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BBC Monitoring quotes from Russian press Thursday 7 June 2007

BBC Monitoring Service

The following is a selection of quotes from articles published in the 7 June editions of Russian newspapers, as available to the BBC at 2300 gmt on 6 June.

G8 summit

Nezavisimaya Gazeta (centrist daily) – “Today’s meeting of the G8 leaders will be the most difficult for Vladimir Putin. Never before has he arrived at a summit with so much baggage of mutual demands…During his visit to the Czech Republic President Bush accused Moscow of abandoning democratic reforms…Tony Blair plans to raise the issue of relations with BP and Royal Dutch Shell…and it is entirely possible that the new French president, Sarkozy, a person friend of [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili, may also find something unpleasant to say to our president.”

“The growing tensions in our relations with the West have highlighted one particular feature: the West is worried about the fate of democracy in Russia, Russia is worried about American missiles on the country’s borders. The development of democracy is a serious problem, certainly, but difficult to quantify – Putin’s popularity at the end of his term of office is higher than that of both Bush and Blair at the start of theirs…What Moscow objects to, however, are the very concrete plans to deploy an American global missile defence system.”

[from an unattributed article entitled “G8: Difficult for Russia as never before”]

Gazeta (general daily) – “The most fiery discussions will be between Vladimir Putin and the Western leaders. They will be nothing to do with climate change but rather problems much closer to Russian domestic and foreign policy. To say that Russia’s relations with the West are going through a very bad patch at the moment is already commonplace.”

[from an article by Nikolay Vardul “A battle between presidents, living and dead”]

Moskovskiy Komsomolets (popular Moscow daily) – “Observers are predicting that the top billing at the summit will go to the stand-off between Russia and the USA. The British prime minister has also promised a ‘frank’ discussion with President Putin, too.”

[from an unattributed article entitled “Antisummitism rules in Germany”]

Krasnaya Zvezda (Defence Ministry daily) – “The most important issue, although not officially on the agenda, has become the preservation of international stability and security…There are serious strains in international relations which have been engendered by the power politics of the USA, which it uses widely to assert American interests. One example of this is Washington pushing through plans for the deployment of elements of a missile defence system in Europe…”

“In addition to missile defence, other issues relating to international stability will undoubtedly be raised at the summit – the spread of nuclear weapons, Iran and North Korea, Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism. Russia’s approach to the problems to be discussed at the summit has already been set out by Vladimir Putin…Our country will try to create a favourable atmosphere around itself and will never take any provocative actions. At the same time it will always be ready to defend its interests.”

[from an article by Vladimir Kuzar entitled “Big concerns, G8”]

Vedomosti (business daily) – “Putin’s statements have been just as anti-American as the slogans of the anti-globalization protestors, but the Russian leader is not going to become the ‘spiritual leader’ of the protest movement in Europe, according to commentator Irina Kobrinskaya. Putin has a different aim – to turn the West around and become an equal member of the Western community, not to change the world.”

[from an article by Ivan Preobrazhenskiy and Anna Nikolayeva entitled “G8 blockaded by anti-globalists”]

Rossiyskaya Gazeta (state-owned daily) – “Doubts about the effectiveness and, most importantly, the legitimacy of decisions taken at these informal meetings have been raised for a long time now…And yet the G8 continues to exist and operate. However, there is a growing impression that the G8 needs to change, above all by expanding its membership… Any expansion in membership would undoubtedly play into the hand of Russia, which at the moment must single-handedly fend off the growing claims against it from the seven old hands of the G8.”

[from an article by Vitaliy Dymarskiy entitled “In the absence of Gandhi”]

Izvestiya (pro-Kremlin daily) – “The real point of G8 meetings, participants say, is to ‘synchronize watches’, not to achieve anything in particular. The leaders continue to carry this suitcase without a handle only because they find it hard to throw away, and if they did it would be taken as some kind of quarrel. But to demand something of the person carrying the suitcase would be pointless. They would love to do it, but they can’t.”

[from an article by Maksim Sokolov entitled “A false aim”]

Trud (left-leaning daily) – (Headline) “A summit with no great hopes”

Ethnic tensions in Stavropol

Novyye Izvestiya (general daily) – “It seems that the mass unrest in Stavropol is starting to get out of the authorities’ control. On Tuesday evening a ‘Slavic gathering’ took place in the town’s central square. About 1,000 people took part. The crowd chanted slogans inciting ethnic discord.”

[from an article by Artur Indzhiyev entitled “A pogrom for the love of the Motherland”]

Trud (left-leaning daily) – “One more hot spot has appeared on the map of Russia… Some politicians have seized the moment to take aim at some kind of “Orange forces” who are apparently trying to incite ethnic tension for their own political ends…However, local police have not found any of these of out-of-town political agitators. The Slav and Caucasian communities are trying somehow to dampen passions. Meanwhile the regional and town authorities stay silent…”

“There really is something to panic about: interethnic conflict is threatening to grow into a regional revolution. Protestors are already demanding the resignations of the mayor and governor. Pamphlets are being handed around calling for open disobedience. Strategy and tactics for starting a ‘partisan war’ in Stavropol have already been published on the internet.”

[from an article entitled “Partisans in Stavropol”]

Kommersant (anti-Kremlin business daily) – “The federal authorities have taken notice of the mass appeals by the Slavic community. Yesterday a whole delegation of federal officials and MPs arrived in Stavropol to examine the reasons behind the mass brawl between Russians and Caucasians, the murder of two students and the unsanctioned protest which almost led to a pogrom.”

[from an article entitled “They heard Stavropol in the capital”]

Nezavisimaya Gazeta (centrist daily) – “The fire of ethnic discord has certainly been exacerbated by the information vacuum in Stavropol. While rumours and speculation were circulating around the city, people did not receive timely official statements or denials from official sources.”

[from an article entitled “A black mark for the Stavropol authorities”]

Sources: as listed

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