|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Putin Hints at Broader Security Relationship with USA
July 4 (EIRNS)In the joint press conference with President Bush, closing the Kennebunkport summit July 1-2, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that his proposal for joint work on missile defense, if implemented, might lead to a broader security relationship with the United States. Putin added to his original proposal on the use of the Gabala, Azerbaijan radar: the creation of an information exchange center in Moscow and Brussels, modernization of Gabala, and the use of an additional anti-missile radar facility, under construction in southern Russia.
Putin reiterated that such a proposal would render unnecessary the planned radar in the Czech Republic and the stationing of the interceptors in Poland. "As for the future, as I already mentioned, we are now discussing a possibility of raising our relations to an entirely new level that would involve a very private and very, shall we say, sensitive dialogue on all issues related to the international security, including, of course, the missile defense issue," Putin said. "If this is to happen, I would like to draw your attention to this. The relations between our two countries would be raised to an entirely new level. Gradually, our relations would become those of a strategic partnership nature. It would mean raising the level, and improving the level of our interaction in the area of international security, thus leading to improved political interaction and cooperation with a final effect being, of course, evident in our economic relations and situation. Well, basically, we may state that the deck has been dealt, and we are here to play. And I would very much hope that we are playing one and the same game."
Ivanov: Putin Proposals Change International Relations
July 5 (EIRNS)Speaking yesterday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov strongly asserted the far-reaching nature of the strategic shift that will occur, if the USA responds positively to President Vladimir Putin's latest, expanded offer of cooperation on anti-missile defenses.
"Our proposals may be considered an innovation," said Ivanov. "That is why they change the configuration of international relations. We'll be able to create a pool of states that will jointly fight the missile proliferation threat." The Russian proposals, he added, could mean an end to all talk about a Cold War. "This will qualitatively change relations between Russia and the United States, a new space for trust will emerge, and we shall move to the level of strategic partnership."
These statements by Ivanov are resonant with comments made by Lyndon LaRouche on the July 1-2 meeting between the U.S. and Russian leaders. At talks with President George Bush in Kennebunkport, Maine, Putin expanded his previous offer for the USA and Russia to jointly use a radar in Gabala, Azerbaijan; Putin added a new anti-missile detection facility in southern Russia to the package, and proposed to bring the entire matter under the NATO-Russia Council. Commenting on July 3, LaRouche welcomed President Bush's willingness to listen to Putin's proposals on missile defense as "an unexpected positive outcome." If the proposal is accepted, it will result in future collaboration into the next decade, LaRouche commented.
In the same press briefing, Ivanov warned of the alternative: "If our proposals are not accepted, we shall take adequate measures. An asymmetric, effective response will be found. We know what we are doing, and that means a 100% guarantee of our security under any circumstances that may emerge."
The former defense minister continued, "If our proposals are accepted, Russia will no longer need to place new weapons, including missiles, in the European part of the country, including Kaliningrad, to counter the threats that may appear, and will appear, if ABM systems are placed in the Czech Republic or Poland." This was widely reported in the Russian media, including on national television, as a new, more intense warning, concerning the emplacement of Russian missiles in the country's westernmost district, Kaliningrad Region, between Lithuania and Poland.
USA, Russia Progress on Nuclear Power Agreement
July 3 (EIRNS)In a briefing to reporters today, Robert Joseph, the U.S. Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak talked about the ongoing discussions being held to weave together the different proposals for establishing a central or several central international centers for the production and the reprocessing of nuclear fuel, in an attempt to satisfy the growing demand from developing countries for nuclear energy, as well as the demands of the those who wish to limit the spread of nuclear enrichment and reprocessing capabilities. Both representatives indicated that they were attempting to pull together the various proliferation-proof nuclear energy proposals into a general package. While the emphasis is on cheap, safe nuclear energy, the proposal, when completed, could meet with heavy resistance, as it presupposes that participating countries will forgo their right, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to have nuclear fuel capabilities. The two Presidents issued a statement on this cooperation, following their meeting in Kennebunkport.
