The Media Mirror - read a review of Friday's Russian press

Russia-U.S. missile defence talks, ties with Bashkortostan and Moscow's tense relationship with Georgia dominate the pages of the country’s press.

IZVESTIA reports from Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan. The territory joined Russia voluntarily 400 years ago and Vladimir Putin has been taking part in the celebrations. The President also called a meeting of the Council of State. It was conducted in Ufa to discuss a wide range of issues including a significant rise in the pensions for senior citizens.

The same paper talks about “Georgia without routes”. Russia and Georgia lived together for 200 years. Who is feeling more pain after the separation? The writer asks. Georgians don’t spend all their time discussing the tricky political scene of their country. They also go to the theatre – to see Russian drama. The old generation regrets the loss of easy access to Russian culture. The moral foundation of Georgian society has been changing. The writer says younger Georgians are missing the soul their fathers possessed, and go to Russian theatres in search of it.

Four heads are better than two, says the headline in VREMYA NOVOSTEY about Friday’s U.S.-Russia negotiations. Aleksandr Pikayev, an expert quoted by the paper says: “It’s a case when having negotiations is better than not having them, even when no practical result is expected. At least the two sides will be able to understand each other better on a wide range of issues”

The same paper says the reason for President Putin’s visit to Teheran next week is not to discuss Iran’s nuclear programme but to participate in the Second Caspian Summit. However, the nuclear problem will also get some attention – on the evening of the last day.

The U.S. Congress and Senate resolutions acknowledging the genocide of Armenians by Turkey in 1915, which may be passed in November, are creating a deep breach in the ranks of NATO, writes VREMYA NOVOSTEY. The paper says up to 70 per cent of supplies and support operations for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan may be in jeopardy.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA reminds its readers that in 2000 President Bill Clinton managed to persuade the Congress not to adopt such a resolution. Today, says the paper, President Bush’s chances are slim: it’s an election year and the Democrats are largely supportive of the draft resolution.

KOMMERSANT says that in the opinion of many experts the U.S. acknowledgement of the genocide is long overdue. The paper points out that the massive slaughter of Armenians in 1915 became the first ever “crime against humanity”, and was described as such by a joint declaration by France, Great Britain and Russia in the same year.