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

In Wednesday’s Russian newspapers: the State of the Union by George Bush – a swan song of a lame duck or a road map for a Republican successor? And – a word about journalist’s home work.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI quotes Russian experts saying the State of the Union speech this time was a typical speech of a president ready to depart from the political arena. Anatoly Utkin says: the international part of the speech didn’t suggest any new ideas. Bush repeatedly praises the successful operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but says nothing of when the Iraq war is going to end.

KOMMERASANT writes in his speech that President Bush tried his best to put the blame for his administration’s “unfinished business” on the Democratic majority in Congress.

The same paper has a comment from analyst Boris Makarenko, who notes that in spite of wide criticism by both the Democrats and some of his fellow Republicans, President Bush opted to deliver the State of the Union address himself instead of filing it in the written form as President Carter did in a similar situation.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA Bush may be a lame duck for the Americans, but for the world he will still be President of the United States for a period that is quite sufficient for something unexpected to happen. The editorial says the foreign policy priorities for the last months of his presidency include continuing the war in Iraq to a complete victory, and taking all possible steps to block the creation of nuclear weapons by Iran. That’s not to mention his ambitious goal to spread of the liberal-democratic values to the vast area from Cuba to Belarus and to Myanmar.

KOMMERSANT publishes a seemingly thorough biography of the new Prime Minister of Thailand, Samak Sundharavej. Having described his five-decade-long career as a right-wing politician the paper ends up concluding that “most Thais, however, know Mr Sundharavej much better as the host of a popular TV cooking show”. Well, I would say, the man likes to joke about the supremacy of cooking over politics. But taking a politician’s signature jest for the real thing speaks of a lack of homework on the part of the publication.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA falls in the same trap set out by an ITAR-TASS report highlighting the cooking abilities of a career politician who served as Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in several previous governments, and as an elected Mayor of Bangkok as well.