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

Power transfer in Russia: is Putin creating a new precedent? – is on of the key topics in focus of Russia’s weeklies. Also, one of the magazines publishes an article by a senior sociologist saying Russians are better than politicians think.

MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI Editor in Chief, Vitaly Tretiakov writes power succession in Russia looks like an experiment in managed democracy, and sees nothing wrong in it. Western democracy, he writes, is also managed, only in a less direct way. For example, he says, after public referendums in two EU countries caused the idea of an EU Constitution to be dropped, the European bureaucracy simply split it into several independent documents and is now passing them one by one on the quiet, at summits and through local legislative bodies.

In the same weekly, columnist Aleksey Zudin writes: the announcement of Dmitry Medvedev’s offer to Vladimir Putin became a pledge of allegiance by Medvedev, and also a good remedy for the “lame duck” effect. Putin doesn’t have to actually become a Prime Minister; he just has to keep the intrigue going until election day.

PROFILE’s cover story is the ‘Tradition of power transfer in Russia’. Historian Grigory Gerasimov writes, “One half of all Russian supreme rulers were forcefully removed from power”. Every time in history it was the elite surrounding the throne that made or removed a czar or a leader. Putin, says the author, is creating a new tradition by walking out on the executive power and creating a separate elite around him, based on the landslide election victory of United Russia. The writer says, in the future that new elite may become an important pillar of Russian democracy.

In OGONYOK Dr. Vladimir Petuhov of the Institute of Sociology says recent research shows drastic changes in the self-identity of Russians. They are nostalgic about the achievements of the USSR, they are supportive of Russia’s new active foreign policy, but they are firmly in favor of the market economy and democracy. They chose United Russia because at the moment they value the stability of their business and work over more abstract notions. They are much better and smarter than the politicians think of them, adds the academic.

The same publication’s picture of the week presents a nation that exists in complete harmony with its Monarch. The King of Thailand, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej who has been on the throne for 61 years celebrated his 80th Birthday on December 5.