Tuesday’s press review

The meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart, Aleksandr Lukashenko is the central feature of most Russian newspapers on Tuesday, leaving room for the discussion of politics and economics.

VREMYA NOVOSTEY looks at how the meeting adhered to unwritten traditions. The two presidents, yet again, focused their discussions on gas prices. According to the daily, the sides managed to reach a consensus which was acceptable for both countries. Staff correspondent Vera Kuznetsova also points out the inconsistencies in Belarus’ demands. On the one hand, Lukashenko is keen to point out that he is not asking for anything, while, on the other, the Russian Ministry of Finance already issued a statement noting that Belarus has asked for a 100 billion rouble loan.

IZVESTIA, in its front page story discusses the interdependency of Russia’s and Belarus’ economies. According to a statement made by Lukashenko, if Belarus’ economy comes to a halt, around 10 million Russians will become unemployed. The article proceeds to explore the intricacies of the Belarusian economy. Lukashenko is claimed to have said that he is glad not to have launched into a spur of privatisation, which, according to him, proved to be destructive for Russia in the light of the global financial crisis.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA discusses the possibility of Belarus switching to the rouble in its transactions with Russia. According to the tabloid, this was the main condition for the substantial loan asked from Russia for the coming year. Another point of focus is the fact that despite claiming complete allegiance to Russia, the Lukashenko government still hasn’t accepted the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, although it remains an important issue for the Medvedev administration.

KOMMERSANT publishes an exclusive interview with Eduard Kokoyty, the President of South Ossetia. Kokoyty discusses the difficulties that the newly-proclaimed republic is facing in terms of its reconstruction following the August conflict. The president discusses how the crisis has affected the amount of aid received by the republic, as well as the extra effort which could have been provided by Russian multinationals, such as Gazprom.

VEDOMOSTI focuses on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s plans to tackle the difficult economic situation in Russia. The country, according to the publication, needs roughly 23 trillion roubles to emerge from the crisis, together with all of its industries. Companies can count on loans under government guarantees and subsidies. A list has been compiled, numbering 300 enterprises which can count on government support. Amongst them are key strategic businesses, such as Rusal, the aluminium giant, as well as Gazprom and Lukoil, the main oil exporters.

Anna Bogdanova, RT