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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Press Puts A Positive Spin on Summit

Most Russian newspapers delegated the news to the inside pages of Thursday's editions, but the reports gave an overwhelmingly positive spin to this week's summit between Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin.

The overall tone of the reports suggests that even though Russia has a secondary role in a maturing partnership with the United States, it is in the country's interest to change the paradigm of the relationship. And Russia really has no choice in the matter anyway.

Commentator Georgy Bovt argued in Izvestia that none of the Soviet leaders -- Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbachev -- nor even Boris Yeltsin, who was under a constant Communist threat, would have signed an arms treaty like the one prepared for the summit. The reason is simple, he said, since the treaty was made mostly on the Americans' terms and has no verification procedures, he said.

"In signing such a treaty, Putin does not simply bow to the necessity of taking into account the new realities and limited financial capabilities of the country but tries to literally push Russia to a new relationship level with the United States and the entire world," Bovt said. "The real threats to Russia these days are coming not from the West but from the South. ... And tomorrow this threat may be coming from the East, from the swiftly growing neighbor [China] to whom we today so briskly sell the latest weapons."

In Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the deputy head of the State Duma's defense committee, Alexei Arbatov, called the treaty radically different from previous agreements, saying it marks the first time in 30 years of arms cuts negotiations that the Americans did not ask for anything in return from Russia, which had already decided to reduce its nuclear stockpile below the limits set by the treaty.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Vedomosti were the only papers with front-page stories Thursday. Vedomosti's report examined the summit's investment prospects.

While praising the treaty, Bovt warned that Putin's foreign policy may backfire if it does not create tangible dividends for the ordinary Russian. He said a "Russian Le Pen" may take up the cause, and Putin would then be more harshly criticized than Gorbachev ahead of the 1991 coup attempt.

Kommersant wrote earlier this week that Bush will probably feel more at home in relatively calm Moscow during this tour than in Berlin and Paris.

While European leaders understand that the United States is the sole superpower, there is an anti-American sentiment among the public that grows with the increasing arrogance of U.S. foreign policy, Gennady Sysoyev wrote.

"In Russia, they [anti-American sentiments] are also strong, but here, public opinion is used to adjusting to the general political line," he said.