What the Russian papers say

© Alex StefflerWhat the Russian papers say
What the Russian papers say - Sputnik International
Russians feel nostalgic when they hear the word "Soviet" / Can Russia and NATO be partners? / Moscow finds way to join WTO / Russian spacecraft to fly towards the Sun /Russia and Belarus struggling to get out of political impasse /

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Russians feel nostalgic when they hear the word "Soviet"

Early this year the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM) conducted a poll among Russians to find out what things they connect with the words "Soviet" and "anti-Soviet".

The poll showed that the word "Soviet" makes Russians feel above all nostalgic (31%). The word "anti-Soviet" is linked with condemnation (23%) and indifference (22%). At the mention of the word "Soviet" the respondents, more often than at the mention of its antonym, experience pride (18% against 1%), and approval (17% against 2%). At the same time, the word "anti-Soviet", to a greater degree than "Soviet", causes in Russians a feeling of disappointment (13% against 6%), hatred (11% against 1%), shame (8% against 2%) and fear (6% against 2%). Young people are inclined to feel indifferent both to the word "Soviet" and its antonym (25% and 28%, respectively). As regards elderly respondents, the word "Soviet" produces in them above all nostalgia (41%), approval (23%) and pride (22%), while the word "anti-Soviet" produces condemnation (32%) and hatred (19%).

The word "Soviet" brings mainly good and warm memories to Russians (14%) and is also associated with order and confidence in the future (11%). For 9% the notion is connected with a great power, for 8% with the U.S.S.R., while 7% recall the ideology and propaganda of communism, their childhood and youth, while 6% feel nostalgic. Other associations include free medicine, education, friendship of nations (4% each), stagnation, shortages and lines, but also humaneness and kindness (3% each). Among elderly people the word "Soviet" evokes mainly good memories (21%) and is associated with order (14%), a great country (12%) and reminds them of their youth. Young people connect everything "Soviet" above all with the U.S.S.R (10%).

The word "anti-Soviet" has negative implications for Russians: 16% have negative memories, 10% associate it with betrayal, 7% with anarchy and instability. Other associations include: enemies of the people, dissidents (5%), war against Nazism (4%), the Western world, indifference to people, and the underground (2% each). The word "anti-Soviet" awakens unpleasant memories mainly among the respondents older than 45 years (20% to 21%).

In May, the Gaidpark portal conducted its survey and asked Internet users if they would like to live under Soviet government today as "we remember it, know from movies and news reels, fiction and documents." The wish to be a 2010 Soviet citizen was expressed by 68% of those polled (3750), with 30% (1642) refusing and 2% (94) saying "better now". There were no indifferent ones.

Nezavismoye Voennoye Obozrenie

Can Russia and NATO be partners?

Although they keep saying they are partners, relations between Russia and NATO are still ridden with conflict and not very constructive. In the last 20 years, their differences have not diminished.

It appears their cooperation in ensuring European and global security could be much more effective. The experience of their relations shows that long-term and constructive cooperation, let alone partnership, is impossible without major changes in the bloc's policy.

The West should stop trying to convince Russia that it is wrong and instead join forces to search for compromises and remove obstacles to their partnership, and also change NATO's military policy.

Given changes in Ukraine and Georgia's territorial problems, the question of their NATO membership will probably be postponed indefinitely. At the same time, the development of military-political relations with Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), first of all in stabilizing Afghanistan, should rule out eastward expansion without Russia's agreement. The same applies to the possibility of a joint missile defense system with Russia, the Untied States and NATO.

The logic of special relations between Russia and NATO should be ultimately focused on promoting their strategic partnership and possibly even a union, in the long run. Discussions of the details of such a mechanism could begin now within the framework of the joint expert group.

Strengthening relations in Europe should start with discussions of the new structure of European security proposed by Russia. Although some of the ideas voiced during discussions could be considered controversial, they should not be rejected outright, but addressed alongside other projects in order to reset the far from positive security situation in Europe.

If Russia and NATO start discussing these problems, this alone would improve their relations and, on a broader scale, the relationship between Russia and the West. It would also create an environment for further limitation and reduction of strategic nuclear weapons and movement toward a nuclear-free world.


Moscow finds way to join WTO

Although the Code of the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union was enacted on Thursday, it will not keep Moscow from joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in early 2011 while at the same time preserving the new Customs Union.

Previously, WTO representatives had some misgivings about the Customs Union, and this seriously impeded Russia's accession. The problems are currently being resolved. The Customs Union has begun operating, but this has not deterred U.S. President Barack Obama who promised to make Moscow a WTO member in the near future.

The following changes have taken place:

Before 2008, Russia and the WTO virtually lacked disagreements. Moscow, Minsk and Astana wanted to join the WTO separately and to subsequently establish their Customs Union. No one opposed this plan, and the issue of Russia's WTO accession seemed to have been resolved.

Subsequently the process slowed again due to the August 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict. After that, the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh Presidents Dmitry Medvedev, Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev, respectively, decided to expedite the implementation of the Customs Union and to collectively join the WTO.

However, WTO officials did not like the idea, and mutual negotiations were again suspended.

"The concept has once again changed, and Moscow has found a way to join the WTO," said Alexei Portansky, a leading research associate at the Higher School of Economics' Trade Policy Institute.

