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

What experts are saying while the UN Security Council discusses Kosovo? Putin becomes Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. These topics dominate the Russian papers on Thursday.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA quotes experts on the Kosovo problem: Aleksandr Anderson, Director of the Kosovo project, the International Crisis Group in Pristina says “Kosovo is a unique case in history. There are no special resolutions on, say, Abkhazia or South Ossetia. Regional political bodies and many countries are ready to recognise Kosovo.”

Aleksandr Rahr of Germany thinks “The Kosovo problem will cause a breach in EU Defence policy and Foreign Affairs. This will make the EU weaker. Meanwhile, relations between the West and Russia will not suffer greatly if the Security Council fails to agree on a resolution.”

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA says there is no chance for a new Security Council resolution on Kosovo as Russia would inevitably veto any support for self-proclaimed independence, while the U.S. would veto any prolongation of the Kosovo talks. The paper quotes Russian diplomats as saying the current discussion of the Kosovo issue in the Council is nothing but an attempt to change national borders without a bilateral agreement – the first such attempt since the WW2.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA, the issue of December 19 has an article by Sir Tony Brenton, the British Ambassador in Russia. He writes that Russia is an important partner of the UK in international affairs. However, he continues that solving the Kosovo problem by a UN Security Council resolution, the method Russia supports, didn’t work. Now, says the envoy, any more delay is impossible, and Russia has to act responsibly.

In his column in ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA Sergey Karaganov writes that the U.S. and some other NATO members want to close the book on Kosovo as fast as possible in order to legitimise the Belgrade air raids of 1999 and to continue the post-Cold War inertia of the previous century when those who “won” the Cold War were dictating to all others. Russia has no reason to support NATO, especially after the political sin it committed by bombing Yugoslavia. That air war led to a feeling of impunity, and that to the tragedy of Iraq.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI reports that Vladimir Putin has been chosen as Time Magazine’s Person of the year. The paper says before Putin Mikhail Gorbachev was Person of the Year once, as well as being named Person of the Decade. Before him Stalin (twice), Khrushchev and Andropov were also recipients.