|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Putin on VE Day, Calls for 'Common Responsibility' Among Nations
May 10 (EIRNS)On the 62nd anniversary of the declaration of "Victory in Europe," a solemn day for Russia, its neighboring countries, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "Today we pay tribute to the countries that fought together against Hitler. We shall not forget their contribution to the defeat of Nazism." Those who fought Fascism "gave our country and the entire world a future," he said.
Putin said that the "causes" of the war "have their roots in an ideology of confrontation and extremism." Therefore, "It is all the more important, because these threats are not becoming fewer but are only transforming and changing their appearance. These new threats, just as under the Third Reich, show the same contempt for human life and the same aspiration to establish an exclusive dictate over the world."
"It is my conviction that only common responsibility and equal partnership can counter these challenges and enable us to join forces in resisting any attempts to unleash new armed conflicts and undermine global security."
The Anglo-American media, including the Guardian, the International Herald Tribune, and the bottom-feeding Drudge Report, spin the reports on Putin's speech as a threat against the United States"obliquely, comparing the U.S. to the Third Reich," simply leaving out the context altogether.
Russian Academician: New Cold War Looms
May 9 (EIRNS)"We are on the brink of a new Cold War," Academician Sergei Rogov, head of the USA-Canada Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, wrote in a May 7 commentary on Russian-American relations. The piece was published on Eurasianhome.org and is being cited in the Chinese and other international press.
Rogov's blunt assessment is that "the strategic partnership between Moscow and Washington has failed. The partnership exists in words only." The relationship was defined as a "strategic partnership" in discussions between Bill Clinton and the late Boris Yeltsin, but later "everything was based on personal relations between the Presidents," without any institutional framework or much substance. "No fundamental progress" has occurred between the two countries, after the Cold War, wrote Rogov, with an emphasis on the abiding threat of a strategic nuclear conflict. "We have continued to live with a nuclear deterrent....
"Yeltsin and Clinton signed a declaration on de-targetting of strategic missiles, in 1994. But, how long does it take to target missiles? Maybe, 30 or 40 seconds? Here's the next question: Can countries be partners, if they are ready to unleash a nuclear war within 40 seconds?... If we talk about Russian-American relations today, we can draw the unpleasant conclusion, that we are on the brink of a new Cold War." Rogov then returned to the nuclear war threat, and argued against the planned U.S. emplacement of anti-missile systems in Central Europe. If anything, these systems would be part of "a deterrent chiefly against China, not Russia. If we look at the globe, we can see that our missiles will fly over the North Pole, so the American missiles from Poland cannot run them down, try as they might."
Even though the Soviet Union's communist ideology is gone from the scene, the Russian academician says, "We do have an ideological conflict coming to the fore. If things go the way they are going, in the 2008 U.S. elections, the Republicans and the Democrats will both make 'containment of Russia' part of their campaigns, in place of 'containment of communism.'"
The recent Chinese anti-satellite weapons test, according to Rogov, "shows that we are entering a multipolar world, but that is not a panacea, because there are no sure rules of the game." In conclusion, Rogov wrote that the Cold War tendency "can be turned back, but clear and considered efforts should be made by both sides."
Russia Tells Serbs It Will Not Accept Independent Kosovo
May 5 (EIRNS)Russia's UN Ambassador Vitali Churkin said in an interview with the Serbian BBC Service on May 4 that Moscow refuses "rushed acceptance" of any UN Security Council resolution based on the plan of UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari to give Kosovo "supervised independence." Churkin indicated that Russia will possibly support a UN resolution which would establish an EU mission in Kosovo, but without "imposing independence." He stopped short of threatening that Russia would use its veto in the Security Council against the Ahtisaari resolution, but made clear that Russia won't accept any superimposing of Ahtisaari's plan, which is strongly backed by the current U.S. Administration, NATO, and the EU.
Churkin mentioned that Kosovo Albanians would have been in a much better negotiating position if it hadn't been for the 2004 "pogrom of Serbs and church burnings." He was referring to the large-scale anti-Serbian riots of March 15-18, 2004, in which 30 people died and hundreds were injured, and many churches and homes were burned down. The Albanian riots provoked mobs in the Serbian cities of Belgrade and Nis to burn the town mosques in revenge. This apparently pre-organized destabilization was synchronized with the synarchist March 11 Madrid train bombing.
