Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 59

The reaction in the Russian press today to last night’s NATO airstrikes was, not surprisingly, highly critical. One front-page article in a Russian daily was headlined: “The NATO bloc has brought Europe to war: Up to the last minute, the inhabitants of Europe believed that what happened with Iraq could not happen with Yugoslavia.” The newspaper also carried a front page analysis by its editor-in-chief, Vitaly Tretyakov, suggesting the steps that Russia needs to take now “under the conditions of co-habitation with the U.S.-NATO military-police regime for Europe” (Nezavisimaya gazeta, March 25).

The headline in another paper today read: “The fist of the international gendarme has come down on Yugoslavia” (Parlamentskaya gazeta, March 25). The newspaper is published by the Russian parliament, which is, of course, dominated by the “national-patriotic” opposition led by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF). Another paper, meanwhile, today carried the headline: “It looks like August 1914” (Tribuna, March 25).

Another headline simply read “Udar!”–meaning “strike” or “attack”–in huge letters (Kommersant daily, March 25). In yesterday’s edition, the same paper had sharply attacked Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov for returning to Moscow mid-flight after learning that NATO was preparing to attack Serbia. It called Primakov a communist whose decision, based on “internationalist” ideology, would cost Russia US$15 billion in lost aid from the International Monetary Fund and other Western sources (Kommersant daily, March 24). The newspaper’s editor-in-chief reportedly apologized to Primakov for the article yesterday (Russian agencies, March 24).

A small group of protesters–including Serbs living in Moscow, members of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and the ultra-nationalist leader himself–gathered outside the U.S. embassy in the Russian capital to protest the NATO airstrikes. Some of the demonstrators threw eggs and other objects at the building (NTV, March 25).