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28 Jun, 2007 07:04

The Media Mirror - 28.06.07

Today's Russian newspapers are dominated by three stories: the visit of President Hugo Chavez, the re-appointment of Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov and Russian-Chinese military exercises.

The main news of the day is the visit to Russia of the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.
VEDOMOSTI has two opinion pieces.
The first of the two, “With Chavez in the background”, analyses the role of the Chavez visit in relation to Russia’s international strategy.  Chavez' visit takes place just before President Putin’s departure for the U.S. for a tête-à-tête with President Bush. The paper writes:
“The Chavez visit on the eve of the meeting with Bush allows Putin to fine-tune his image. On the one hand, the Kremlin demonstrates its foreign policy independence one more time.  On the other hand, the State Duma has denied Chavez an appearance and a speech at its plenary meeting – a decision passed with a majority vote.”
The second article, titled “In Fidel Castro’s Footsteps”, speaks of Chavez positioning himself as an heir to Cuba's Fidel Castro as the world’s main champion in the struggle against American Imperialism, with the full consent of Fidel himself. Meanwhile, Venezuela is maintaining its 11% share of the oil import market in the U.S.
IZVESTIA focuses on five-times Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Three times elected and twice appointed, he will again wear the golden Chain of Moscow at his inauguration ceremony a week from now.
VREMYA NOVOSTEI quotes Luzhkov as saying: “I wish it was an election.” Well, it actually was, in a sense. Not a direct election by the people of Moscow, and with a Presidential blessing, but an election still, by the Moscow City Council members through a secret ballot. He won 32 out of 35 votes, says the paper.                                                         
Back to IZVESTIA which, together with an unnamed member of the Russian General Staff, suspects that the Chinese have been trying to dominate the international military exercise “Mission for Peace”, planned by the Shanghai Co-operation Organization for August. The exercise will be held on Russian territory and will involve more than 5,000 military personnel from China, Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and observers from Uzbekistan.  Forty-six aircraft of various types and more than sixty tanks and armored vehicles will also be involved. The Chinese side tried to increase its presence from 1,600 troops to several thousand, and also tried to supply five times more ammunition than necessary. It's all a matter of scale.  In China, a million-strong exercise is probably considered small, so what is sixteen hundred men for the People’s Liberation Army?