|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Russian Anti-Globalists Cite LaRouche:
'It's Anglo-Dutch Liberalism'!
In a posting on the site www.anti-glob.ru, Russian anti-globalist activists give their own Russian-language precis of the editorial, "The Disintegration of Iraq," appearing in EIR of Oct. 27, 2006. The short summary does well in undercutting the knee-jerk anti-Americanism that is prevalent among opponents of globalization. "EIR magazine, which reflects the views of U.S. anti-globalists, particularly the associates of the well-known economist and political figure Lyndon LaRouche," writes anti-glob.ru, "has published material, linking the provocations around the proclamation of a Sunni state in Iraq, with the activity of globalizers who want 'managed chaos' in the Middle East." Under the headline, "The Dismemberment of Iraq is the Work of Anglo-Dutch Forces," anti-glob.ru comments: "While most people in the world think that the Americans are to blame for everything, the correlation of forces looks somewhat different, from inside the USA." In particular, "The authors of the Oct. 27 [EIR] editorial believe that the Anglo-Dutch Liberal establishment is behind the disintegration of Iraq." These are the forces, that pushed the USA and the UK to invade Iraq as a first stage of the "war among civilizations," and "the USAthe most powerful nation on the planetis both a tool, and a target of the globalizers." The summary notes the timing of escalated tension in Iraq with the U.S. mid-term elections, quotes EIR on the horrific civilian casualty figures in Iraq, and concludes, "The author of the editorial expresses the hope, that the U.S. leadership will return to the sane policy of the times of F.D. Roosevelt."
Russian 'Party of Development' Founded
A founding conference was held Oct. 14 in Moscow, for the Party of Development. It elected its initiator, educator and political activist Yuri Krupnov, as chairman, and adopted a program called A Five-Year Plan for Development. EIR of Sept. 22, 2006, in the feature "A Eurasian Dialogue With LaRouche on Economic Progress," published Krupnov's exchange with LaRouche on the preconditions for world development, which took place in the wake of LaRouche's Sept. 6 "Turning Point in World History" webcast. The Party of Development congress was attended by 244 people, representing 61 of Russia's over 80 constituent territories. The major wire service, RIA Novosti, carried a report on the conference, quoting Krupnov as saying, "The idea of development can unite the country, regardless of ideology." More extensive coverage on the websites KM.ru and Rosbalt.ru highlighted the movement's ideas on reversing Russia's demographic decline, and launching new infrastructure and city-building projects, as well as its desire either to move the capital of Russia from Moscow to the Far East, or to organize a second national capital in the East.
Putin's Webcast Chiefly on Economy
While news media in the West, and many Russian wire dispatches, highlighted questions about the political succession in Russia, the recent high-profile murders in the country, and the crises around North Korea and the Transcaucasus, by far the greater part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's Oct. 25 webcast dealt with citizens' questions on the economy. The discussion included matters that are life-and-death for Russians and for the country: the lack of modern infrastructure connections between the Far East and other parts of Russia, the increasingly dire shortage of teachers and doctors, not to mention airplane pilots (as Soviet-trained personnel age, and young professionals are not trained), the persistence of a minimum wage that is below the "subsistance minimum." Also: forest land privatization, the inability to break even in agriculture, the housing shortage (even with a shrinking population), unaffordable Moscow rents, and the need for economic diversification beyond oil and gas production. Also prominent in the discussion were social crisis issues, including recent ethnic clashes, the campaign to attract ethnic Russians to immigrate to the Russian Federation, and the dangerous spread of video slot machines to every street corner.
The next day, Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov told the cabinet that, in case they hadn't realized it, Putin's critical remarks on these topics were addressed to them. "I want to say that there will be no additional reminders, and the delicate form of expression, which is common for the President, should be seen as a last warning for many of us," said Fradkov.
Russia-EU Energy Charter Stalled
At talks with European Union leaders in Finland on Oct. 20, President Putin and his delegation again refused to promise ratification of the pro-liberalization Energy Charter that President Boris Yeltsin signed in 1994. Russia's two main objections are: 1) the Charter's demand for Russian domestic energy prices at European levels, a tenfold increase; and 2) the EU's insistence that Russia open its energy sector to Western shareholders, without enjoying reciprocal rights in the West.
A Voice of Russia radio commentary, the day of the meeting, said: "The question of mutual access of Russian and European energy companies to the markets becomes one of the most relevant. Russia is ready to provide access to its infrastructure. The question is whether Russian companies will be allowed to work abroad.... Moscow stands for the bilateral principle that could meet the demands of both energy importers and exporters, and it will not ratify the Charter till some of it wording is changed.
Renewed Economic Warfare
Against Russian Gas Exports
With the signing of a three-year agreement Oct. 24 between Russian Gazprom and Neftehaz Ukrainy, it seemed that new problems for Europe, due to the complicated gas contracts between Russia and Ukraine, had been fended off. The agreement guarantees gas deliveries to Ukraine, both for Ukrainian consumption and for transit to Europe, and fixes the price at $130/1000 cubic meters for 2007, a $35 increase over the 2006 rate. Prime Ministers Mikhail Fradkov and Victor Yanukovych welcomed the agreement, as did President Vladimir Putin. But President Victor Yushchenko of Ukraine, whose Our Ukraine Party has left the parliamentary coalition and the cabinet that Yanukovych heads, expressed doubts about the prices and called for a review. His interference may delay the agreement, which would be in the interest of certain Anglo-Dutch circles that keep pushing the pipe(-line) dream of a European gas supply without Russia, and have already recruited the governments of Poland, Czechia, and the three Baltic republics to that idea. The Oct. 26 decision by the Fitch rating agency to downgrade Neftehaz Ukrainy's credit rating to B+, which is the category of default warnings, has to be seen in that context. Fitch explicitly cited the Russian-Ukrainian gas deal, as allegedly bankrupting the Ukrainian firm.
There are also complications on the Russian side. National electric power company (UES) chief Anatoli Chubais has been warning that Russia will have black-outs and brown-outs this winter, if Gazprom does not allocate more natural gas for domestic use and less for export. In the wild world of globalization, UES has contracted to important electric power, including about 6 billion kwh from Ukraine, to compensate for expected shortfalls in Russia.
Kazak Politician Blasts Mittal for Murder
Dariga Nazarbayeva, a member of Parliament in Kazakstan and daughter of the country's President, has charged that London-based steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal is to blame for the deaths of over 80 coal miners in Kazakstan in the past three years. In September, 41 died in a methane gas explosion at a mine owned by Mittal, after which Nazarbayeva's party prepared legislation to impose stiffer penalties for labor safety violations. "Kazakstan should not act like an obedient colony that bows to yet another foreign master listed [as among the world's richest men] in Forbes magazine," Nazarbayeva said in an Oct. 20 interview.