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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Russian press review
Russian press review
Wednesday's Russian newspapers home in on the terrorist attacks in the US and ask whether the same could happen in Moscow.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta points out that the "only surviving superpower has suffered a blow of unprecedented force" and that "Washington's military department, which is called upon to reliably protect the whole country could not even protect itself."

Egyptian President Husni Mubarak had warned the US Government that the USA might become "the arena of acts of terrorism in the future, if the government "was not more active in its efforts to reach a settlement in the Arab-Israeli conflict" in a statement he made on 26 June this year, the paper tells readers.

It says that "Russia has expressed its condolences, while at the same time putting its anti-aircraft defence system on high combat readiness".

The tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that "the tragedy in New York could happen in Moscow".

It quotes sources in the Russian Defence Ministry as saying that "in a few years' time Russia's air frontiers will be absolutely undefended".

No justification

Russia has more than 100 anti-aircraft defence complexes in operation, another hundred in reserve, but "more than 80% of them "were produced in Soviet times and will be out of date in a few years' time", the paper reports.

The paper writes that America did not experience the destruction of war on its territory during WWII, but that Russians offer sympathy and a helping hand.

"There is no justification for mass killing, no matter which God they worship," the paper writes.

It states that if the tragedy unites the peoples of the Old and New World, it will be "the best anti-aircraft defence against the forces of evil".

In another article Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that "the world has entered a new epoch, an epoch dark and bloody in colour, the colour of hopelessness and terror".

The paper asks how one can fight terrorists, for "they are like bedbugs".

"They live among people" and "do not have a capital which can be wiped off the face of the earth".

Chechnya analogy

The paper speculates that "the suicide pilots were probably US citizens" and that the situation reflected that which "our servicemen come up against every day in Chechnya".

"The line between `peaceful' and non-peaceful' Chechens has been eradicated, but the whole republic (all the Arabs in the USA's case) cannot be `flushed down the toilet'".

The tabloid reminds readers of the attack on the US warship last year, thought to have been instigated by the Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden.

Discussing who might be responsible this time, the paper writes that Bin Laden, "terrorist No. 1, has taken charge of a whole country and a whole army of fanatical followers to carry out his plans" and that he has never disguised his plan to wage a "holy war" between "the Muslim world and the world of the infidels, that is everybody else".

The paper points out that the Palestine Liberation Organisation is "obviously not involved in this monstrous attack" in America since Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "is more interested than anyone else in Washington's support".

Threat to world

Moskovsky Komsomolets quotes the former head of Russia's foreign intelligence service press office, Yuri Kobaladze, as saying that "the world will never be the same", and that "completely new approaches on the part of the international community are needed" to combat international terrorism".

"What has happened is a challenge not only to the USA, but to the whole of the world community," Kobaladze adds.

The paper recalls that experts warned that terrorists might use aviation during the G8 summit in Genoa in July, "but the heads of the special services of the world's leading countries did not heed the views of the experts."

The business-oriented Kommersant Daily deals with the effects of these terrorist acts on the world economy and the fact that they were perpetrated as the country's financial markets were opening.

It notes that "there is not only the threat of financial centres being officially closed, but also the major damage to New York's infrastructure" and "the incredible confusion of financial documents buried under the skyscrapers" of the World Trade Center.

Security 'weakness'

Kommersant also points out the implications for insurance companies.

It writes that "not only the security services at airports and the flight control services monitoring civilian flights showed how inefficient they were, but also the system of anti-aircraft defence".

"Yesterday's tragedy in the USA demonstrated the weakness of the American special services", which did not manage to uncover this plot and prevent these acts of terrorism from being perpetrated, the paper notes.

Finally, in an interview with the same newspaper, a Russian pilot claims that the suicide pilots were trained to fly American aircraft by US experts in the Middle East.

The pilot asserts that an anti-aircraft defence system would have helped "in theory but not in practice" for no officer would take upon himself the responsibility for shooting down a civilian aircraft.

The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.

Yefgeni Bazhanov, Russian Foreign Ministry
"We are ready to fight [Bin Laden], as much as possible"
Sergei Yastrzhembsky, senior aide to Pres. Putin
"These people are a constant threat to many countries"
See also:

12 Sep 01 | Europe
European press review
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