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

The main topics in the Russian weeklies are The October Revolution, the situation in Georgia and the state of Russia-EU relations. Each subject has spawned a host of editorials, comments, views and interviews.

PROFILE editor Mikhail Leontiev writes that the Russian Empire was held together by a layer of Russian-European culture in the minds of the educated classes and by Christianity. The Bolshevik revolution wiped out both. Russian history had to start anew.

Editor of MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI Vitaly Tretyakov writes in his on-line column: Saakashvili has proved to be uncontrollable, even by the United States. The Georgian President is now the most dangerous leader in the Caucasus. Prolongation of his rule may give birth to a large-scale war.

Mikhail Saakashvili says in an interview with NOVAYA GAZETA, which he gave when the protests were already in full swing: “This is not a political crisis of any sort. This is the beginning of the election campaign of 2009.” The paper’s columnist who interviewed him writes: Georgia’s military budget is 10% of the state expenditure, while Russia’s is only 3%.

RUSSIA IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS. In an article called “The Georgian Warning”, Fedor Lukyanov compares Georgia and Ukraine: in Ukraine the political class has been learning the uneasy craft of compromise, with every bitterly-contested disputes ending in negotiations rather than civil war. In Georgia, the 2003 revolution brought about a system built around one leader. The author says Russia is making a similar choice by promoting the institution of a national leader. The writer goes on to say: the problem is not in the leader, who has proven himself as a most capable one, but in the chance that the system would lose the “automatic controls” of democratic procedure.

MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI: The Russki Mir or “Russian World” foundation, created a few months ago to promote Russian language and culture, was presented to the public last week by its director, Vyacheslav Nikonov. The weekly says: the foundation has grand plans of uniting Russian speakers around the World.

SELSKAYA ZHIZN, a newspaper with mass circulation in the rural areas, reports on a people’s diplomacy event: the First European Russian Forum. It took place on the European Parliament premises and was dedicated to the unity of the 10 million Russian speakers living in the EU. It shows a picture of Tatyana Zhdanok, the first Russian speaking member of the European parliament. She hopes ethnic Russians can help solve problems existing between Russia and the European Union.