Putin's Talks with Ex-U.S. Presidents Led To Kennebunkport
July 5 (EIRNS)The invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush at the Bush family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, came from ex-President George H. W. Bush, during his talks with Putin in Moscow at the end of April, according to Russian reports. Former Presidents Bush and Bill Clinton represented the United States at the funeral of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Both had the opportunity to talk with Putin.
Several days later, on April 27, Putin received former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Kremlin, for their seventh tête-à-tête during the past six years. Putin then announced his "pleasure" in supporting the formation of a new strategic working group, called "Russia-USA: A Look Into the Future." It is to be headed by Kissinger and former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, a regular adviser to Putin. The White House also issued a statement, welcoming the formation of the new group, on April 27.
According to Itar-Tass, the possible members of the group are quite a mix, including George Shultz, former Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh, former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), and former Soviet Ambassador to the USA Yuli Vorontsov. Primakov said that its first meeting would take place in Moscow in July.
The role being played by the senior Bush was highlighted in a July 4 commentary by Shamsudin Mamayev of Eurasiahome.org, titled "Kennebunkport: Solitaire, or Poker?" Asking why President Bush publicly reacted to Putin's concept of a European-wide anti-missile defense system, Mamayev wrote, "Evidently his father, ex-President George Bush, Sr. ... has a sobering influence on him. He is the political antipode to his own son, having in his day categorically refused to storm Baghdad, and having traveled to Kiev to plead personally for Ukraine not to leave the USSR."
Remarking that it was Bush, Sr. who personally invited Putin to Kennebunkport, Mamayev, in an additional comment not confirmed elsewhere, reported that the day after his meeting with Kissinger, Putin phoned President Bush to put forward, informally and for the first time, the proposal to use Azerbaijan's Gabala radar facility for joint anti-missile operations, instead of the installments in Poland and the Czech Republic that Russia opposes. Five weeks later, at the Heiligendamm G-8 summit, Putin made the proposal official.
Brits Attempt To Recruit Russian in Litvinenko Affair
June 30 (EIRNS)According to Itar-Tass of June 29, the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia has disclosed the name of a Russian citizen, who contacted the FSB earlier this month, saying that British secret services tried to recruit him. "The Britons were trying to recruit former security service officer Vyacheslav Zharko," a source at the FSB public relations center told Itar-Tass on June 29. Zharko said that oligarch Boris Berezovsky knows him under a different name. They met in the 1990s, and Zharko was running Berezovsky's errands. According to the account, Berezovsky invited Zharko to London in Summer 2002 and introduced him to Alexander Litvinenko, who, in turn, introduced him to representatives of a consulting company, who appeared to be agents of British secret services, the source said.
Russian Railways Chief in New Electric Power Agreement
July 5 (EIRNS)Vladimir Yakunin, head of the state-owned company Russian Railways, met yesterday in the Ural city of Chelyabinsk with Unified Energy Systems CEO Anatoli Chubais, to coordinate Russia's national rail expansion programs with those of the national electric power company. Their cooperation will be tied in to the already-adopted Russian Railways phased plan for rail development up to 2030. The rail plan focusses on upgrading existing rail routes in the 2008-15 period, and then, in 2016-30, moving on to strategically significant projects, including the line to the Bering Strait. The news agency Dp.ru highlighted the Yakutsk-Uelen line, which will end at the Bering Strait, in its report on the Yakunin-Chubais meeting.
Yakunin is currently touring the Ural and Volga regions. On July 3 in Nizhny Novgorod, he announced that Russia's first high-speed railroad will appear in 2012-14, on the St. Petersburg-Moscow route. Nizhny, Russia's third biggest city, would be the next candidate destination for its extension, and then the Urals. July 11 is the date of a Russian-Japanese conference in Nizhny, on high-speed-rail technologies.