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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 July 2007, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Lugovoi row annoys Russian media
Russian press

The expulsion by Britain of four Russian diplomats over Moscow's refusal to extradite a suspect in the Alexander Litvinenko murder case prompts scepticism and irritation in the Russian media.

Many commentators say the extradition request for Andrei Lugovoi contravenes Russia's constitution, while another argues that Britain has refused similar requests from Russia.

Others seek to downplay the row and doubt that either Russia or the UK want to seriously harm their economic ties.

PRESENTER IVAN KUDRYAVTSEV ON VESTI TV

On its 20th day in power the new British cabinet managed to complicate relations with Russia to an extent that very few have managed in recent years.

ANDREY TEREKHOV IN NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA

Britain wants to have solid relations with Russia, but at the same time London is expelling four Russian diplomats and demanding that the Constitution of the Russian Federation be changed... At present, neither London nor Moscow want to endanger their trade and economic co-operation. Abolishing trade preferences would be an extreme move in the current confrontation.

NADEZHDA SOROKINA IN ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA

Over the past six years, Moscow has sent Britain 21 extradition requests but not a single suspect has been extradited. The suspects included fraudsters, killers, terrorists, drug dealers and persons involved in particularly serious embezzlement of funds. Six of the people mentioned in the requests have been granted political asylum in Great Britain.

ALEKSANDR MINEYEV IN NOVYYE IZVESTIYA

The toughest measures on the list of possible responses were rejected. First, such measures should not be taken on impulse, as an outpouring of emotion. Secondly, sensible pragmatic attitudes do not involve killing "the goose that lays the golden egg" - that is the present level of economic relations between Russia and Great Britain.

IVAN SOTNIKOV IN GAZETA

An official representative of the British embassy has told Gazeta that Russia simply failed to realise fully how important the matter is for Great Britain.

VLADIMIR PEREKREST IN IZVESTIYA

It is as if the British were saying that they were not the ones who started it all and that they simply had to respond. They are not telling the truth... Despite all this, Great Britain is insisting that Russia violate its constitution. It was Britain that started playing tough and demanding the extradition of Lugovoi, which is clearly against the [Russian] law.

MOSKOVSKIY KOMSOMOLETS

An analysis of all the previous conflicts between the two nations shows that every new aggravation has set relations too far back. Also, there is every reason to believe that it will not be easy for London to "punish" Moscow for its unwillingness to violate its own constitution.

ZURAB NALBANDYAN IN TRUD

The reaction must not endanger trade and economic relations which are booming and are at their highest level for the past 100 years. The difficult thing for Britain is that the Russian constitution does not allow the government to extradite Russian nationals and therefore Moscow's actions in this case are fully justified.

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 bureaux abroad.



SEE ALSO
Country profile: Russia
19 May 07 |  Country profiles

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