Wednesday’s Press Review

This Wednesday Russian newspapers explore the prospect of a monetary alliance of Russia and China against the U.S. dollar, analyse the arms trade scandal in Georgia and argue about the future of global governance. Here is the review:

TRUD writes that Russia is turning to the East in order to get as far away from the economic crisis as possible. The paper says China and Russia have agreed to shift from the U.S. dollar to national currencies in all their import-export transactions and other business deals. The agreement includes energy exports as well as joint ventures in many industries.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA says Russia and China have agreed to fight the crisis together. The paper quotes President Dmitry Medvedev, who said yesterday that in times when there are various problems in the world, ‘strategic relations between Russia and China acquire special importance.’ The paper says the suggested shift from the U.S. dollar to national currencies in Russo-Chinese economic relations has caused concern in the West. The paper also adds that there are other similar bilateral deals in the making. For instance, Thailand and Iran are negotiating direct barter exchange of Iranian oil for Thai rice. The paper says that rice and oil are eternal commodities while ‘green papers printed in the U.S. have an uncertain future in the world.’

KOMMERSANT writes that the Russian Government has started marketing the Russian ruble as a replacement for the U.S. dollar in bilateral deals. So far, says the paper, Russia has suggested  using national currencies instead of the U.S. dollar in bilateral transactions with China, Vietnam and Belarus. The paper says Russia is starting a campaign to promote the ruble as regional currency.

The same paper reports on the Ukraine-Georgia arms trade scandal. Apart from the report on the investigation that the Ukrainian opposition is conducting at the moment, there is a column by the paper’s commentator Ivan Konovalov. He says that legally Ukraine did nothing wrong by supplying weapons and equipment to Georgia. Georgia, however, can be charged with arms acquisition beyond the limits prescribed by international regulations on conventional arms. However, in Ukraine the deal was accompanied by stripping combat-ready Ukrainian units of their weapons and equipment, which were immediately sold to Georgia. The Ukrainian opposition insists that the deal has damaged the combat readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces. The columnist writes that the Ukrainian opposition is serious about toppling the Yushchenko regime with this scandal, and that would definitely not be the first time in history that a government has fallen as a result of a ‘fishy’ arms deal getting exposed.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI publishes an interview with the former speaker of the Georgian parliament, now a prominent opposition figure, Nino Burdjanadze. She says that in her opinion Georgia has shown a degree of unpredictability during the conflict with South Ossetia and that as a result it is hardly possible for Tbilisi to receive the NATO membership action plan at the NATO foreign ministers’ summit in December. Asked if the current Georgian leadership is capable of another irresponsible action, Burdjanadze says: ‘I do not possess any information from intelligence agencies. But I think, such a scenario, alas, cannot be excluded.’

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA. In an opinion article historian Alexandr Yanov argues with political scientist Sergey Karaganov about the prospects of the ‘liberal-democratic’ model of capitalism. He says while Karaganov insists on the gradual demise of the liberal capitalist system and uses Asian countries as examples of controlled capitalism, the Asian nations he speaks about in fact desire the liberal model and are moving towards it fast. He writes that is what is happening now in Malaysia and Thailand, where authoritarian capitalism was always at the top.

IZVESTIA has an article by Viacheslav Nikonov, the president of the ‘Politika’ foundation. He writes that the notion of a ‘multi-polar World’ in the realities of our day means a multitude of centres of power: the U.S, China, Russia, the European Union, India, Brazil, Japan are all such centres. The author says the main question now is which form of co-existence these centres will choose: peaceful, as was the case in Europe between the Napoleonic Wars and WW I, or the ‘jungle’ where everyone exclusively pursues his own interest and is always ready to swallow another player if he accidentally lets it happen. Nikonov says the first form is much more beneficial for the world and suggests that to ensure its victory the UN has to be reformed and strengthened and a World Finance Organisation created, modelled on the WTO.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT

Monday's Press Review

Tuesday's Press Review