Churkin, who claims that he has the support of other Security Council member countries, also said that the unilateral proclamation of Kosovo's independence by Kosovo Albanians "would be very bad," because the world could face demands from various territories which seek independence.
Russia-Kazakstan Talks Focus on Fuel and Energy
May 10 (EIRNS)Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev met today in Astana, capital of Kazakstan, to discuss the "Plan for the Joint Actions of Russia and Kazakstan" for 2007-08, Itar-Tass and Novosti reported. This is the two Presidents' second meeting this year. Nazarbayev announced that the Action Plan "concerns nuclear power, energy, regional and humanitarian cooperation." The two Presidents met one-on-one, and then with their delegations. Nazarbayev told Putin that "oil and gas cooperation [with Russia] is strategically important, specifically in transporting Kazak oil to global markets, using Russian trunk pipelines and joint refineries. Kazakstan is committed to transporting most of its oil, if not, all of it, across Russian territory."
Putin called for Kazak support for "an ambitious infrastructure project involving Kazakstan-based assets," being built by Russian Aluminum, "the world's leading" aluminum producer. "We expect you ... to support us in implementing these projects," he said.
Cooperation overall will include the areas of space, military-technical cooperation, nuclear energy, cross-border trade, and large-scale integration projects. The two nations are building a space complex at Baikonur, called Baiterek, to launch Angara launch vehicles capable of putting 26 metric tons of payload into low-Earth orbits. Russia rents its current space center, Baikonur, from Kazakstan. Itar-Tass reported that a Kremlin source said that the two nations would also enhance financial cooperation. "The initial steps were taken to implement the first projects of the Eurasian Development Bank, which was set up on the initiative of the Presidents of the two countries in 2006. The Russian Vneshekonombank is actively cooperating with its Kazak partners," the Kremlin source said.
Top U.S. and Russian Officials To Hold '2+2' Meetings
May 5 (EIRNS)U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried announced at the State Department on May 4 that the United States has agreed to a series of meetings between U.S. and Russian foreign and defense ministers, to discuss bilateral issues. U.S. plans for missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic will be a central focus. "We have agreed to a Russian suggestion that the Secretaries of Defense and State meet with their Russian counterparts, and do so in a so-called 2+2 format," Fried told reporters, according to AFP.
The Russians made the suggestion last month during a visit by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to Moscow. Russian officials have been increasingly vocal in their criticisms of U.S. policy in general and the missile defense plan, in particular, in recent weeks. Russian military chief Gen. Yury Baluyevsky charged May 3 that the missile defense plan was "the beginning of a new round of an uncontrollable arms race in Europe."
Fried, who accompanied Gates to Moscow, said the Russian concerns were based on "a misunderstanding of the limitations and capability" of the proposed sites, and on fears of how they could be expanded in the future. Fried said that an exact date for the first meeting has not been set yet, but that it will probably take place in September.
Russia, Asia Move Forward on Nuclear Cooperation
May 2 (LPAC)Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reported today, that nuclear power cooperation will be on the agenda of talks that Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Aso will have in Moscow, May 3. This involves the signing of an intergovernmental agreement under which Russia would supply nuclear fuel to Japan, enrich its uranium, and cooperate in the production of equipment for nuclear power plants.
Indonesia's Antara news agency reported today, that South Korean firms want to invest $1.5 billion in the first Indonesian nuclear power project; feasibility studies for that are already being carried out by the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company. According to Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yugiantro, the plant will have a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. Six other, non-nuclear energy projects in Indonesia, totaling another $1.8 billion of investments, are under discussion.
In his May 1 in Washington, D.C. international webcast presentation (see EIR, May 11), Lyndon LaRouche commented on the significance of these developments: "Nuclear fission power is on the rise. It's unstoppable unless we go to a dark age.... If you look at the pattern of increase of contracts and intentions for nuclear fission power around the world, it's enormous." LaRouche also noted that the real future lies in thermonuclear fusion as a technology to solve many of the raw materials problems in the world.