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

Thursday's Russian newspapers feature more commentary about the planned Medvedev-Putin duo and stories about the Conventional forces treaty moratorium.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA publishes an interview with Alexander Shohin, formerly a Deputy Prime Minister of Russia who's now the President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. He says, the fate of the ministers in Putin’s cabinet will not cause anyone envy. Shohin says, in the past years we haven’t seen many ministers sacked for poor performance. That is going to change: Vladimir Putin will be a tough Prime Minister.

Of the expected policy changes Shohin says: Medvedev is not a classic Liberal, he and his subordinates accept the important role of the state in the economy. However they are true and firm followers of the market and democracy.

The Director of Russian and Eurasian programs at the World Security Institute in Washington, Nikolai Zlobin, names the following among Dmitry Medvedev’s merits: he represents the Liberal wing of the Kremlin; he has never been a career builder and always rejected the idea of Vladimir Putin’s third term; he will return to the policies of Putin’s first Presidential term including the liberalisation of society and economic reform; besides, Medvedev enjoys an initial positive image in the world. But, says Zlobin – Medvedev lacks his own political programme, he is presumed to be a soft manager and he has no team of his own to bring into the Kremlin.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA has an editorial on the Russian moratorium on the Conventional forces treaty. It quotes General Yuri Baluevski as saying: NATO members make totally unreasonable requests, like the one to withdraw Russian armed forces veterans living on military pensions from Abkhazia. The paper says the moratorium allows Russia to ignore these requests.

Quoted by VREMYA NOVOSTEI Gennady Yevstafiev, a retired Lieutenant-General in Russian Foreign intelligence and a man who contributed extensively to the original text of the treaty, says: the Istanbul agreements of which our Western partners care so much are not represented in the text of the treaty at all. Not a word on Russian troops in Moldova or Georgia. Those were Boris Yeltsin’s political obligations. He took them upon himself so he could look like a real democrat in the eyes of our NATO partners. We are still dealing with the consequences…