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The Media Mirror – A review of the weekend's Russian press

Four issues dominate Russia's weeklies: Vladimir Putin in politics, countdown to the Duma election, Russia and the U.S. in world politics, and finally: portrait of a living classic – Victor Pelevin turns 45.

MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI chief Editor Vitaly Tretyakov writes about Vladimir Putin’s latest political steps. After his stadium speech, in which the President boosted political awareness among the young generation, the only thing left for Putin was to threaten his supporters.  If the vote count is lower than he expects, he could simply walk out of politics, without leaving a successor.

The same weekly presents Dragomir Karich, a Serbian businessman and politician who has just organised a conference in Belgrade. It's about the role of Vladimir Putin in modern Geopolitics. Karich, prominent in Serbia's opposition, says he shares Putin’s rejection of the idea that Kosovo is a special case. He says every country has its own Kosovo. An abrupt declaration of independence there could set a precedent that many in the world would live to regret.

ITOGI has its usual countdown: two weeks to the election. Question: Could Putin leave his post after the Duma election to work as an MP and then in March run for President again? Instead of giving an answer, Election Commission’s Vladimir Churov quotes the Constitution: one person can occupy the position of President for no more than two consecutive terms.

The PROFILE magazine's Chief Editor Mikhail Leontiev describes the events in Pakistan as another U.S.-sponsored “Orange Revolution”. A dangerous game, he writes, in the only Muslem country with nuclear weapons, a place where Islamic fundamentalism is especially strong, and where extremists from Afghanistan always find space for their training camps.

NOVAYA GAZETA has an interview with the U.S. Ambassador in Moscow, William Burns. He says anti-Americanism has been caused by the foreign policy mistakes that America admits. The good news, he says, is that the U.S. is always capable of learning from its mistakes. He says the U.S. is not perfect, but is trying hard.

OGONYOK celebrates Victor Pelevin’s 45th birthday. The weekly says the living classic of Russian literature has made his mark on many literary genres and has been translated into several languages. He also invented a number of fictional plots that have been widely copied. To note just one: it’s hard to to imagine the Matrix trilogy without Pelevin's vintage novel: “Prince of the Gosplan”.