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6 Feb, 2008 04:11

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

Several Russian dailies analyse the consequences of Ukraine joining the WTO before Russia. One newspaper features an interview with Georgia’s Minister for Re-Integration who sees Russia as the main mediator in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Polish Prime

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA writes that the two-year-long WTO race ended with Ukraine’s victory. Both Ukraine and Russia had been waiting to join for 14 years but the last two looked like the last 100 metres in a race. The paper continues that Ukrainian officials are saying they won’t be using the WTO to promote a political agenda, but not everyone in Moscow believe this.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI quotes Aleksandr Shokhin, the Chairman of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. He says “the time gap between Ukraine’s membership and ours may be long enough for Ukraine to beat us to full membership. So Ukraine would be able to meddle with the process of our joining and try to solve to its advantage some problems that may not be of a direct WTO concern”.

KOMMERSANT business daily writes Russia must accelerate all ongoing negotiations on its WTO membership because, if these talks are not completed before June or July, Ukraine, a full member by then, may insist on bilateral talks. This may delay Russia’s full membership by months. 

IZVESTIA says the agrarian sector of Ukraine may suffer from WTO membership: sugar quotas would effectively put out of business up to 20 sugar producing companies, and strict controls over milk quality standards would leave Russia as the sole market for Ukrainian milk. 

VREMYA NOVOSTEI has an interview with Temuri Yakubashvili, the newly-appointed Minister for Re-Integration of Georgia. He says Russia is the only guarantor of security and economic development for Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This should be changed. There should be another, like the EU, with Russia as the chief guarantor. But Russia’s role as the main mediator should continue. He says he doesn’t support those who want Russian peacekeepers out.

KOMMERSANT publishes an interview with Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland. He says, “The final decision about U.S. missile defence has not been taken yet. With regard to this, in relations between Poland and Russia we must take into account such things as Poland’s EU and NATO membership and the alliance with the United States. But simultaneously I have another goal: the improvement of Polish-Russian relations. I’d like this desire of mine to be taken seriously”.