The Media Mirror: what's in today's Russian newspapers?

No external force will affect the Russian election, says Vladimir Putin. Noah's Ark moors at Annapolis – 49 nations send their best minds to America to save mankind from the eternal problem of the Middle East. The absurdity of Kosovo &ndas

All newspapers report on Vladimir Putin's trip to St. Petersburg and especially on the meeting with the winners of the Professional Team of the Nation contest. There, says ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA, while answering a question on the election monitors from the Bureau of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the President blamed the U.S. State Department for advising the monitor agency against coming to Russia for the Duma election.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes, the President's remarks were addressed to the finalists of a contest sponsored by the United Russia party. The contest was organised in order to discover the best organisational and administrative talent among young party functionaries and business managers who could be promoted to positions of national importance.

Meantime, ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA writes, many analysts predicted that at Annapolis, the Palestinian State will finally be proclaimed. The paper responds to that with a saying the former Secretary of State Madeline Albright loves to repeat: “If my mama had wheels she would have been a bicycle”. However, continues the paper, this conference will go down in the history of the Middle East as a massive effort at finding common ground for all sides in the conflict.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI insists that the U.S. administration, especially George Bush himself and Condoleezza Rice, are hell-bent on the creation of a Palestinian state before the end of their term in October 2008. That could become a Bush team achievement that history is unlikely to forget, continues the paper. 

IZVESTIA writes about the report of the Foreign Relations Committee of the British Parliament that calls plans to deploy elements of U.S. missile defence in Europe “the way to break up the continent”. The paper says, conveniently the document arrives just before the talks on missile defence between Sergey Lavrov and Condoleezza Rice at Annapolis.

The same newspaper has a column by the chairman of the Russian Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee Konstantin Kosachev. He writes about the Balkans: Kosovo is a special case after all. It is special because of the position of the U.S. and the EU, who are ready to recognise Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence and let the rest of the world share the responsibility.