Thursday's Press Review

AFP Photo / Ferenc Isza
Thursday’s Russian newspapers concentrate on four stories: the cabinet of president Barack Obama; the efforts of the current U.S. administration to pave the road to NATO for Georgia and Ukraine; fighting piracy; and Thailand’s political crisis.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA quotes U.S. media: ‘now president Obama has chosen influential advisors who can tell him what to do in case of an emergency call coming at three in the morning.’ The paper says, Hillary Clinton is getting the post of Secretary of State, Robert Gates will remain at the Pentagon in spite of his Republican loyalties, because his point of view on Iraq is similar to Obama’s. These two appointments, says the paper, are drawing the most media attention because of the high profile of the appointees.

The same paper quotes The New York Times as saying that the current U.S. administration is trying to push through NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine at the coming NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. The paper says Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has conducted a series of telephone talks on the matter with her counterparts from NATO member nations.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA adds that the U.S. administration is trying its best to squeeze Georgia and Ukraine into NATO without the necessity of any ‘action plan’ while it is still possible, fearing that under president Obama these matters may be postponed indefinitely. The paper says France and Germany are against the ‘fast track’ decision because for them it doesn’t only mean a worsening of their relations, including economic relations, with Russia. It also means, continues the paper, that they will have to bear most of the expenses caused by the ‘adoption’ of two new members.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI says the U.S. administration in the person of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted that ‘Georgia and Ukraine are not yet ready for NATO membership’. The paper says after a series of telephone talks with European foreign ministers Ms Rice announced her conclusions and added: ‘It is absolutely clear.’ However she also said that there are other ways to NATO membership besides the earlier suggested ‘action plan.’

The same paper reports from Warsaw: the scandal over the ‘Tbilisi assassination attempt’ aimed at the Polish and Georgian presidents, which has so far been called a set-up arranged by Saakashvii himself, is growing fast. The paper says that as the accuser is the main Polish security service, it is hard to believe that there is no essence to the accusations.

The paper also quotes a Polish newspaper columnist who says that Poland’s support for Georgia is symbolic. The people know little about what is happening in the Caucasus, so the ‘support’ is based on extrapolation of Poland’s own situation: ‘big Russia and little Poland equals big Russia and little Georgia’. However, the columnist says, the events in Tbilisi have demonstrated to the Polish people how strange a politician Saakashvili is, and that things in his country are run in a way that is far from normal.

IZVESTIA. Political scientist Georgy Bovt writes in his op-ed piece on piracy that the World community has been fighting it the wrong way: with the multiple UN ‘paper tigers’ – resolutions that the pirates don’t read. He writes that a good coastguard operation that wouldn’t cost more than 50 thousand U.S. dollars could settle the matters once and for all. He says, instead of doing that major World powers send their huge men-of-war to escort the freighters along the Bay of Aden, and so far no cooperation is agreed upon, and no success gained.

The academic says that the U.S. and Russia should show an example of cooperation in this issue. He writes: ‘Let them try to agree on this miniscule act of cooperation and implement it successfully. It would be like operating on lab rats before an important operation on a human being. Let them try it before they go into such matters as, say, the new European Security system.’

KOMMERSANT publishes a column by Dmitry Mosiakov of the Institute of Oriental Studies, the Russian Academy of Sciences. He writes that the current events in Thailand remind him of various ‘orange revolutions’ only in form and that in essence the situation there is totally different: a political movement of the city-dwelling middle class is trying to topple a democratically elected government by non-constitutional means. The academic says that it may be another signal that liberal democracy in its classic form fails to represent true interests of 21st-Century society.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT