|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Egypt and Russia Talk High-Tech Trade
Egypt desires to build a nuclear plant, said President Hosni Mubarak in an Oct. 30 interview with the Russian daily Vremya Novostei, on the eve of his visit to Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin. He told the daily that as soon as a final decision is made on building the plant, a date for bidding on the project will be announced. On Nov. 1, Mubarak began his tour of Russia, China, and Kazakhstan, during which the issue of nuclear energy development was on the agenda. He indicated to Vremya Novostei that the U.S. has no reason to be concerned about Egypt's nuclear ambitions, since "Egypt acts primarily according to its interests.... The United States has its own interests, so does Russia, and we have our interests. We are not hiding anything but working openly, and we definitely need nuclear energy despite its high cost.... Industrial development necessitates finding alternative energy sources." Mubarak said he was also interested in buying advanced Russian air defense systems.
Russia Wins Bulgarian Nuclear Plant Contract
The Russian government announced Oct. 30 that its Atomstroiexport agency had won the tender to build two 1,000 MW nuclear reactors in Bulgaria. Other bidders were Westinghouse and Czech-based Skoda. The plants will be operational in 2011 and 2013, 150 miles from Sofia, in Belene. Russia's on-going construction of five nuclear plants, in Iran, China, and India, have kept its nuclear power industry in business.
Russia's Federal Nuclear Power Agency, Rosatom, announced Oct. 31 that it will team up with the Canadian company Cameco to develop part of the Elkon uranium ore field, in Russia's Arctic Far East. Canada, which is the world's largest supplier of uranium, mines natural resources in climatic conditions similar to those in Russia. In September, Russia signed an agreement with Japan's Mitsui for a feasibility study to develop another uranium mining project, which was the first foreign involvement in this key sector. Russia has 615,000 tons of uranium reserves.
Rosatom head, Sergei Kiriyenko, also told an Oct. 31 conference in Moscow, that Russia is considering creating a joint venture to build a plant in Russia to manufacture turbines for nuclear reactors. Rosatom is in discussions with General Electric Siemens, and Westinghouse/Toshiba on the project.
Russia Rejects EU-Authored Resolution on Iran
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Oct. 30 that the draft European resolution on Iran, being debated in the UN Security Council, did not reflect the position agreed upon earlier by the six governments that were mediating in the nuclear disputethe permanent five members of the UNSC, plus Germany. The draft presented by France, Germany, and Britain would ban the sale of missile and nuclear technologies to Iran, freeze military bank accounts, and impose visa restrictions on Iranian officials working in the nuclear industry. However, there is no agreement in the UNSC on the resolution, which both Russia and China say is too onerous.
Three days later, on Nov. 2, Russia and China reiterated this position. Russian Foreign Minister Sergy Lavrov said, "We cannot support measures that in essence are aimed at isolating Iran from the outside world, including isolating people who are called upon to conduct negotiations on the nuclear program." Chinese UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said, "There are still different views on what kind of actions the Council needs to take under the current circumstances, and the major concern is that some members want tough sanctions like those in the resolution that the council passed on Oct. 14 to punish North Korea for conducting a nuclear test."
LaRouche Featured in Russian Documentary
An event called "Russian Week in Corfu" was held on the Greek island in early October. According to an Oct. 10 release on Pravolavie.ru, a Russian Orthodox Church-linked website, the Russian delegation included members of the State Duma, cosmonauts, military men, historians, businessmen, and sponsors from the Russky Predprinimatel (Russian Entrepreneur) Foundation. During the event, there was a "pre-premiere" screening of a documentary film called "The Global Change," dealing with the effects of globalization around the world. Sources who have seen the film report that it contrasts an interview with American economist Lyndon LaRouche, who warns that globalization will be the death of civilization, with praise for globalization from Kakha Bendukidze, the early post-Soviet "oligarch" who made a fortune from acquiring, and then selling, the giant Uralmash machine-tool factory, before emigrating to Georgia, where he is Minister of Economics in the Saakashvili government. Also included is footage of the devastation of industry in Detroit, Michigan, part of it narrated by Bob Bowen of EIR.
Opposition Demands that Kyrgyzstan PM Step Down
As many as 15,000 demonstrators protested in Kyrgysztan's capital city of Bishkek on Nov. 2, demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Felix Kulov for delaying constitutional reform and failure to stop corruption. Many of the opposition leaders are the same figures who were involved in last year's attempt at a Project Democracy "colored revolution" in Kyrgyzstan, which ended with an alliance between (now President) Kurmanbek Bakiyev and the security services-linked Kulov in power. Kulov has said he has no intention of stepping down. As of Nov. 4, the number of street protestors had dwindled to 1,000, while the authorities announced that opposition leaders would be investigated for plotting a coup.