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17 Oct, 2007 02:56

The Media Mirror - Read today's Russian press review

The Russian press on Wednesday gave prominence to President Putin’s visit to Iran – sharing or dividing the Caspian Sea – and to an interview with BBC’s Andrey Ostalsky: ‘Iraq – Bloody Fights of the Gods of Baghdad’.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta notes that Vladimir Putin’s visit to Iran became the first visit of a Russian leader since 1943 when Stalin attended the peace conference with Churchill and Roosevelt.
The paper says the legal status of the Caspian Sea is a long-term issue. Five years ago, at the previous Caspian Summit, the five parties decided to meet again when a joint document would be ready for signing. This time they did sign a joint declaration – about the necessity of achieving an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian. The paper writes the leaders are all sure the issue will finally be solved.
Vremya Novostei says, Iran News, a local English-language newspaper, wrote on the eve of the visit: In the past Putin repeatedly had to postpone his visit because of pressure from the West. If Putin really gets here this time, that would be a great victory of Iranian diplomacy.
Trud gives the background of the Caspian issue: before the collapse of the Soviet Union all relations around the Caspian Sea involved just two states: the USSR and Iran. Today there are five with claims to the Caspian oil, and to sturgeon.
Kommersant speaks of the tight security and nervous atmosphere in Tehran. The paper writes, a journalist carelessly mentioned the name of George Bush aloud right behind the back of President Ahmadinejad. Kommersant says, the Iranian president jumped and fear glimpsed in his usually impassive eyes.
My friend Vladimir Putin – that is how the Iranian President addressed his Russian counterpart all the time, reports Moskovski Komsomolets.  
Vremya Novostei presents Andrey Ostalsky, Chief Editor of BBC Russia, and his spy thriller novel “The Gods of Baghdad”. Ostalsky is an old Middle East hand. In the 1980s he covered Iraq for Soviet newspapers. He says: “I felt joy when the U.S. troops entered Baghdad in 2003. At last the world understood what I knew all along: the regime could not be allowed to destroy its own people any longer. But then I started thinking: do the Americans and the British really understand the strength of ethnic and religious hatred mixed into the everyday life of the Iraqis? Now I say, dividing Iraq into three parts – Kurd, Shiite and Sunni is a terrible option. But all the others are even worse.”