The Media Mirror – review of the weekend’s Russian Press

The Russian weeklies analyze President Putin’s decision to head the parliamentary candidate list of the United Russia party. Another hot topic for the press is the recent visit of Patriarch Aleksy II to Europe.

MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI Chief Editor, Vitaly Tretiakov, doubts that the President is actually going to become an MP or that he is aiming at the post of Prime Minister. This post is at least formally subordinate to that of President. The position of party leader is also shaky. His influence would have to depend on a constitutional majority of at least 65-70%, and that may change. But Putin is a recognized national leader. The author concludes that to stay in politics Putin needs to beef up the role and status of the Security Council and become its head.

Also in MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky says that Putin’s step is just normal electoral tactics. This way the party he has been supporting all along will get the most seats in the Duma. We shouldn’t speculate about his future role in politics. It’s enough to know that he’s leaving the Presidency and there will be another President with another team in the Kremlin.

PROFILE magazine Editor-In-Chief, Mikhail Leontiev, writes that Putin’s decision has turned the upcoming election into a plebiscite on Putin’s legitimacy as national leader. Nations in crisis or in transition need national leaders who are able to inspire and organize a concentrated effort, like Lincoln, Roosevelt, and De Gaul.

OGONYOK presents Vladimir Putin, the Trinity. During one speech at the United Russia party congress he manifested himself in three different incarnations: a non-partisan President, a leader of the largest political party in the country, and a possible future Prime minister.

The magazine has a cartoon. It shows the leaders of the Fair Russia party looking upon Putin as their inspiration, the locomotive of their political train – but the locomotive has disconnected himself and gone ahead as leader of the competition.

Commenting on the visit of Patriarch Aleksy II to Europe, OGONYOK says that the positions of the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches seem to be getting closer. The weekly says that the Christian morality-oriented speech of the Patriarch at the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe echoed some later public speeches by the Pope. It may mean that reaching an agreement between the two biggest congregations of Christianity is more important to them than political correctness, which, in their opinion, sometimes serves sin rather than virtue.