The Media Mirror - Today's Russian press review

Most Russian newspapers on Wednesday write about the visit of French President, Nicholas Sarkozy. But some find space to comment further on Vladimir Putin’s decision to run for Parliament.

Nicholas Sarkozy's visit to Moscow is featured  in every newspaper. There is the usual parade of headlines: ‘We receive Sarkozi with an open heart and an armored train on a spare track’, ‘The dinner of the two Presidents’, ‘To Russia without love?’, ‘Nicholas Sarkozi – from Paris with love, but without the wife’.

This one, in IZVESTIA, reads: ‘Taxi-5, Putin knows where France is going’. The paper says, in this particular case France is going to have dinner with Russia at an undisclosed destination.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes, Sarkozi came in the company of his advisors but without the Foreign Minister. Experts read it as a sign that he is forming his foreign policy himself and believes in the personal touch. The paper says, Moscow hopes that the new French President will continue the role of his predecessor as protector of Russia’s interests in Europe.

Prior to the visit MOSKOVSKIE NOVOSTI published an interview with the Director of Russian Research at the French Institute of International Relations.

Tomas Gomar says, President Sarkozi will try to persuade Vladimir Putin to increase the pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. He will also try to influence Russia’s position on Kosovo. U.S. missile defence in Europe will also be discussed, as well as France’s intention to resume talks on membership of the military organization of NATO.

IZVESTIA has an interview with the former French Foreign Minister, Hubert Vedrin.

He says, it is too early to say whether France is drastically changing its foreign policy. Even Nicholas Sarkozi, nicknamed “The American”, once said about the relations with the U.S.: “alliance and friendship don’t mean subservience”. For France, Russia is an important but difficult partner. Russia sets her own pace on the road to democracy. Russia will never become a clone of Western democracies. Our political dialogue must be built on this notion. It must be consistent and clear. And it must not be dependent on the fluctuations of American policies.

The same paper has a column by political scientist Alexander Tsipko. He says, Vladimir Putin’s decision to run for Parliament was prompted by a sense of responsibility. The column says, the people don’t want the election to turn into a game of Russian Roulette. Very few in Russia want a real change of power at the moment. By taking this step Vladimir Putin is doing his best to spare the country a return to hard times without changing the Constitution.