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Lavrov On Airspace Issues, Kremlin Adviser Critiques Putin, Editors Discuss Media

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presents a symbolic reset button to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in March 2009 in Geneva
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presents a symbolic reset button to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in March 2009 in Geneva

Lavrov Confirms Afghan Transit Problems

In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirms that the U.S. military has made only one trial delivery of military supplies to Afghanistan via Russian airspace.

Lavrov says the U.S. military asked to conduct another trial delivery, but withdrew the request for reasons unknown to him. He also says that Moscow is not hindering this use of Russian airspace, but that the problems are due to unresolved technical issues with two central Asian states through whose airspace the flights must also pass.

Russia is now completely ready to implement the agreement with the USA on the transit of American military consignments to Afghanistan,” Lavrov tells RFE/RL.

[read in Russian]

Putin Must Go, Says Pavlovsky

Gleb Pavlovsky, widely considered to be the most influential PR and ideology adviser to the Kremlin, tells RFE/RL that ideally, a candidate other than Putin or Medvedev should be groomed to represent the “party of power” in the 2012 presidential election. But he admits that such a scenario is almost completely out of the question and that, barring a crisis, Dmitri Medvedev will be the candidate of choice.

Pavlovsky says that Putin’s mistake has been to ignore certain groups of society, and this has created a vacuum that is being filled by radical activists on one side and informal alliances of state “power” institutions on the other.

“Putin must eventually go," he says. "But he can only go if there isn’t a catastrophe in the Kremlin and the Medvedev political course doesn’t collapse.”

[read in Russian]

Leading Editors Discuss State Of Journalism In Russia

At the first National Media Forum in Moscow, which was organized by the Journalists’ Union of Russia, Vladislav Fronin and Dmitri Muratov, the chief editors of "Rossiskaya Gazeta" and "Novaya Gazeta," respectively, discussed developments in journalism in Russia.

Fronin refuted claims that the state-supported "Rossiskaya Gazeta" is a government mouthpiece and said the daily is accountable to its readership -- the tax-paying public.

Muratov said that despite the advance of the Internet, advertisers still want to see their ads in print, which he believes will guarantee the survival of print media for the foreseeable future. Citing the reaction to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky as an example, he called the Internet a “media amplifier,” where public opinion is expressed and formed, and an extremely effective tool for influencing the political leadership.

He also explained that "Novaya Gazeta" is piloting a plan to contribute one ruble from every copy sold to charity, and that sales have increased fourfold at selected kiosks. This is proof, he says, that print dailies can fulfill a social function.

[read in Russian]