|Russia and the CIS News Digest
LaRouche Quoted Again in Russia on 'Coming Dollar Crisis'
A discussion between LaRouche science advisor Jonathan Tennenbaum and journalist Maxim Kalashnikov on the potential for U.S.-Russian collaboration against the globalist financiers, published July 27 in the Russian weekly Zavtra, has been reprinted on at least two major Russian web sites, and the "anti-orange.ua" site in Ukraine, as well as in numerous blogs. Kalashnikov subsequently chaired a round table, under the heading "Will the Russian Federation survive the crash of the dollar?", at which several well-known economists spoke. At that event, Prof. Yuri Gromyko developed the idea that the coming crisis is systemic, citing a number of points from Lyndon LaRouche's analysis. According to a transcript posted Aug. 4 in the Forum.msk.ru online publication, Gromyko brought up the importance of LaRouche's influence in leading U.S. circles.
Primakov Warns of Wider Explosions in Mideast
Russia's senior Southwest Asia expert, former Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, said in an interview with Izvestia, published July 31, that his greatest concern about the fighting in Lebanon, is that circles in the U.S.A. intend it as a cover for an Israeli strike on Iran. In a lengthy talk, drawing on his personal involvement in diplomacy in the region since the 1960s, Primakov said that he saw the introduction of a large peace-keeping force, brought in with an "intelligent compromise peace plan," worked out by the quartet (Russia, U.S.A., EU, and UN), as a pathway out of the crisis, but that he feared some of the forces involved have a different agenda.
Primakov said he did not think that Iran or Syria were behind the attacks on Israeli soldiers, as is "fashionable" to say about the crisis-precipitating incidents. He developed how the escalation was not at all in Iran's interests, commenting that, "Iran's leaders are not so brainless, as to think they could divert attention from their nuclear program by using Hezbollah." As for Syria, he recalled that it is the ABCs of Syrian interests, to avoid a direct confrontation with Israel. But, continued Primakov, "What I find especially disappointing now is the behavior of the Americans. Why aren't they calling for an immediate cease-fire? Sure, there is the traditional U.S. posture of no toleration for terrorists, but there may be something else behind it. Perhaps their design is to drag Syria in? Perhaps they are calculating, that if Syria is dragged in, then Iran will intervene in the war? And then they want Israel to hit Iran? I am not briefed on the secret plans of the Americans, but I don't think their premise is that the destruction of Lebanon will make Hezbollah disappear."
Russian Diplomat: 'No Hint of Threat" in Iran Resolution
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vitali Churkin said July 28 that the UN Security Council's draft resolution on Iran, agreed upon by the Security Council's five permanent members, contains "no hint of a threat" of imposing sanctions. Contradicting acting U.S. Ambassador John Boltonwho called the resolution's call for Iran to suspend work on uranium enrichment "a mandatory command," to be followed by "increasing international isolation, economic and political pressureChurkin said that the resolution is "an invitation for Iran to negotiations."
Russian Chief of Staff Promises Response to Missile Defense
European wires July 29 cite a lengthy article published by the Russian Defense Ministry weekly, in which Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky wrote, under the headline, "U.S. NMDWhat Next?" that Russia sees the United States as being committed to achieving global strategic nuclear superiority. The Bush Administration has worked on that quite systematically, Baluyevsky wrote, quoting at length from the November 2001 Nuclear Posture review and from its update, the March 2006 report.
Baluyevsky wrote that the U.S. missile defense development program has reached a new phase, with the stationing of systems in Eastern Europe, which military experts evaluate as being oriented not to North Korea or Iran, but rather Russia and China. According to Baluyevsky, the U.S. ballistic missile defense program forces Russia to seek adequate technological and military response, in order to protect its national security. The Russian defense industry potentials are capable of developing these systems of response, Baluyevsky wrote.
'Globalized' Pathway to Boosting Russian Auto Production
In the latest of his periodic consultations with Russia's industrial-financial oligarchs, aimed at tying their activities to the state's priorities, President Vladimir Putin met Aug. 2 with Oleg Deripaska, whose Base Element holding company, and ownership stake in Russian Aluminum (Rusal), make him Russia's second-richest man. Aluminum, and related electricity development, was on their agenda, but the main topic was the automotive industry. Deripaska owns GAZ, the giant Gorky Auto Works, in Nizhny Novgorod. The Kremlin has already taken steps to consolidate the auto industry, by acquiring the AvtoVAZ plant (in Togliatti) through the state-owned arms exporter, Rosoboronexport.
According to a transcript released by the Kremlin, Deripaska proudly reported that he is turning the GAZ Group into "an international company, producing modern cars." With sales of $4 billion in 2005, GAZ employs 146,000 people at an average monthly wage of 9,000 rubles (about $350). The main way of upgrading GAZ's capacity is through what Deripaska called "strategic acquisitions": He bought Britain's LDV (originally the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, founded 1896), producer of the Maxus van, and declared, "We have fully purchased the plant from Chrysler and will begin manufacturing cars under the Volga brand starting from October next year." The Chrysler plant was the assembly facility in Sterling Park, Michigan, which was closed upon its sale to GAZ (EIR, June 23, 2006).
One of the big questions about stepping up car production in Russia, is posed by the underdevelopment of Russian roads. But Deripaska told Putin, "We are making these acquisitions not just to manufacture vehicles for the Russian market. We are also organizing production in India, where there is very high demand for these vehicles. He also noted upgrades to GAZ production of armored personnel carriers, both for the Russian Defense Ministry and for customers abroad. Deripaska boasted that Rusal is active in America, Africa, and Australia, besides Eurasia. For the period ahead, he said the company's biggest project is a $1.8 billion investment in completing the Boguchansk Hydroelectric Power Station (a 3000 MW dam on the Angara River in Krasnoyarsk, left uncompleted from the Soviet period), jointly with the national electricity utility UES, and an aluminum smelter next to it.
Yanukovych Named Premier of Ukraine
President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine has finally nominated Victor Yanukovych, head of the Party of Regions (POR), as Prime Minister. The POR was the top vote-getter in Parliamentary elections last March. Yushchenko acted in the wee hours of Aug. 3, as the previous days' deadline, to either name a new Premier, or disband the Supreme Rada, had passed. The Rada voted up the nomination on Aug. 4.
With the formation of a national unity government, around a grand coalition agreement called the "National Unity Universal," Project Democracy's Orange Revolutionthe operation through which Yushchenko wrested the Presidential election from Yanukovych at the end of 2004is officially over. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party freed its deputies to vote individually, with several dozen of them supporting Yanukovych, along with the "Anti-Crisis Coalition" of the POR, the Socialists, and the Communists. The Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko, which got over 20% in the March election, has gone into opposition.
Announcing his decision in a televised address, Yushchenko said he was acting to defend national unity. The question of seeking to join NATO, as a point of national policy, which Yushchenko still supports, has been deferred to a national referendum. Yanukovych, asked if he would be a "pro-Russian" Premier, as he is labelled, said he intended to be "pro-Ukrainian," with Russia as "a strategic partner."