The Media Mirror – this weekend’s press

The forthcoming election continues to make headlines in Russian weeklies, with writers saying that presidential campaigns in Russia and the U.S. are very much alike. Both countries’ military bases in Kyrgyzstan are next door neighbours. The teaching of re

ITOGI. The Popularity of the Putin plan is such that one of the witticisms of the last week, belonging to an opposition activist, Nikolay Travkin, runs: in Russia the ruling party consists of those who love Putin very much, and the opposition – of those who simply love Putin.

The same publication says last week the Putin plan was finally revealed. “The Strategy of Russia's Development up to the Year 2020” will definitely become a Bible for at least two future Russian Presidents.

OGONYOK. Fyodor Lukianov writes some events in the presidential campaigns in Russia and the U.S. seem very much alike. But if the American campaign has a lot of intrigue and brings about an undetermined future, in the Russian campaign everything was clear before it ever began. The author writes in the U.S. unlike the previous time, the campaign is driven by ideology, different for every candidate. It means this time there is public demand for change. In Russia there is no such thing in 2008, the election is more about the continuation of the same successful policies.

The same magazine looks at two Air Force bases in Kyrgyzstan. One is Russian, placed there as a shield against extremism and drug trafficking, and the other American, which is part of the Afghanistan operation. They are no more than 30 kilometres apart, they both help local schools and orphanages, their everyday activities don't differ all that much, but they don't interact. The writer says if the Russian base looks like a permanent fixture, the American one reminds of a base camp of aliens from outer space who are determined to complete their task in a hostile environment.    

The same magazine reports on the dispute between the Russian Orthodox Church which suggests “Basics of Orthodox Christianity” to be taught at schools, and a group of academics promoting a course of History of World Religions instead. The Church wants Orthodox-only classes and urges other religious communities to do the same. The academics believe in the usual mixed classes. The argument has been taken to the Education ministry for consideration. Many wonder, writes the magazine, will separate religious studies at school put us in danger of breeding religious conflict.