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4 Aug, 2007 02:37

The Media Mirror - What's in the weekend’s Russian press?

This weekend, Russian weeklies feature an interview with the Chairman of Russia's Central Electoral Commission, as well as provide their understanding of the new British Foreign Minister David Miliband's policy regarding to Russia.

ITOGI weekly publishes an interview with the Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission, Vladimir Churov. The reporter notices there is no portrait of President Putin on the walls of Churov's office. The bearded patriarch of Russian democratic politics answers that there is a photograph of Mr Putin together with the late St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak that he took himself on a trip to Germany years back, and that picture is quite sufficient – he doesn't like to create personality cults.

Vladimir Churov became a member of the first St. Petersburg City Assembly in 1991 by registering himself as an independent candidate, campaigning all by himself with a bit of help from a few friends who agreed to distribute his leaflets in the street, and winning over four competitors.

The reporter quotes a famous phrase by Mr Churov: 'My first law is – Putin is always right'. Churov reacts immediately – that's out of context and not complete: “I said, Churov's first law is: Putin is always right, because Putin never breaks the law.”

Vladimir Churov is bent on making the election as clean as it can be, writes the weekly. He talks of re-elections and replacing members of electoral commissions in those districts where the turnout ends up lower than 35%. He is absolutely sure that at least 60% is going to be the average nationwide.

A month before the campaign starts, he fights daily with local authorities to choose and confirm election commissioners who are not dependent on any local or outside interests. But he says, “This war is fought by polite verbal means. I am sure I won't have to wear all this, like in that picture – it's from my inspection trip to Palestine.”

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA newspaper that publishes this picture writes about Mr Churov: “Once again, he bets his famous beard on the clean nature of the upcoming Duma elections and intends to still have it to bet the next time and many times more.”

ITOGI also has a biographical sketch on the new British Foreign Minister, titled 'Comrade Miliband'. The question in focus is how the family background of a Red Army Cavalry Grandfather dubbed an Outstanding Theoretician of the political left corresponds with the anti-Russian polonium-rattling campaign of his first month in office. Especially with the campaign waning of late, and many supporters becoming skeptical. The weekly suggests that having involved himself deeply in this scandal, Comrade Miliband has taken an uncalculated risk.