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7 Mar, 2008 03:28

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

Today, the Russian press discusses the possibility of lifting sanctions against the breakaway republic of Abkhazia, Russia’s future relations with its immediate neighbours under the new president, as well as chances of the Republican Senator McCain of win

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes that, in response to Kosovo’s self-proclaimed independence, Russia is unilaterally lifting all sanctions imposed against Abkhazia in 1996 by the CIS. The Russian Foreign Ministry thinks, says the paper, that most Georgian refugees have already returned to their homes. Also, re-connecting the railway between Russia and Georgia is now a necessity. The paper quotes Eduard Shevardnadze, the former President of Georgia who says he hopes the incumbent president will start a regular dialogue with the new Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev.

GLOBAL AFFAIRS. Chief editor Fyodor Lukyanov believes that in the gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine, President Yushchenko, the leader of the Orange Revolution, stands for Gazprom against Yulia Timishenko, the symbol of the same revolution. In Armenia its first president is reincarnated as a politician to the astonishment of both Moscow and the West, and rejects the conclusions of the OSCE observers. The political spectrum of external influence in the CIS is shifting from black-and-white to technicolour. It means, writes the author, that political conflicts in the post-Soviet space are finally moving from the field of ideology (the choice between Russia or the West) into the field of pragmatic national interest. Dmitry Medvedev as Russia’s new President has called relations with the CIS countries the first priority for that very reason. Moscow will have to find true allies, and to do that it will have to abandon the estranged position it has held for the past three years.

MOSKOVSKI KOMSOMOLETS features an interview with Nikolay Zlobin, an American political scientist of Russian origin. He says Senator McCain has a chance of winning the election. In that case U.S. policy towards Russia is going to be really tough. The American academic sees the reason for that in Russia’s foreign policy which, in his opinion, doesn’t match Russia’s national interest.

He suggests using liquidised gas tankers instead of pipelines and holding on to the oil and gas deposits instead of massively exporting oil and gas. Meanwhile, 22% of Russians believe Russia-U.S. relations may get worse in the near future and 14% think relations will definitely worsen, while 52% say relations will stay as they are.