Russian press review, 18.01.07

The Russian press pays attention to the internal, and global aspects, of energy resources, investigates difficulties that many Russian graduates are facing, and discusses the new so-called doctrine of self-assertion.


      
The Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily newspaper analyses the problem of energy use in Russia. Although there has not been any need yet for extra supplies, consumption of energy in Russia has not fallen despite a mild winter. According to the daily, an abnormally warm winter and the high level of energy consumption shows, if the temperature falls dramatically, the country will face an energy crisis. The paper suggests the fast growing construction industry and ineffective energy processing may be the reason for the growing demand.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper looks at the topic of warm weather in more detail. According to the paper, local authorities, constructors, and private houses are among the few who will enjoy warm temperatures. On the other hand, travel agencies, as well as fur shops might face trouble due to the lack of cold and snow. In addition, Rossiyskaya Gazeta points out that agriculture and especially winter crops will also be seriously affected, though it’s difficult to predict the effect.

Writing about the recent energy security row between Russia and Belarus, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports that Belarus could look to Europe for the next step in its foreign policy. The paper writes that Belarus is ready for change following years of close ties with Russia and isolation from the West – all in the wake of the energy security row. According to the paper, European officials are ready to start talks. Still serious democratic reforms will be needed in the country in order for talks with the European Union to be effective.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, reporting on the meeting of the Russian Rector’s Union in Nizhniy Novgorod, says most Russian graduates do not work in the profession they studied for. According to the paper, it happens because Russian education is distanced from the realities of business and industry. The paper adds that the main part of the meeting was focused on the question of how to synchronise Russian university education with the demands of a modern economy.

Novye Izvestia newspaper, writing about social and economic differences in the Russian regions, cities and individuals, remarks that while the rich become richer, the poor get even poorer. The paper blames it on the Russian taxation system where all the money first goes to the centre and only then to the regions. The Regional Development Ministry lists 32 regions as economically depressed and around ten more as crisis regions.

Vedomosti discusses the new so-called doctrine of self-assertion which is apparently popular in Russia. The paper points out, the country is trying to put things in good order and assert itself in the world. To achieve this, it consolidates society by gaining new enemies, dominating post-Soviet territory and using economic tools for political purposes. The new self-assertion doctrine is aimed at keeping the status-quo, rather than at renaissance. However, Vedomosti thinks that it affects relations with Belarus and Ukraine in particular.