"Both parities have basically come back to their initial concept when Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan wanted to join the WTO and to establish their customs union in line with WTO requirements," Portansky told the paper.

Although the Customs Union began operating on Thursday, it will not hinder Moscow's plans. The Union will be streamlined, after the three countries become WTO members, and all of its functions will be activated.

"Technically speaking, no one forbids the establishment of additional intra-WTO alliances. For instance, the European Union could be described as similar to the Customs Union to some extent," said Vadim Novikov, a leading research associate at the Moscow-based Academy of National Economy.

"Russia needs to coordinate only three or four more issues to become a full-fledged WTO member. It's unclear when everything will be settled completely," Portansky told the paper.

Novikov said foreign-car import duties, raised by the Kremlin in early 2009, remained a controversial issue, and that WTO representatives would, most likely, ask Moscow to reduce such duties which Russia would probably agree to.

Analysts predict that the remaining 10% of issues will be coordinated by September-October 2010, if everything goes smoothly, and if there are no force majeure circumstances.

After formal proceedings are completed, a session of the WTO General Council will admit Russia in early 2011.


Russian spacecraft to fly towards the Sun

Russia is developing a new interplanetary spacecraft called the Intergeliozond for monitoring the Sun. If launched on schedule, it will enter the solar corona located 30-40 radii from the Sun's surface. No one has ever approached the Sun so closely, the project director says.

On Thursday, Lev Zelyony, from the Russian Academy of Sciences and director of the Academy's Space Research Institute, unveiled the Intergeliozond project.

"The Intergeliozond project will study the Sun from closer ranges during the approach phase, rather than from near-Earth orbits. It has already been included in the Russian federal space program and development is proceeding. Details of the satellite flight trajectory are being planned. The project will improve the quality of solar observations. Now five or six [specialized] spacecraft operate near the Earth, while not a single one orbits the Sun," Zelyony said.

He said similar foreign projects had not yet filled the close-range solar-research niche, and that it was possible to fill this niche. The project will not be implemented before 2015.

On January 30, 2009, Russia launched its only CORONAS-PHOTON solar spacecraft from the Plesetsk Space Center. Although the spacecraft was lost in December 2009, experts tried reactivating it through April this year. At that point, the loss of the CORONAS-PHOTON was officially announced.

Nevertheless, project manager Vladimir Kuznetsov, director of the Academy's Institute of Earth Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Waves Propagation (IZMIRAN), said the new spacecraft was not intended to replace the CORONAS-PHOTON but was developed separately.

The CORONAS-PHOTON, which circled the Earth, was intended to accomplish entirely different objectives than the Intergeliozond, Kuznetsov said.

The Intergeliozond will be the first craft to enter the solar corona. In fact, neither the United States, nor the European Union has sent any spacecraft there before. Although everyone is interested, only Russia is moving in this direction and has presented a technical proposal so far, Kuznetsov said.

He said spacecraft ballistics, shape and other specifications, as well as its scientific equipment list, were currently being worked out.

The satellite will study the Sun and its environment, as well as active solar phenomena and related effects, the Sun's corona, solar winds, the Sun's polar regions and the heliosphere.

Russky Reporter

Russia and Belarus struggling to get out of political impasse

Two gas wars and one dairy scandal marred Russian-Belarusian relations in the past year. The two countries are constantly bickering, sometimes going beyond the limits of diplomatic propriety, and state-controlled Belarusian media regularly start anti-Russian campaigns.

We offer you an impartial view of the key elements of the recent Russian-Belarusian political history.

In the first years of his presidency, Alexander Lukashenko, just like the majority of Belarusians, was prepared to go to great lengths when he signed the agreement on a Union State with Russia and intended to sign a common constitution.

The constitution was drafted under Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, who rejected it because he feared giving the post of vice president to Lukashenko, an extremely popular politician at the time in Russian regions with aspirations for the top post in the united state.

Soon afterward, Lukashenko decided that a union with Russia would not benefit his country. Russia and Belarus moved in different trajectories: when Lukashenko wanted to unite with Russia, Yeltsin rejected him, but by the time Russia decided it was not such a bad idea after all, Lukashenko discovered the advantages of independent policy.

"As soon as Belarus was left to its own devices, it discarded liberal democracy and did it quite consistently," says Vsevolog Yanchevsky, one of the main proponents of the current Belarusian regime.

He is referring to the political regime, but the phrase could easily be applied to foreign policy.

In the late 1990s, denouncing Russia and lauding independence as the highest value were the favorite slogans of the nationalist opposition in Belarus. Since then, Lukashenko has become a master of such rhetoric himself, sensing that only total independence can guarantee him a full scale of privileges and bonuses as the country's top leader.

Lukashenko has been working for 16 years of his presidency to adjust society to his own needs, forcing the most active opponents out of public life or even out of the country and giving the rest a minimum range of social benefits and guarantees (paid mostly with Russian money).

This is quite enough for Belarusian society, which for the past 60 years has evaluated the performance in line with the principle, "Anything is better than a war." Even a plunge in living standards, which is bound to follow the introduction of market gas prices, is unlikely to undermine their view of Lukashenko, for it will not provoke an all-out war.

RIA Novosti is not responsible for the content of outside sources.

MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti)

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