Russian press review, 28.12.06

Russian press follows the gas dispute between Moscow and Minsk, covers the Litvinenko murder case as someone new entered the frame and also reveals how Russian politicians are planning to celebrate New Year.

“Rossiyskaya Gazeta” follows the gas dispute between Russia and Belarus. According to the paper, Russian gas giant Gazprom does not feel like giving any New Year presents to Minsk. And a repeat of the Ukrainian situation of early this year is becoming more likely. The daily quotes the Belarussian first deputy prime minister who threatens to increase the gas transit prices for Russia – the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline runs across Belarus. Whatever the developments Gazprom has already warned its western clients about possible disruptions.

On the same topic “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” quotes a Russian analyst who believes the Belarussian threats are nothing but blackmailing and racketeering. According to him, if Belarus starts tapping Russian gas intended for Europe Russia might impose large-scale economic sanctions against the country. The daily says it will destroy Belarussian industry since it depends upon the Russian market and has no support in the West.

“Vremya Novostey” writes about former U.S. President Gerald Ford who recently died at the age of 94. The paper says he will always be remembered for stopping the war in Vietnam and giving asylum to around 240 thousand South Vietnamese refugees. According to the daily, Ford continued the Soviet – US disarmament talks. And a smiling Gerald Ford wearing a hat given to him by the then Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev made the enemies of Soviet Union take notice.
“Vedomosti” takes a look at unexpected developments in the Litvinenko murder case. According to the paper, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office sees YUKOS co-owner Leonid Nevzlin as a suspect in the case. The daily says some experts believe this is a pretext to having Nevzlin extradited to Russia and then tried in the YUKOS case. Scotland Yard has not commented, while Nevzlin’s lawyer describes the statement of the Russian investigators as a provocation.

And finally, “Komsomolskaya Pravda” writes about how Russian politicians are planning to celebrate New Year. The daily says President Putin will stay at his country residence with his close family, and says his wife and two daughters have already decorated their New Year Tree. The first Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is heading to a German resort in Bavaria as usual. As for former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, he will have a good time in his country house surrounded by his family. According to the paper, they will enjoy venison, hare and partridge.