The Media Mirror, 16.07.07. What's in today's Russian newspapers?

The press of the weekend pays the most attention to Russia’s moratorium on the conventional armaments treaty for Europe and comments on the Thailand’s Queen visit to Russia.

VEDOMOSTI reminds that the treaty was signed between countries – members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Since then, writes the paper, the Warsaw Pact has ceased to exist, then NATO expanded well beyond its old boundaries in both senses – geographical and political, thus violating the treaty in Russia’s view. And finally, the U.S. has decided to install the elements of the missile defence system and deploy new units in the newly-accepted NATO member countries.

From the Russian point of view, a whole new package of agreements is necessary to accommodate all the new, post-Soviet developments.

KOMMERSANT writes that by signing the moratorium Vladimir Putin took the first step towards the shifting of the military and political balance that had formed in the world in the past 15 years. It is a clear signal that the period of Russia’s weakness is over. The paper does not dismiss the possibility of the West taking up a more moderate position after the initial shock wanes, and a possible return of the treaty to the negotiation table.

MOSKOVSKY KOMSOMOLETS writes that the latest exchange of “pleasantries” by Washington and Moscow is nothing more than “clearing the table” for a new set of negotiations in a new world situation.

“This new situation may also trigger a new wave of confrontation between the US, Poland and a few others on one side… and the ”Old Europe“, like Germany and the Netherlands on the other, over a common position in relation to Russia,” said Dr. Alexander Pikayev of the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations, quoted by the paper.

Back to KOMMERSANT and more pleasant matters. Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand has spent almost two weeks in Russia on a visit dedicated to the 110th anniversary of establishing of diplomatic relations between Russia and Thailand (then Siam). Her Majesty repeated the route of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, a great-grandfather to her husband and also her own ancestor, who visited Russia in 1897.

The Russian Emperor Nicholas II and King Chulalongkorn were lifelong friends. Russia played an important role in the Thai King’s game of balances that helped Siam remain the only independent country in South-East Asia.

St. Petersburg authorities gave a dinner in honor of the Queen on the date of the anniversary. The menu was an exact match of the one on the day in July 1897 when the two monarchs signed the historic document.