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

The Putin-Medvedev tandem takes on social development, United Russia reshuffles regional leadership and the Serbian opposition candidate wouldn’t swap Kosovo for EU membership – all three topics are featured in the Russian press.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA reports that at a meeting with the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament, President Putin spoke of social development as a priority task in the near future. The President’s vision includes forming a modern social environment around every member of society to improve his or her health, education, living and working conditions. The President emphasised that the system must work to develop the Russian people, not just to sustain it.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI sees the meeting at the Federation Council as one more Presidential campaign event in disguise. The paper also highlights Vladimir Putin’s claim that National Programmes, consuming only 10% of the budget in every sphere they are implemented, prove more effective than regular work that guzzles the remaining 90%.

IZVESTIA interviews well known journalist and TV host Alexey Pushkov who says of the Putin-Medvedev tandem in the next presidency: I think Putin decided to stay in power as Prime Minister to wait and see how Medvedev copes with his Presidential duties. If everything works all right, a couple of years from now Putin may leave politics entirely. If not, if, for instance, the successor fails at controlling the interaction of elite groups, he may return.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA shows a picture of a smiling Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of Chechnya who has recently left the post of regional secretary of the United Russia party. This doesn’t mean getting on Moscow’s naughty list. The paper says the same is happening all over Russia: after the election in which regional leaders doubled as regional party organizers, United Russia is replacing them to avoid a politically dangerous merger of local government and party leadership.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI has an interview with Tomislav Nikolich, the opposition candidate in the Serbian Presidential election. He says, for Serbia the choice between Russia and the EU as main political partner doesn’t exist. It must be both. However, he continues, Serbia cannot accept all the requirements set forth by the EU: Serbia cannot abandon Kosovo. If it becomes a condition for our membership, he adds, we will have to quit the negotiations with Brussels and seek another solution.