The Media Mirror – this weekend’s press

Russia’s international relations under scrutiny once more in Russia’s press on the first weekend of 2008.

ITOGI weekly writes that the choice of Vladimir Putin as the Person of the Year 2007 by Time Magazine has left the Russian President in the good company of his predecessors such as Stalin, Khrushchev, Andropov and Gorbachev. All of them, says ITOGI, had their own path for Russia – the Third Way, neither East nor West.

The same magazine has an interview with the Russian President' First Deputy Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov. He speaks about “Russian Winter”, the annual festival in Trafalgar Square: The culture and business relations didn’t suffer much from the truly Siberian frost that has settled now in London in relation to political ties with Russia.

Of the number one presidential candidate, Dmitry Medvedev, Peskov says that those who think that he is softer than Putin are gravely mistaken. Medvedev will not sacrifice Russia’s interest in any matter, big or small. He is businesslike, pragmatic and firm enough. Soon everyone will feel it.

Konstantin Remchukov, the proprietor and Chief Editor of NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes in PROFILE magazine that the current US policy of stimulating production by cheaper credit effectively puts the worries about the value of the US dollar on the shoulders of other nations – those who keep their national wealth in US dollars. Russia is among those doing so. A pragmatic but cynical policy, says the author. But one thing that is encouraging is that the U.S. financial system is firmly controlling inflation at 2%. For those who have their savings in US dollars doom is not coming soon.

Back to ITOGI. Professor of the Moscow Orthodox Christian Academy, Andrey Kuraev, writes Orthodox Christianity has always been archaic in its ways, so in the early years there was no Christmas celebration and all emphasis was placed on Easter, the resurrection rather than birth. The Christmas tree came to Russia 300 years ago. In Soviet times it was downgraded and called the New Year Tree.

The Star of Bethlehem on the top became a Kremlin red star illuminating the path to Communism. Now Christmas is back, says the professor, but he calls the holiday what it is – ten days of overeating and heavy drinking – the 'genocide' of the Russian people carried out with total support from society.