Wednesday's Russian press review

This Wednesday Russian newspapers analyse the global financial crisis, put Azerbaijan in the centre of common interest of the U.S. and Russia, and look at possible blueprints for a new Europe. Here is a review of several publications:

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA publishes an opinion article by Sergey Karaganov, the Dean of International Economics and International Relations at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. He writes that the current financial crisis is, in fact, the initial stage of the world economic and political crisis which will facilitate another major turn in the course of world history.

The academic says the whole system of global governance, both political and economic, that exists today is approaching its end. This system, he argues, was created to serve the needs of the Cold War: a period when the world was divided into two opposing camps. After the Cold War, writes Karaganov, the U.S. and the ‘Old West,’ drunk on their ‘victory’ over the Soviet Union, chose the path of world domination for America and American values, including an extremely liberal market economy. Politically, they opted for the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and further into post-Soviet space.

However, the most logical step to be taken at the end of the Cold War would have been a reform of global governance and the system of global financial controls. The author writes that history is now correcting the mistakes made by major world powers in the 1990s, while hitting them with a mighty crisis on a scale that can hardly be predicted at this moment.

Karaganov says the crisis is the time of creation, the time that the world should use to reform the existing system of international organisations, political as well as financial, trade and economic, as well as the system of international security. If this is not done, he warns, the situation in the world will become dangerous. He openly calls it a ‘pre-war’ situation and says that the only hope for the world, besides the reform, is vested in the nuclear arsenals of Russia and the U.S., and Mutually Assured Destruction.

IZVESTIA has an article by Vyacheslav Nikonov, the president of the ‘Politika’ foundation. He, too, says that the U.S.A.’s role as a world-dominating superpower is coming to an end. He also says that the American model of liberal capitalism is now under tight scrutiny by every economy in the world, and is found wanting by many. Nikonov says the whole epoch of ‘West-Centrism’ is ending with a bang before our eyes. He says the collapse of the old system will bring about the necessity to create a new one and maybe in this sense the crisis is a blessing in disguise.

KOMMERSANT has a column by Sergey Markedonov of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis. He says, unlike other post-Soviet states, Azerbaijan cannot easily be labelled ‘pro-Western’ or ‘pro-Russian.’ This Caucasian country, writes the author, is equally welcome in the West as an ‘Islamic Ally of the U.S.A.’ and in the East as a nation ‘strategically interested in cooperation with Russia.’ The writer says that Azerbaijan, therefore, is a place of significance, a place where Russian and American positions meet and coincide.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes under the headline ‘The Summit of Storms’ that at the summit of the leaders of  EU member nations, which begins in Brussels tonight, the main issues under discussion will to be the financial crisis and Russia. On the latter issue the summit will have to decide on which conditions to return to the negotiating table with Russia. Regarding the former, the summit will need to come to a consensus on the ways Europe can persuade the U.S. that the world badly needs and deserves a new system of financial governance, writes the paper.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA has a column by Andrey Baklanov, the Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Association of Russian Diplomats. He says that a new system of regional security in Europe can be built without the U.S. The diplomat says that before the Europeans sit down to set up a new regional security system, they need to define clear and present threats to their security. If the idea is to unite European countries including Russia against common threats, meaning to unite Western Europe with Russia, Poland and the Baltic States, the threats have to be economic not political, says Baklanov. Economic and financial security concerns are totally capable of uniting Europe and Russia. The writer says that U.S. participation in that unity will not be necessary.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT

Tuesday's Russian press review