Thursday’s press review

AFP Photo / Mark Wilson
This Thursday Russian newspapers report how European countries are ready to help Barack Obama close a ‘sad page in the American history’ and analyse the new Russian national security doctrine.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA writes that Barack Obama cannot fulfill his campaign promise to close down the notorious Guantanamo jail facility without the help of European nations. Out of 250 Guantanamo inmates more than 60 face the death penalty if they are sent back to their own countries. Therefore, writes the paper, the US president-elect is trying hard to find other jails, mainly in Europe where the death penalty doesn’t exist, to transfer those suspects of Guantanamo whose cases are still under investigation. The paper says some EU countries have already given their consent for the transfer and names Germany as one of them.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA publishes an interview with the German Ambassador to Russia, Walter Jurgen Schmidt who says that in 2009, in spite of the severe impact of the global financial crisis, the EU member countries will still consider international security to be a high priority. The paper quotes the diplomat as saying that President Medvedev’s initiative on the new architecture of European security has been received with great interest in the EU.

However, says the ambassador, there should not be any hurry about implementing it because a whole score of issues has to be taken care of first. He says, for example, that the new architecture of European security should not be aimed against the existing organisations, like NATO and the OSCE, but should be in harmony with them. The paper also quotes the diplomat as saying that a detailed discussion of the initiative will take place soon after the Helsinki meeting.

KOMMERSANT writes about the new ‘National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period up to the year 2020.’ The document came into the paper’s possession a few days before it was supposed to be discussed at a joint meeting of the Security Council and the Council of State. The paper says the document states that Russia has completed its transitional period and completely recovered from the systemic political, social and economic crisis of the end of the 20th century and rebuilt its capacity and capability to maintain and defend its national interest as a ‘key participant of multi-polar international relations.’

The paper says that the document, without saying so directly, ‘makes it clear from which shore of the Atlantic the threat to Russia’s national security comes.’ The document, writes the paper, also states that the Russian Federation will do everything necessary to maintain parity with the US in strategic assault weapons ‘under the circumstances of the US deploying global missile defence and implementing the concept of a global strike.’

At the same time, says the paper, the document takes into consideration the hopes for a warming in Russia – US relations after the inauguration of the new US president, Barack Obama, and speaks of ‘building an equal strategic partnership with the US, based on coinciding interests and the understanding of the influence of Russia-US relations upon the international situation as a whole.’

The same paper publishes a column by its own head of economic policy desk, Dmitry Baturin, who comments on the ‘strategy’ saying that its authors haven’t paid enough attention to the economic angle of national security. He says the crisis is hitting the world’s big players unequally: China and Japan, for instance, are so far getting a better deal than the US and Europe, and may continue that way. This will allow them to emerge from the crisis in better shape than other great nations. That, he says, may cause a major shift in the international security balance, about which the ‘strategy’ says nothing.

The same paper publishes an address to the readers from H.E. Paolo Pezzi, the Roman Catholic Archbishop and Head of the Russian Catholic community. On the occasion of Christmas celebrated by the Catholic Church on December 25, the Archbishop expresses the wish to all the people on Earth that ‘the peace of the Christmas night enters, with uninterrupted joyful singing of the angels, into our houses, filling them with mutual love and common hope.’

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT