Voices from Russia

Sunday, 13 May 2018

“Goodbye Europe!” Der Spiegel Depicts Trump as Middle Finger Flipping Off EU Amidst Iran Deal Tensions


German magazine Der Spiegel released its latest issue, with a cover featuring Donald Trump on a middle finger, flipping the bird. It comes just days after the USA angered Europe by walking away from the Iran nuclear deal. Reaction from EU officials is still pouring in since Trump announced his decision earlier this week, so it didn’t take long before the cover was retweeted by French Ambassador to the US Gerard Araud. On Friday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also had a few words to say to Der Spiegel about Washington pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, saying:

The USA has shown very little willingness to take the arguments of its allies seriously. The decision has already taken hold of transatlantic ties.

Der Spiegel’s tone on the cover was matched inside the magazine, with an editorial titled “Time for Europe to Join the Resistance”. The article said that US President Donald Trump is “only proficient in destruction”, referencing his pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate agreement. The self-explanatory cover came just one day after German Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel said that Europe can no longer count on the USA, and must take matters into its own hands. French President Emmanuel Macron, who agreed with Merkel, echoed that sentiment, “Something should be done”.

Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal despite America’s three biggest allies (the UK, Germany, and France) putting forth their best efforts to convince him to stick with the landmark agreement signed in 2015. However, the US President walked away from what he deems the “worst deal ever negotiated” on Tuesday. Much like Merkel and Macron, the decision also left EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to say that the USA must be replaced as a leader on the international stage because it has “lost vigour”. As for Merkel, it seems that Trump’s Iran decision didn’t entirely fuel her statement. Last year, she made a similar statement following a G7 summit, when attendees of the meeting were unable to convince the US President to stay with the Paris Climate Agreement. She said at the time:

The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days.

12 March 2018




Sunday, 26 June 2016

LIfeNews on the Brexit

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Ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister N Ya Azarov thought that Kiev should concentrate on solving domestic economic problems, instead of dreaming of European integration:

The result of the [Brexit] referendum has no relevance to the internal situation in the Ukraine. Our trade and economic relations with the UK are derisory. Besides, we’ve never gotten anything good from them, just empty talk. We have to think about how to get the Ukraine out of its present crisis. We aren’t moving towards the EU… we’re becoming Bangladesh. All this talk about European integration is make-believe.

In the UK referendum, the number of votes to leave the EU outweighed those favouring European integration. This led to a sharp drop in value of the UK Pound by 10 percent and pulled European stock indices into the red. After they counted the votes, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation.



French President François Hollande commented on results of the UK Brexit referendum:

This event changes the situation in Europe. The EU will no longer be the same, and it’ll take us quite some time to take the measures to solve the emerging problems. It’ll take some time to bring it about, to put it into effect, for Europe will no longer be what it was before. We must recognise that the story has changed today; now, new events change the European situation.



European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said:

I hope that after it leaves the EU, the UK will continue to be a close partner.



President V V Putin confided that the Brexit wouldn’t affect Western sanctions against Russia:

These sanctions didn’t start as a bilateral matter; we’ve only responded to measures taken against our country. I emphasise that if our partners ever want to engage in constructive dialogue with us, we’re ready, we want that, and we’d respond positively to positive actions. At the same time, other parties can’t expect Russia to do things over which it has no control.



K I  Kosachyov, head of the RF Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee told us:

If the British authorities decide to withdraw from the EU, it wouldn’t happen overnight. According to my calculations, it’d take about two years to carry out all necessary consultations, to prepare the measures to implement it, and start the actual process. After this transition period, they’d need another five years to complete it. It’d take seven years for a complete withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

After the positive outcome of the referendum in the UK, it’s likely to see further disintegration in the EU. It’s not right to gloat about it, as Europe continues to be one of Russia’s largest trading partners. Even in a time of sanctions, trade between the EU and Russia is 49 percent of the total, some 230 billion Euros (16.8 billion Roubles. 1.67 trillion Renminbi. 17.36 trillion INR. 255.7 billion USD. 332.5 billion CAD. 342 billion AUD. 186.9 billion UK Pounds) per year. I don’t share the simplistic view that if things get worse for them, it gets better for us. If the EU remains enmeshed in problems, mired in crisis, this’d affect our trade relations.

On 23 June, the UK held a referendum on whether to leave or stay in the EU. In the end, the “Leave” faction garnered nearly 17 million votes, or 52 percent of the total number of votes. The Remain” faction scored a little more than 15 million votes, only 48 percent. Against this background, world oil prices lost about 6 percent and the UK Pound weakened against the US Dollar.



G A Zyuganov, the First Secretary of the KPRF Central Committee and KPRF Faction Leader in the RF Gosduma, told us:

The decision to withdraw from the EU taken by British citizens in the referendum showed that they weren’t willing to put up with the negative effects of globalisation. The Brussels bureaucracy engulfed them and they had to swallow its dictates; the English were the first to realise its dangers. The End of History didn’t happen, but it’s a new stage, where peoples pursue sovereign development and friendly relations with their neighbours. This is the beginning of the end of the EU, which acted as the big stick of American politicians, rather than harmonising relations.



O A Tsaryov, former Peoples Deputy of the Ukrainian Verkhovnaya Rada, told us:

The Ukraine shouldn’t count on EU accession. After the UK referendum and its possible consequences, the EU might not even be around in a few years time. Once again, this emphasised that Kiev chose the wrong path. They sacrificed their economy’s stability in a quest for “European Integration”. Everything turned out to be in vain. They want to go where it’s already impossible to enter. They try to reassure themselves that it’s possible, that they can get into the EU eventually, but this “later” may never come, as the EU can’t survive. They lost their illusory “opportunity” to get the Ukraine into the EU.


24 June 2016


The Irish government intends to start a process of reunification with Northern Ireland. The main instrument of such an action could be a referendum, both in the north of the island, which is part of the UK, and in the south in the Republic of Ireland itself. However, Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ireland Charlie Flanagan told the Daily Mail:

The referendum won’t be in the near future. A future united Ireland is in the interests of our citizens, but to hold a referendum at the same time that the British government negotiates its withdrawal from the EU would only cause division.

Ireland’s reunification would threaten the territorial integrity of the UK, as part of the latter is Northern Ireland. At the same time, the majority of people of Northern Ireland voted in favour of remaining in the EU, but the national vote went the other way, not taking them into account, which gave rise to even more talk about a possible referendum for independence from England.



Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the start of preparations for a referendum on independence from the UK. Firstly, the task is to develop a bill calling for such a referendum. This vote will be the second in recent years. In the previous referendum, the Scots voted by a whisker voted to keep Scotland in the UK. Talk about Scottish independence resumed immediately after the results of the referendum on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU became clear. According to the results of the last referendum, nearly 50 percent of Scots believed that the country should be independent. The Cabinet believe that this number increased over the last two years, especially, after the announcement that the UK is leaving the EU.


25 June 2016


Friday, 24 August 2012

Give Greece a Break


There’s hope that the EU will give Greece a break. Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that the EU would probably give Athens more time to cut its budget deficit, following the request of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. It’ll make a final decision after the publication of the report of the European Troika of creditors (The IMF, The European Central Bank, and the Eurogroup) on the Greek situation. However, Berlin doesn’t feel like making concessions to Athens.

After his meeting with Samaras, Juncker said that Greeks should understand that this is their last chance. Earlier, the Greek Prime Minister said that Greece desperately needed more time to reduce its budget deficit. Athens isn’t asking for additional money for battling the crisis, and it promises to continue to make payments on all the liabilities. Now, Athens faces the difficult task of lowering its budget deficit from the current 9 percent to almost 2.5 percent of the GDP by 2014, and the only thing that Greece is asking for is to extend this term until 2016. Samaras insists that it’s impossible to meet this goal in only two years. He says that, in the current situation, national economic growth is more important and trying to cut the deficit as soon as possible will only destroy any possibility of ensuring economic growth.

It looks like Samaras managed to convince Jean-Claude Juncker. Economist Vladimir Rozhankovsky said, “Nevertheless, this isn’t enough, because he still has to convince German Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande at their meeting on Friday. I don’t think that they’ll grant a deferment to Greece, even with such a cooperative Prime Minister. There’ll be strong friction with Germany, as Germany believes that a nation shouldn’t be forced into a corner. A nation should be able to breathe and to develop, even if it’s slow development. However, making concessions to someone, and letting things slide, means giving a bad example to all the rest. In this case, the Spaniards will likely ask for concessions too”.

So far, Berlin only announced small concessions and did it unofficially with a reference to a source in the government. On the official level, there’s a clash of two positions. The Social Democrats are confident that it is necessary to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Merkel’s partners in the coalition insist that all agreements must stay unchanged. Economist Sergei Khestanov said, “If Merkel makes concessions on Friday, her voters and party fellows won’t forgive her for this. The well-off countries of the EU are facing elections. Granting loans to Greece will stir discontent among the population of these countries. The elections in France showed that Merkel in Germany could expect something similar. There’s a threat of popular discontent, and it’s quite likely that Germany will stop providing aid to Greece. After that, a default in Greece won’t be long in coming”.

Khestanov believed that Greece’s withdrawal from the Eurozone should’ve happened earlier. Now, European politicians are paying the price for doing what they were told by the banks, who are the holders of the Greek debt, saying, “The sooner Greece goes bankrupt, the sooner the restoration of the economy will start. That’s why providing aid to Greece was wrong. The fact that Greece’ economy continues to fall is the most telling argument in favour of the statement that bankruptcy is the lesser of two evils for Greece”. The new deadline of Greece’s withdrawal from the Eurozone is the end of September. In September, the troika of creditors shall decide whether to grant another tranche to Greece.

23 August 2012

Polina Chernitsa

Aleksandra Dibizheva

Voice of Russia World Service

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Euro Group Delays Meeting On Greek Debt


Euro Zone finance ministers won’t gather in Brussels today as initially planned, as the Greek government hasn’t yet provided guarantees on the implementation of a raft of spending cuts it had earlier agreed with the troika of international lenders in exchange for a second bailout of 130 billion Euros (5.142 trillion Roubles. 171.3 billion USD. 109 billion UK Pounds), Jean-Claude Juncker, the Eurogroup‘s president and Luxembourg Prime Minister, said in a statement Tuesday. On Sunday night, the Greek parliament approved a near-term programme of austerity measures, which included wage and pension cuts.

15 February 2012

Voice of Russia World Service


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