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9 Aug, 2007 02:28

The Media Mirror - What's in today's Russian press?

Today Russian newspapers remember Vladimir Putin becoming Prime Minister, evolution of Russia after 1991, and the return of self-respect of Russians.

Eight years ago, on the 9th of August, 1999, President Yeltsin named Vladimir Putin Prime Minister of Russia and his chosen successor as President.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA commemorates this event with an article saying that one of Putin’s immediately evident talents is his understanding of what is appropriate at every moment in the nation’s history.

Having become Prime Minister, writes the paper, he immediately warned against red-carpet treatment during his upcountry visits, as absolutely inappropriate for the times of crisis. The message was understood by all: the new leader’s approach was going to be entirely pragmatic; just the facts.

Very early in his term Putin demanded to exclude such words as “President’s Entourage” in reference to an influential group of people surrounding the Head of State, out of the political vocabulary. He made it clear: executive power is vested in the elected President alone.

Viacheslav Nikonov from the “Politica” Foundation says about Putin’s 8 years:

“Few leaders in the history of the Russian state ever managed to change the situation for the better on such a scale in just eight years.”

“Putin turned out to be one of the best leaders this country has ever had.”

VEDOMOSTI has an article by Professor Robert Skidelski, summing up the evolution of Russia after 1991 – from a transitional society well on the way to becoming a “usual” European country to the emerging “New Russian Empire” of today. In a way, Lord Robert is summing up the results of Vladimir Putin’s 8 years in power.

The re-birth of Imperial ambitions is explained in the article by the action of the same forces as those that worked when Lenin wrote his book Imperialism as the Highest Phase of Capitalism: the monopolistic capital, in this case – Russia’s gas and oil capital, pushes for new markets and imperial control over them.

But nothing repeats itself entirely in history, writes Skidelski, and our hopes, he says, have to dwell exactly on this diversity.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA publishes an article by Marshall Goldman of Harward University who continues the same topic. He writes:

“What President Putin did for Russia, is he gave it self-respect.”

The self respect, he continues, that the West has to understand, even if sometimes it shows itself as pride that spills beyond the boundaries acceptable to the West.

There is at least one thing in common in all these publications: the Putin Years have put Russia back on the political map of the World as a major power. Some like it, some don’t, but it’s a fact accepted by all.