Russian press review, 16.02.07

The Russian press discusses the recent government reshuffle in Russia, the resignation of Chechnya's President, Alu Alkhanov, and resulting appointment of the acting president.

Vremya Novostey writes that the promotion of the Russian Defence Minister, Sergei Ivanov, to a civilian post will make him invulnerable to criticism over hazing and crimes in the army if he joins the Presidential race in 2008. The paper adds Mr Ivanov has been granted the same status as another potential Presidential candidate – the First Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev. The move is believed to create a good foundation for the constructive work of the two first Vice Premiers.

Vremya Novostey also comments on the resignation of the Chechen President, Alu Alkhanov, and the appointment of the 30-year-old Prime Minister, Ramzan Kadyrov, as Chechnya’s acting President.  It says the actual succession of an heir to the Chechen throne seems to be over. The daily claims that Chechnya under Kadyrov’s absolute and largely autonomous rule may set an interesting example and precedent of how a region should build its relations with the federal centre.

Moskovsky Komsomolets has an interview with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, who says attempts to portray Russia as an evil country that destroys civilization based on Western values have helped Europe and the US to mend a rift in relations caused by the Iraq war. Mr Lavrov adds the time has come to admit that Russia and the West have differences over how to pursue world politics. He calls for developing a collective approach to world affairs and giving up old and discredited unilateral schemes.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta cites an opinion of Viktor Yesin, the former Chief-of-staff of the Russian Strategic Rocket Troops, about the risks of Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Russian-U.S. Treaty on the elimination of medium-and short-range missiles. 

“It’s going to be a very dangerous step. Looking at us, the Pentagon will start deploying missiles in the vicinity of Russian borders. It will be particularly dangerous if it does it in the Baltic States,” the newspaper quotes the expert. 

Trud writes that 8 Muscovites have been hurt by falling icicles this month. The risks of being hit by an icicle are particularly high in Moscow in mid-February when the number of victims can reach 20 or 30 people on average.