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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 October 2005, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Media stresses Russia energy card

The Russian media has been making much of the country's increasing role as a provider of energy to Europe, arguing that its growing dependence on Russian oil and natural gas has put Moscow in a strong diplomatic position.

On television and in the press, Russians are being told that President Vladimir Putin's current visit to the UK comes at a time when the world energy crisis is giving Moscow new-found political muscle.

A commentator in the mass-circulation Moskovskiy Komsomolets writes that "usually, at all recent Western forums, Russia has been forced to listen to sharp criticism".

But now, he argues, the Europeans are falling over themselves to praise Russia.

"The reason for the sudden sweetness of the Europeans is very down to earth. According to experts, the world is moving slowly but surely into a global energy crisis."

The article is headlined: "Energy crisis removes Western complaints against Russia."

Russia does not intend to rub Europe's nose in it
Channel One headline

"Naturally, the European community is very interested in uninterrupted supplies of oil and gas. Here Russia has something to offer," says a columnist in the popular daily Trud.

A report in Novyye Izvestiya says Mr Putin's foreign trips now "hinge to a large extent on the country's raw material exports".

"Moscow, it is thought in the West, has decided to achieve political ends by using economic means," and, the writer says, "the first success is already visible".

Plans were under way for a gas pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, bypassing Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, "considered the main players of the anti-Russian bloc in the EU", the Novyye Izvestiya writer adds.

No soft touch

On the airwaves, the Moscow government's Centre TV broadcast a headline: "Europe admits that it cannot live without Russia, but fears being dependent on its energy supplies."

One of the main state TV channels, Russia TV, broadcast an analysis programme on the EU-Russia summit. The presenter commented: "We have started our discussion of the summit with energy because there has been a qualitative change in European minds about Russia."

And on the same TV's main evening news bulletin, the presenter noted that "what is extremely interesting is that the tone of relations is changing for the first time in six years, and even in the questions of Western journalists. They fear that Russia is no longer a soft touch for their traditional criticisms."

On another state TV, Channel One, a headline strap proclaimed: "Russia does not intend to rub Europe's nose in it, even though its economy allows it to pursue an independent international policy."

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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