance on Kosovo after it agrees with the United States on issues that are not directly linked to the Kosovo problem.”

Echoing the subject, Vremya Novostei carries an interview with Konstantin Zatulin, the director of the Institute of CIS studies. He believes that Russia will most likely use its veto when a vote on Kosovo’s future takes place at the UN Security Council. The daily quotes Zatulin as saying “Such a position will bring moral backing to the Serbs, who rely on Russia’s support, and will also allow Moscow to prolong the pause in its relations with the unrecognized republics in the CIS territory”.

And finally, American bank employee Diana Tacker – the winner of this year’s “Missis World” beauty contest in the Russian Black Sea town of Sochi, speaks about her first visit to Russia in an interview with Moskovsky Komsomolets. She said Russia is a beautiful country and its people were open and friendly, especially in the Chechen capital of Grozny. Asked whether she knew about the recent war in Grozny, she replied she had heard something about that and thought that it was horrible. However, she hopes that the war in Grozny is now a matter of the past.