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

We continue the review of the January edition of EXPERT magazine. Let me remind you, it’s a weekly publication and this special edition is issued for the first two weeks of the year 2008. Five hundred years of the Russian Empire – including the

Pavel Bykov sees the main engine in the evolution of the Russian Empire in the spirit of the Russian people and the Orthodox morality: Russia never succeeded in Capitalism not because of excessive centralization and slavery but because of spiritual and moral distrust of Capitalism. He writes: neither Russia nor the Soviet Union ever challenged their geopolitical rivals industrially or financially. We never had real Capitalism. But we must not forget our advantages such as our faith, our spirit, our talent, our culture and our view of the World.

Historian Alexander Gorianin compares the living conditions in Russia and the West in the past 500 years and concludes that Russians lived better more often then not. Before the end of the XIX-th Century Russia hadn’t experienced overpopulation, there was always unoccupied land for expansion, the Russian diet was much more diverse and the have-nots in a winter Russia suffered much less from the cold than their Western contemporaries in a milder winter, because firewood and fur clothes were never in deficit.

Felix Razumovski writes, utilization and gradual population of vast space is an integral part of the Russian civilization. He says, the notion of Russian Land was born ages earlier than the notion of Russians as a people and became the basic element of the Russian spirit. Even the Russian Empire was born not as much by the conquering of other peoples but by spreading the space of Russian land and Russian spirit, Russian culture to new lands adjacent to the old ones. The author writes, we should not forget that in our current search for a national idea.

One of the best Western experts on Russian history, a professor at the London School of Economics, Dominic Lieven says in an interview with the magazine: in the XVIII-XIXth Centuries Russia had no other way to develop independently except by becoming a mighty geopolitical Empire. The main problem with this Empire was that it was situated too far from the core of Western civilization of which it was for Centuries, an integral, but peripheral part.