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

From completed elections in Uzbekistan and Poland to the upcoming one in Georgia – after a New Year rest the Russian press gets back into action.

IZVESTIA’s weekly supplement. Columnist Maksim Sokolov criticises the Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission, Vladimir Churov, for his evaluation of the recent election in Uzbekistan as exemplary. The columnist says enthusiasts of immediate installation of flourishing democracy everywhere have lately cooled down. It doesn’t alter the fact that the incumbent President of Uzbekistan is an oriental despot. It doesn’t alter yet another fact that an abrupt importation of democracy will cause such a mess that President Karimov’s rule will seem a golden age. Still, says the writer, there are many stops between excellent and nasty for the Electoral Commission Chairman to choose from.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA weekly’s foreign affairs supplement writes that an era of liberal pragmatism has begun in Poland with the election of Donald Tusk to the post of Prime Minister. In Russian-Polish relations a positive emotional atmosphere has returned after a very long absence. However, writes the paper, both Moscow and Warsaw still lack a strategic vision of each other.

The same weekly says that in just a few days, right after the election, we shall know what kind of year 2008 will be for Georgia. One thing is clear, continues the paper, it’s hard to expect the opposition to abstain from street actions.

OGONIOK weekly says that President Saakashvili, universally loved a few years ago, has lost a lot of support. Some of the best minds of his revolution are now among the opposition. The magazine quotes former Saakashvili supporters as saying the President has failed to pass the test of power. Years at the helm have changed his character and his priorities.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA weekly has the story of a man who revealed a dark secret to his wife after 27 years of happy marriage. Once in their youth the lady had trouble choosing between him and another suitor, so the man hired an old gypsy to impersonate a fortune teller. He had the gypsy “accidentally” cross the usual path his girl took to work. As a result the girl had her fortune “read” and a few days later she said “yes” to the man. The plot was discovered when the wife, now a grandmother of two, suggested they both had their fortunes read as it had worked so well for them once in the past.