The Media Mirror, 17.07.07. What's in today's Russian newspapers?

Tuesday's Russian newspapers concentrate on the Russia-UK crisis and also reminds readers about the anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad.

KOMMERSANT has a picture of Big Ben and the Spasskaya Tower of the Kremlin carved from ice and standing together on a plate at some Russia-UK function. If originally the two ice towers symbolised friendship, today the emphasis is not on the shape but the material: as the paper says, relations are at their coldest for several decades.

The paper, as well as VEDOMOSTI, another business daily, repeat the British Foreign Secretary's definition of the situation as “paradoxical”, as the economic co-operation is at its highest at the moment. Both criticise the UK for the suggestion that Russia should amend its Constitution to accommodate the extradition of Andrey Lugovoy.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI has his picture on page two with a quote from him, saying that his case is part of the Litvinenko murder investigation: “Has been about nothing but politics from the very start.”

On the front page of the same newspaper there is a portrait of a very determined Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. A Russian Government Minister has called the British suggestions about amending the Constitution “imperial” and “immoral”.

IZVESTIA, showing a photograph, wonders: what Russia will do with the ball on its side of the tennis court and where the ball will hit in retaliation on the British half of the court? Most probably four British diplomats, presumably those who were already implicated in espionage investigations, will have to go.

IZVESTIA columnist Maxim Sokolov, summing up the whole scandalous situation, writes that deals with the devil usually end with a twist, and sometimes, in Russian folk tales, the twist in the end makes the devil a pitiful figure, fooled by a cunning peasant or the King's Fool. But in real life, says the columnist, the devil usually takes the upper hand.

“That is what happened when the gentlemen in the service of Her British Majesty decided to take on board certain Mr. Platon Elenin, also known as Boris Berezovsky.”

“They probably thought: this is one cunning crook, he can be useful to us. Now they are in the process of finding out, how much use they can make out of him.”

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA reminds us that exactly 65 years ago the Battle of Stalingrad commenced; the battle won by the Red Army that turned the war in favour of the Allied Forces of Russia, the United States and the U.K.