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

Vladimir Putin’s future is featured in IZVESTIA’s collection of opinion pieces. Russia says a sweet and tasty “no” to meddling in its affairs and are the enemies we have the enemies we deserve? These topics are addressed by Russian newspapers.

A picture on the front page of IZVESTIA is titled “Friends and Foes of Vladimir Putin”. The caption reads: the enemies are known by name and number. They are few. Then why all this sudden tension in the election campaign?

Vitaly Ivanov from the Centre for Current Political Studies offers an answer. He says, Putin’s phrase “nothing is yet defined once and for all”, means Russia’s stability is still fragile. The period of Presidential power transition is a most dangerous time – first of all because of our “offshore aristocrats” who made fortunes out of the nation’s peril in the 1990s, and those who dream of making new fortunes if that time returns.

Alexander Rahr, a well-known German expert on Russia, writes that Putin is unlikely to use the legitimate trick of vacating his post for three months and running for President in March. That is against the spirit of the Russian Constitution. He may select a favourite who would be glad to give him back his seat in a while. Or he may recommend someone strong, like Sergey Ivanov, who won’t be so keen about parting with power. This is a true Shakespearean drama, says Rahr.

In the same issue IZVESTIA reports from the reception for foreign Ambassadors at which President Putin, before inviting the envoys to enjoy a good variety of international and Russian food, reminded them that Russia is not going to permit any foreign-inspired corrections to its evolution.

KOMMERSANT writes that the President’s saying was a prelude to a democratic choice offered to the diplomats: between caviar tartalettes and Bresaola salad.

Also in IZVESTIA, Maxim Grigoriev from the Foundation for Democracy Studies says about Russia’s fake opposition: “The Other Russia” and their like are not a real opposition, they are totally irrelevant. At the moment Russia doesn’t have a real opposition at all. A lot of people in the West think that by giving money to Kasparov and similar figures they help improve democracy in Russia. There is a chapter in my book that has a subtitle: for CIA officers. It says all these guys are not as much cheating the Russian people as they are cheating their Western sponsors.