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

In the papers Friday, Russia’s National projects are to be continued. Russia and NATO – getting ready for tough talk on Kosovo and missile defence. Strategies of the unrecognized and within the CIS, Russia drifts towards bilateralism.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA writes that Thursday’s meeting of the Council on Priority programs, National projects and Demographic policy summed up the results achieved so far. At the meeting it was decided that the programs should continue.

KOMMERSANT’s Andrey Kolesnikov writes, presidential candidates Gennady Zyuganov and Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who were invited to the meeting, didn’t show up. The writer wonders why they missed an opportunity to discuss in public the work of their main political rival – Dmitry Medvedev who heads the National projects in the social sphere.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI has an interview with Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s NATO ambassador. He says President Putin is completely aware of what awaits him at the Bucharest NATO summit in April: the Kosovo issue and U.S. missile defence in Europe. Rogozin says, Vladimir Putin has decided to use the platform of the Russia-NATO Council to make known the Russian point of view on these matters.

The same paper publishes an article by Nikolaiy Zlobin, a U.S.-based Russian academic. He writes that Kosovo has proven again that the international legal system centered on the UN has become ineffective. A new system is needed, says the author, and Russia shall become one of the leaders in its creation, together with the EU, the U.S., China, the Arab world and other interested parties.

A NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETAeditorial says, unlike Kosovo the unrecognized states within the CIS – Abkhazia, South Osetia and the Trans-Dniestr region – lack a strategy for obtaining independence. The leaders of the Kosovo Albanians did have such a strategy. And that strategy enjoyed wide popular support.

In GLOBAL AFFAIRS Fedor Lukianov writes, at first glance the CIS situation in the Putin-era looks like a disaster. Ex-Soviet nations, even those that remained close to Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union, have been increasing their distance from Moscow. In truth, that is not so much their doing but a new policy of Moscow’s, where a pragmatic approach to foreign policy prevails. Russia has turned to bilateral relations with its neighbours, based not on a sentiment of common history but on a solid platform of mutual interest.