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Tuesday’s press review

Tuesday’s press review
This Tuesday Russian newspapers continue reporting on and analyzing ‘The Gas war’, the war in Gaza and the perspectives of China.

IZVESTIA publishes an article by political scientist Vitaly Ivanov who writes that the Russo-Ukrainian ‘gas war,’ the second of its kind, from the Russian perspective must be the last one. The only result suitable for Russia, says Ivanov, is a settlement on Russia’s conditions, which is already happening, he continues, with international controls installed over the Ukrainian gas pipeline transit system. He says Europeans will always choose the heating in their houses over the interests of a politically unstable and ‘young European democracy.’

He writes that the EU is now reaping what it sowed a few years ago when it supported Yushchenko’s ‘Orange Revolution.’ Now, says the academic, Russia’s rightful and purely economic demands (for Ukraine to pay the market price of Russian gas) became immediately politicized when Ukrainian leaders tried to cover up the plainest theft of natural gas with a lot of political fog.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA says, the ‘gas war’ now is already not about Ukraine’s payments but the restructuring of the whole gas transportation system. The international monitors are not at all concerned with the gas that is supposed to be going to Ukraine. Their sole concern is the gas that goes through the country, says the paper, and so there is no one out there protecting Ukraine’s interest while the interest of the European monitors coincides with that of Gazprom, verbatim.

In theory, says the paper, Ukraine could have agreed with Europe to create a gas distribution center based on the Ukrainian gas transport system and put it under direct control of the European Commission. However, says the paper, such an arrangement would imply renegotiating Ukraine’s and Europe’s cooperation with Russia, plus support of Poland and possibly Slovakia.

KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA writes that there are several definite winners in the gas war, and none of them is Ukraine or Russia. The paper names Russia’s competitors in the gas market: Turkey, with its planned gas transport pipelines and port facilities for LPG, Algeria with its increased LPG supply to Turkey, and Norway.

Apart from that, there may be a winner in Ukrainian politics, continues the paper. That would be Viktor Yanukovich if he takes part in the presidential election in 2010. By then an average Ukrainian would be feeling the effects of the market prices he would have to pay for the Russian gas, and due to that the anti-Russian rhetoric of Yushchenko and Timoshenko would lose a lot of its value.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA publishes an article on China by Vsevolod Ovchinnikov, a well-known veteran Russian journalists and a famous non-fiction writer, who says that China, after 30 years of modernization, is very close to achieving its goal of a $US 4000 per capita income.

Ovchinnikov remembers all three stages of China’s modernization: the close friendship with the Soviet Union which laid the foundation of further development (over 156 industrial projects built with Soviet help brought about the industrialization of China), the period of ‘The Great Leap Forward’ and the chaos of the ‘Cultural Revolution’, and finally the turn from dogmatism to pragmatism in the 1970s.

The author writes that the Chinese reforms were based on the correct understanding that the economy has to be reformed before any change in the political system can occur, as a nation needs firm steering while it goes through the troubled waters of a long transitional period.

The same paper publishes an op-ed article by Mikhail Margelov, the Chairman of the International Affairs committee of the Russian Senate. He writes that peace is lost for Palestine, and lost for a long time. The Senator says, Hamas has no ability to withstand the attacks by the Israeli military in the long run, so a military victory by Israel is highly possible, if the hostilities are not stopped.

However, he says, in that case Israel will have to hand power in the Gaza strip over to Fatah, and Fatah cannot accept it without alienating the rest of the Arab world and the majority of the Palestinian population. This means, he continues, that no possible outcome of the current crisis can bring peace to the region: the confrontation there will continue for a very long time, maybe changing in form but not in essence.

VREMYA NOVOSTEI writes that Israel is at a loss about the way to end the conflict in the Gaza strip. The paper quotes analysts saying that Israel’s time for the continuation and completing the current military operation is limited by the date of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the U.S. President on January 20th.

The paper says there have been signs already, showing that the new U.S. administration would not support any military solutions in the Gaza strip and that if the war is not over before Obama is sworn in, the tone and rhetoric of the new president addressing Israel may be much tougher than anyone can imagine.

KOMMERSANT publishes an exclusive interview with the Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority to Russia Afif Safieh, who says that only a non-violent form of protest can help achieve peace and statehood for Palestine. The diplomat says that by waging war against Hamas, Israel is intentionally radicalizing the Palestinian population, in order to facilitate the victory of Hamas in the next Palestinian election, subsequently providing Israel with a solid pretext for further military actions in the region.

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT

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