The Media Mirror - 18.06.07

Russian press touches upon the perception of democracy in the country, analyses the system of housing loans and the prospects of the Russian ushanka hat in the world of fashion.

Izvestia daily published an exclusive article on the type of democracy that Russians see fit for their country, based on an as yet unpublished report by the Centre for Public Opinion Research.

The survey asked the question: which components of a democratic system of government could flourish in Russia?

79% named the multi-party system, 77%  – free elections, 76 – free and independent media, 45% named equality of all citizens before the law, with 42% giving a negative response on this component.

The Communications Director of the Centre, Igor Eidman comments: the distrust in the equality component comes from the Soviet system where it was declared but not followed.

“After that Perestroika gave hope but it all ended in the forming of oligarchic influence groups which significantly usurped the rights and freedoms of citizens,” he continues.

However, he says, 38% of the participants of the poll think that the principle of equality will prevail sooner or later. And over 70 say that the main obstacle to democracy in Russia is the insufficient income of the majority of the population.

Moskovski Komsomolets newspaper analyses the system of housing loans in Russia. Not more than 10% of the population can afford long-term housing loans, not because the loans are expensive – in the past three years interest on them fell from 14 – 15% to around 12% per year. The problem exists only in the two biggest property markets: Moscow and St. Petersburg where real estate prices are exorbitantly high.

Vremya Novostei daily says that during the summer holidays most Russians will stay at home due to a lack of funds. Holiday travel is not a high priority this year as the increased availability of bank credit more families have to pay monthly instalments on car or furniture loans. No more than 10% of the population will travel to seaside locations within Russia; only 3% are able to spend their holidays abroad. That is still close to 5 MLN people bringing business to the resorts of Europe, Asia and Americas.

Vedomosti business daily writes that in the modern world of fashion every nation is encouraged to add elements of its own dress culture and they even might be a huge success. Who knows, a few years from now ushanka (cap with ear-flaps) may become the hit of the season.