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

The Russian press continue to focus on the Duma election. The final count has been announced and both Russian and foreign experts continue to comment on the results. Also on the agenda are the relations between Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churche

IZVESTIA adds the votes received by United Russia to the votes of Fair Russia and concludes that as both these parties are loyal to “Putin’s Plan”, it means that Vladimir Putin has won 72% of the vote.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA adds to that, saying that altogether 90% of the voters support the current Parliament as a whole – meaning all the four parties which made it into the Duma. In 2003, says the paper, that figure was at 70.7%. The paper quotes experts as saying that for the first time in modern Russian history there is a party which represents the vast majority of the population.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA quotes a Kremlin source saying that there will only be one Presidential candidate from United Russia, and he will be chosen out of only two contenders, most probably Sergey Ivanov and Dmitry Medvedev.

IZVESTIA continues the topic with several opinion articles. Dmitry Orlov writes: the “Putin Majority” didn’t consist of the United Russia and Fair Russia supporters alone but included many who voted for Zhirinovskiy’s Liberal Democrats and Zyuganov’s Communists. The author writes, Vladimir Putin has put his all on a national model of democracy, and won.

On the opinion page two columns appear side by side. Vitaly Ivanov of the Centre for Current Political Studies writes that the election confirmed Putin’s role as a “Senior Tsar”, with the new President as the “Junior Tsar”. He also says the election legitimized the view of the 1990s as “the damned past”, full of liberalistic experiments with disastrous results. That is why the pro-Western liberal parties had no chance.

Nikolay Zlobin from Washington writes that United Russia’s landslide means there is now a power monopoly in Russia and that cannot be good. However, he adds, the U.S. will work with any Russia that exists in the real world.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI reports, ice is melting in relations between the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches. During a visit to the Vatican, the Pope granted Archbishop Kirill, the Head of External Church Relations, the longest ever audience for any Russian Orthodox official. Pope Benedict XVI talked to the Archbishop for one hour and ten minutes, which, the paper says, goes totally against usual Vatican protocol.