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14 Feb, 2008 03:05

The Media Mirror – Today's Russian press review

The countdown to Kosovo's independence dominates the main Russian newspapers on Thursday – some look forward to it while others find it uncertain and frightening.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA says that over the coming weekend the red banner with a black eagle on it, the symbol of all Albanians, will fly everywhere in the world where Albanians live. No secret is made any more of preparations to form a Kosovo Foreign Ministry and a NATO-sponsored army. Neither of the two was included in the Ahtisaari plan. But today, says the paper, even the EU is past remembering that.

The same paper says Russia is definite and firm about not recognising Kosovo’s independence. In Russia’s opinion, recognition of Kosovo’s independence would threaten world security.

KOMMERSANT quotes its sources in Serbia when it says that authorities there are ready to take steps to nullify any decisions by the Kosovo leadership. However, the paper says President Tadich would rather take the matter to the EU. He may be right, says the article: with the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence, Belgrade’s struggle for Kosovo won’t be over.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI reports from Spain that Bask separatists are openly praising the example of Kosovo as a sign of hope. The paper says, Prime Minister Sapatero fears that the recognition of independent Kosovo by the EU would cause the fall of his cabinet. The El Pais newspaper urged him to “side with Russia as soon as possible”.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA says Kosovo’s independence would put in jeopardy the whole international relations system. It may cause a shift of national borders in Europe on a scale unseen since WW II. The paper quotes Dr. Vladimir Ovchinski, the former head of the Russian bureau of Interpol: Kosovar separatists have a pact with the Taleban and Al Qaida. Even today there is a massive influx of Middle Eastern and Central Asian militants into the territory. The Kosovo state is going to be a criminal drug-peddling Islamic extremist hub in the centre of Europe. It’s not impossible that Kosovo would start a war with Serbia to distract NATO from stepping up its efforts in Afghanistan.