Voices from Russia

Friday, 16 January 2009

Washington Provoked the Gas Crisis in Europe

russian-gas-transit-station

Washington provoked the gas crisis in Europe. In an interview with our Voice of Russia correspondent, Yevgeni Fyodorov, the chairman of the economic policy and entrepreneurship of the RF Gosduma, expressed that opinion. At the same time, he believed that besides the US State Department, which sponsored the so-called “colour revolutions“, several other European countries, which also supported those “revolutions”, are to blame for the situation. The Ukrainian gas conflict is in line with the general scheme of some in Washington that aims at creating a so-call an arc of instability or, to use Fyodorov’s expression, a cordon sanitaire that embraces the countries that transport Russian gas to the EU. These countries are Poland, which also has a conflict over meat exports with Russia and plans deployment of American missile defence bases, Georgia, which stained itself with the war in South Ossetia, and, now, the Ukraine. In Fyodorov’s opinion, the US is trying to maintain its position as the sole great power in a unipolar world in an enormous geopolitical game. Fyodorov believed that, in the case of the crisis with the Ukraine, the US State Department pursued several objectives. “The US tried to kill three birds with one stone. Firstly, this is an attack on the unity of the EU to create internal problems and squabbles. Secondly, it’s an attack on the Ukraine’s interests. Thirdly, this is an attack on Russia, which has begun the process of dismantling the unipolar world. The US is in the centre of this structure and it exacerbates world events by consuming two times more than it produces. Understandably, the situation in the Ukraine worsened because it’s an onerous job to maintain a unipolar world. Consequently, the US experiences a great deal of stress in trying to do this”.

Recently, the outgoing US Administration signed a charter on strategic partnership with Georgia and the Ukraine, two of the countries in the arc of instability. According to the document signed with the Ukraine, the US plans to help Kiev to modernise the gas pipeline system in the country. According to Fyodorov, this is a mechanism of exerting influence on the country. The US pursues its policy towards the Ukraine and creates several problems in the country through the charter, the so-called Orange Revolution, and by financing the political processes. This is the reason why Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who was appointed to the post by revolutionary means, rejected the plan of holding an emergency summit of the Russian gas consumers and transit countries in Moscow on 17 January. The idea was proposed by President Medvedev. Concerning the Ukrainian President’s move Fyodorov said, “Why did he do this? If the meeting’s held elsewhere in Europe, this creates a favourable atmosphere for the Ukrainian President. The US State Department’s position in Europe is quite strong and it can play up with the assistance of several EU member states“. The gas crisis dealt a severe blow to the politically-weakest countries. Fyodorov believes that Washington’s pressure on Kiev will be sharply reduced when the Obama Administration comes to power on Tuesday, 20 January. As everyone knows, this is a prerequisite for the resolution of the conflict.

15 January 2009

Yelena Studneva

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=rus&q=97807&cid=20&p=15.01.2009

Editor’s Note:

How low the mighty have fallen! Let’s not forget that one of the reasons for the present economic crisis is the Neoliberal voodoo economics practised in the Clinton/Bush era. Reflect on the fact that GWB waged a war (a notoriously expensive enterprise in both money and lives) without increasing the size of the forces or raising taxes. In short, the forces are war-weary and short on morale, whilst the deficit has ballooned to dangerous proportions. Washington has no more cash (or credit, for that matter) to prop up squiffy client states. I pity Barack Obama. The Bushies are doing their best to leave a foreign policy fiasco for him on top of the mucking out of the domestic financial markets that’ll be necessary. If the Bushie policies are continued, we may not have Weimar-style (let alone Zimbabwean) hyperinflation, but we’ll look at the stagflation of the 1970s with tearful nostalgia. There is no money left for the USA to continue posturing as the “sole global hyperpower”. Yes, there are limits to everything, save for God, and the USA is NOT equivalent to the Almighty… despite the yowls of some Evangelical Protestants. It is time to be sober, responsible, and moral adults, good neighbours to the world again, if we can be.

BMD

Zimbabwe Plans to Unveil 100 Trillion Dollar Note

zimbabwe

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On Friday, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said it was introducing a 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill as part of anti-inflation measures, the African Press Agency reported. The new note is worth about 300 US dollars (9,765 roubles. 226 euros. 202 UK pounds) on the black market. The agency said Zimbabwe was also introducing 10 trillion, 20 trillion and 50 trillion Zimdollar notes. The move set to provide easier access for workers to their salaries from banks comes just four days after the country circulated 50 billion Zimdollar bills on Monday amid the deepening economic crisis. Zimbabwe’s inflation is officially put at 231 million percent, while independent financial institutions it could be estimated at more than 500 quintillion percent. The extended economic crisis has devastated Zimbabwe’s healthcare system, leaving the country virtually incapable of dealing with a cholera epidemic that has already killed over 2,100 people.

