The Media Mirror – Today's Russian press review

All papers discuss the big news of the day. Russia's Chief Financial Rregulator, Viktor Zubkov, is set to be the country's next Prime Minister. He was nominated for the job by the President following the resignation of long-serving PM Mikhail Fradkov and

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA reports on Wednesday’s political events in a lengthy article headlined in the manner of railway destinations: “Fradkov – Zubkov”.

It also publishes excerpts from several past interviews with Viktor Zubkov. Let’s see just one, from his time as the chief of “Financial Intelligence”.

“We should have been monitoring the financial flow from the start, from the early 1990s. But 15 years ago we didn’t have financial intelligence.

Q: Do you mean in that case the names of the Russian oligarchs might have been different today?

A: No. I mean we would have had much fewer oligarchs.”

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA. The article starts with a heavy-set and a gloomy intro: “The Cabinet of Mikhail Fradkov has fallen…” But the rest of the two-page story is not dramatic in the slightest. The paper describes the change of the Cabinet as a “Velvet Revolution”. It quotes an unnamed source in the Government as saying: the decision was made two weeks ago.

The article quotes a Russian political expert as saying that most probably the choice of Viktor Zubkov as the candidate for Prime Minister confirms President Putin’s habit of thoroughly planned systematic moves. Viktor Zubkov, if confirmed by the Duma, has a good chance of staying a long time, says the expert, to become a counterbalance to the next President of Russia.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA insists that on Wednesday morning Prime Minister Fradkov still didn't know his own resignation. The article continues to say that the unexpectedness of executive personnel-related decisions in Russia is well-known. Fradkov himself became Prime Minister in this manner three and a half years ago.

The same paper has a biography of Viktor Zubkov. It includes the emotional memories of his former colleagues from 25 years ago. Then Zubkov was the Director of the best State Agricultural Enterprise in the Leningrad region. He’d put it together from scratch. The Enterprise was getting more milk per cow than the best farms in neighbouring Finland.

One more KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA article speculates that Zubkov is going to be Putin’s replacement as President. All other papers mention this option too. But most tend to dismiss it.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI wishes Viktor Zubkov many happy returns. It calls the Cabinet “a great big shining present” for his 66th birthday that falls on the coming Saturday.