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23 Aug, 2007 06:37

The Media Mirror – Today's Russian press review

The Russian press today focus on the following: Has the war in Chechnya really ended? What relations between strategic bomber pilots, and counterpart fighter pilots, are regarded as normal? Who can ruin the Moscow-Beijing-Delhi informal alliance?

War ends. With a full stop. Or a comma? This question is asked by Vremya Novostei. The paper publishes a report on a recent opinion survey on the situation in Chechnya. The poll was taken by the Yury Levada Poll Agency. There were 1600 participants.

The poll says, this year for the first time, only 41% of Russians say that there is a war in Chechnya. In previous years this figure always exceeded one half of the participants.

So, the majority think the war is over. But the paper also notes that even a bigger majority says the situation in the Northern Caucasus is unstable and will remain so for years to come.

Only 17% believe that military operations in Chechnya will have to continue. Last year this figure was much higher at 25 %, concludes the paper.

There is an aviation-related story that rivals Moscow air show reports. Russian strategic bombers found near British airspace and photographed by British fighter pilots. This is one of the pictures. It is from Izvestia.

The paper says, it was taken from several hundred meters. In the old days of the cold war, continues the publication, such pictures were considered mediocre. Shots taken from just a few meters were valued much higher. In those days the pilots knew each other by face. It was also normal for the psychological warfare people to sing “Happy Birthday” over the radio to a commander of an opposing force’s aircraft on his actual birthday.

Contact in midair is normal when airspace patrol operations are on, says the article and quotes Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, Deputy Chief of the Russian Air Force:

“We do not consider the escorting of our bombers on patrol by NATO fighters as incidents. It normally goes on for 5 – 6 hours on a 14-hour patrol flight.”

Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes about the visit to India of the Japanese Prime Minister, Sindzo Abe. The article says:

“First the U.S. and now Japan, using their economic might, are strengthening strategic ties with India, thus opposing Beijing and Moscow.”

The article continues to say that the actions by Japan may ruin the informal alliance of Russia, India and China. This alliance has been pronounced a foreign relations priority by Moscow.

Trud asks Russians: how many books have you read this year?

Russia still remains the biggest reader among the nations of the world. 62% of the population regularly read fiction. Only 15% admit that they never touch books.