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

In the papers on Thursday, Dmitry Medvedev’s first electoral speech. U.S. election rhetoric: chewing on Russia as a sign of good manners. And a Russian Senator’s view of international law after Kosovo.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI reports that in Nizhny Novgorod Dmitry Medvedev delivered his first ever purely electoral speech. The First Deputy Prime minister took a day’s leave as prescribed by law to a Presidential Candidate.

The same paper reports on the televised debate in the U.S. The daily says that Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama finally agreed on something. It was their attitude to Russia – both used a lot of strong rhetoric and tried hard to avoid pronouncing Russian names. Especially the name of Dmitry Medvedev. In this, says the paper, Obama outdid Clinton by not mentioning the name of the Russian Presidential Candidate at all. He used substitutes instead – like “The Successor” or “that man”.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA says that both Democrat politicians spoke of a necessity to review relations with Moscow. The paper says that reforming relations with Russia became the first foreign policy topic raised during the debate. However, insists the paper, Senator Obama gave Russian affairs more concern than Hillary Clinton, and even said he would take co-operation with Russia seriously. If he gets elected, that is.

KOMMERSANT disagrees with this estimate. The daily says that Mr Obama’s rhetoric is at least as fierce as Clinton’s. He may just be better in making it look cautious and more carefully chosen. That, believes the paper, has prompted Dmitry Medvedev to call Obama “someone it would be easier to work with” just hours before Obama accused the Bush administration of excessive “softness” towards Russia.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETAhas an article by Mikhail Margelov, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Senate. He writes that the 17th of February marks the end of international law. The era that started with Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence is so far devoid of any law whatsoever. Ethnic minorities all around the world are tempted “to do a Kosovo”. The world is becoming ungovernable. Russia is among those few who still honor its international agreements. The author says Russia’s position is therefore moral and Russia should maintain that position. That would work for Russia’s interest in a system where an old set of rules is dead and a new one is non-existent.