16 January 2009

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/world/20090116/119618646.html

Editor’s Note:

This puts the American and British criticisms of Russia in its proper light. The Russian Near Abroad is not in the Western sphere of influence, but, Zimbabwe certainly is. Yet, the Bushies keep screaming about Russia and are silent as mutes about Africa. I say, it smacks of not-so-subtle racism and prejudice. South Africa is not guiltless, either. These people are suffering and the West could clean up this mess (in their sphere of influence, let me repeat) in a trice. It exposes all the American and British pundits and leaders as vile hypocrites and poseurs. Clean up your own house before you complain of the neighbours…

BMD

Gas as a Political Weapon

natural-gas-russia

The more the gas scandal develops, the more political it becomes. To begin with, there is turmoil in the Ukraine where the parliament demands the impeachment of the president impeachment and the resignation of the cabinet. Whilst the second option is unlikely, the first is quite possible, and here Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukrainian Communists, and the Yuliya Timoshenko Bloc see eye to eye. But even if the impeachment idea fails to get through, the gas scandal is putting an end, finally and utterly, to Yushchenko’s political career. No one knows what poison was administered to the Ukrainian president before, but, now, he has had a hefty dose of a really lethal gas.

Russia, too, is suffering politically after sustaining economic damage. It is only looking from Moscow and only at first sight that it seems that Russian energy giant Gazprom and the Russian government are winning European sympathies. Actually, freezing European consumers find both Russia and Ukraine uncongenial suppliers. Their irritation is understandable; the European housewife wants to have gas in her kitchen and does not care who is to blame, Moscow or Kiev. As for European politicians, they, too, put the blame on Russia even if they understand the situation better. They are inclined to shut their eyes to the many tricks performed by Mr Yushchenko, because the Ukraine, not Moscow, is their potential partner in the European Union and NATO.

Finally, it would be a matter of big politics and a devastating headache for Russia if the Ukraine refuses to transport Russian gas to Europe for good. Not for a week or two, but, forever. True, the Ukraine needs Russian gas, but, if the anti-Russian policy prevails, our neighbour may well risk that step. Its own gas and coal, plus fuel oil bought in Europe, could help the Ukraine get through these troubles. Such a tightening of the energy belt would, of course, slow down the Ukraine’s economic development, but, anti-Russian feelings have driven quite a few countries to such lengths in the past. Ukrainian nationalists seem to be unafraid of shooting themselves in the foot.

Given such a prospect, both the Ukraine and Russia would be losers, especially Russia, which at a time of the worst global crisis would lose the European gas market, a dependable source of currency earnings for the country. The Nord Stream pipeline will go into operation at best in the fall of 2011, but, by that time, (if Ukrainian transit to Europe is blocked all the while) our European consumers would have opted for other energy sources and other suppliers. Of course, Europe would be the third suffering party. To give up Russian gas all of a sudden is a great loss for the European economy and a disaster for some countries.

Who is winning in this squabble is perhaps made clear by a document signed by the Ukraine and the United States and just published in Izvestiya. In December, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vladimir Ogryzko and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed a Charter of Strategic Partnership. It says that Washington will now help upgrade Ukraine’s badly worn-out gas pipelines. Of course, it is for Kiev to decide who will be repairing its gas system. But, it is clear that charters are not signed for repairs alone. Such texts are usually only the tip of an iceberg. The most important issues are discussed without protocol.

This suggests a very likely scenario, one described by Gazprom’s deputy CEO Aleksandr Medvedev. He says there is the impression that “all this jazz in the Ukraine is orchestrated from another country”. There seems to be a simple explanation for the Ukraine’s apparent illogical and irrational behaviour, for, it seems, Kiev is implementing plans agreed on with the Bush administration. The logic of this game plan may have many aspects. It is not only a way of tying the Ukraine to the US more tightly, but, also, a policy of holding Russia back. Also, it might be an anti-European move. Too many things in EU policy appear to irritate the US,  a competitive European economy unacceptable to the Bush administration, a French president showing activity during the events in the Caucasus last year, a call by some European leaders to the US to heed President Medvedev’s proposals to reform the European security system, etc.

Whether or not the Obama administration will join these anti-Russian and anti-European games is anybody’s guess. Some indirect signs show that it will not. But, whatever is said or done, it is clear that gas banned as a weapon has found a new niche, in politics. With the global crisis in full swing, using it is particularly risky and unwise. However, the departing American administration has never shown much wisdom.

14 January 2009

Pyotr Romanov

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20090114/119492588.html

Editor’s Note:

Let us compare the American behaviour during the Clinton/Bush era with the actions of Russia after the defeat of Napoleon in the reign of Tsar Aleksandr Pavlovich. In both cases, there was a complete collapse of one side in a conflict. Did Aleksandr Pavlovich send emissaries to Paris demanding that the French adopt Russian institutions and methods? Did he hector the French with condescending lectures on how stupid, dense, and ignorant they were, as the Americans did in the 90s and early 00s?

NO!

He reached out a hand in Christian forgiveness to his former enemy. He did not kick the French when they were down. Now, which society proved itself mature, understanding, and God-fearing? I’ll say this; it certainly was not the USA of the Clinton/Bush junta! Do not forget that William Jefferson Clinton bombed Belgrade on Orthodox Easter (after sanctimoniously proclaiming a bombing halt in Iraq due to Ramadan… what vile hypocrisy!) and that Richard Cheney supported the use of torture, in a public statement to the press, no less! I would say that the USA has degenerated, and that the contagion is very deep, indeed. In short, the USA has become the leading rogue state on the planet due to the actions of the neocon nomenklatura, and it must be brought to heel, the sooner, the better.

In any case, where is the money coming from that Cheney and Rice promised to the Ukrainian nationalists and the Georgian revanchists? The US economy is in the tank and the projected US federal deficit for next year is 1.2 TRILLION dollars. Even if Barack Obama wished to continue this evil foreign policy, there is nothing left in the store-cupboard. There is a silver-lining to the present economic crisis…

BMD

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