The Media Mirror – Today's Russian press review

The twists and turns of Georgian politics and south-east Asia's reliance on Russian trade – both are mentioned extensively.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes that the United Opposition of Georgia has announced the name of its presidential candidate. Levan Gachechiladze, one of the leaders of the recent protests, was a predictable option. But the announcement came earlier than planned, says the paper. The opposition promised to name the candidate only after the state of emergency was lifted. The announcement by the Labour Party of its own separate candidate, Shalva Natelashvili, came as a surprise and triggered an early launch of the election campaign.

So, there goes the united opposition? Not necessarily, writes the paper and quotes a Georgian political scientist, Georgy Hughesvili: at the last moment before the election all “extra” candidates may abort their campaigns and support a single candidate with the best chance to win.

TRUD writes that envoys from the leading world nations and international organisations have arrived in Tbilisi to ask unpleasant questions about November 7. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Brize delivered a message from Condoleezza Rice, demanding the state of emergency be lifted and the restoration of normal television broadcasting. The U.S., writes the paper, seems to want the government and opposition to share the blame for the recent events.

IZVESTIA gives biographical data of every opposition candidate and quotes a Soros Fund executive saying, Saakashvili’s chances are 50:50. The Internet poll taken by the newspaper shows that in Russia 38% believe Saakashvili will stay. 37% think the opposition would win but it will pursue the same policies. 16% say anyone is better than the incumbent. 9% believe relations with Russia would improve, because they cannot be any worse than they are today.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI quotes the Russian Ambassador in Bangkok, Evgeny Afanasyev, who says the Kingdom of Thailand is Russia’s number one trade partner in South-east Asia. The envoy says it would be great if the share of military and technical co-operation would become more prominent in the $US 2 BLN trade turnover. The interview was taken during the exhibition Defence and Security 2007 where Russian arms and military equipment drew the usual large amount of attention. The paper says participating in the annual exhibition is one of the steps Russia is taking to enter the Thai and South-east Asian arms market which has been traditionally American for decades.