|Russia and the CIS News Digest
LaRouche's Hyperinflation Warning Brought to Russia
Jan. 24 (EIRNS)The Jan. 22 LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC) release, "LaRouche Warns: Hyperinflation Blow-Out Imminent," is circulating on the Internet in the Russian language. Its speedy dissemination brings a dose of reality into the current Russian discussion of the global financial crisis, which the deputy head of the Russian Central Bank this week called "systemic, but not for Russia." Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin yesterday pronounced Russia an "island of stability" in the crisis, while the speculators at Pyotr Aven's Alfa Bank put out a report on how Russia can offer investors a 30% annual return on funds put into the country, while the rest of the world sinks into chaos.
The Ukraine-based analytical site Strateger.net posted the LPAC release, with a link to LaRouche's April 20, 2006 warning, "Hyperinflation Like Weimar 1923: World System on Weimar Collapse Curve" (also in Russian). Anti-glob.ru, site of the Russian Anti-Globalist Resistance, advertises the new release, as well as the Jan. 17, 2008 LaRouche webcast archive, with a reference to the warnings LaRouche made in Moscow in May 2007, that the global systemic collapse was set to burst out full-force within months.
Russians Cling To 'Safe Haven' Illusions
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)Senior Russian figures are clinging to their illusions that the international systemic crisis will only have a passing effect on Russia. Deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank Gennadi Melikyan told reporters in the city of Tula on Jan. 22, that Russia can survive without great problems. The "current negative situation on world markets has affected the Russian Federation," said Melikyan, and "it is too early to relax. But there is certainty that we will be able to survive this quietly. There is no fatal danger of a crisis." Melikyan cited Russia's high level of foreign exchange reserves as an element of security.
Members of the Russian Duma also downplayed the scope of the crisis, including the potential for a collapse of the energy prices upon which Russia is so dependent.
Russian General: U.S. Plans Put Strategic Deterrent at Risk
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, commander of Russia's military Space Forces, yesterday became the latest Russian officer to warn that U.S. and NATO anti-missile system plans in Central Europe increase the threat of a strategic nuclear showdown. Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Popovkin said, "The deployment of U.S. anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems in Europe represents a real threat to the strategic nuclear forces of Russia, despite all the assurances of the U.S. Administration." Novosti quoted Popovkin's accusation that the United States was trying to drag Russia into an ABM arms race it cannot afford. "Therefore," he said, "Russia may respond with asymmetrical measures." One such measure that Popovkin mentioned was to upgrade the capability of Russian ICBMs to overcome ABM defenses.
For several months after President Putin's visit to the Bush family residence in Kennebunkport, Maine last Summer, Russia has held out hope for a positive U.S. response to Putin's offer of jointly developing ABM facilities with the United States in Azerbaijan and in southern Russia, instead of in NATO members Poland and the Czech Republic. "While there are no guarantees, the outcome of that [Kennebunkport] meeting could prove to be hopeful," Lyndon LaRouche commented in a July 4, 2007 statement, "if the right selection of both Democratic and Republican leading figures agree to view this opportunity in just the right way."
In year-end interviews, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the Kennebunkport proposal "unprecedented," and one of the most important events of 2007. "The proposal was to unite capabilities that are defining for each side's security," said Lavrov. "That means 'to overcome vestiges of the past in oneself,' and embark on a level of partnership and cooperation that was absolutely inconceivable before. We have not lost hope, that this approach will be accepted, though the chances of that are declining."
With the recent remarks of Chief of Staff Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky (see InDepth, "Russians Reply to Provocations by Warning of Nuclear War"), and now Popovkin's warning, Moscow is signalling that the door for such strategic cooperation is just about closed.
Putin Sends Lavrov To Attend Saakashvili Inauguration
Jan. 20 (EIRNS)Russia was represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the inauguration of Georgian President Michael Saakashvili. Saakashvili was reelected with a 53% majority, after a long period of turbulence touched off by his high-handed tactics. Such high-level representation from Russia, which has been in a running battle with the Georgian President, the darling of Wall Street, which wishes to bring Georgia into NATO, is not without significance, as Lavrov himself indicated. "I will have today a brief, but important meeting with Saakashvili," Lavrov told Interfax. "The Russian President has delegated me to represent Russia at the inauguration ceremony. That was not an easy decision," he said, but it "underscores the desire to be guided by fundamental things and by the two peoples' long-term interests in contacts with Georgian colleagues, not by momentary political motives." In his inaugural speech, Saakashvili also adopted a conciliatory tone, indicating that "we have a chance to begin new relations. The Georgian people have no other alternative."
Demonstrations have continued during January in the capital city of Tbilisi, as opposition parties demand an investigation into election fraud on Saakashvili's part.
Georgian Labor Party Says Natelashvili Was Targetted
Jan. 26 (EIRNS)Yesterday, the Labor Party of Georgia released a statement that accuses Georgian President Michael Saakashvili's regime of undermining the health of Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili through a campaign of "physical, political, and information terror." Natelashvili was hospitalized in a "pre-heart attack condition," on the eve of the Jan. 5 election, in which Saakashvili claimed a first-round victory. Natelashvili had been one of the two top opposition candidates. According to the Labor Party statement, his symptoms of illness began after he was tear-gassed during anti-regime demonstrations on Nov. 7, 2007. Still in the hospital now, Natelashvili is reported by the Novy Region press service to be preparing to travel to Europe for treatment.
As head of the Labor Party for over a decade, Natelashvili is a long-time staunch opponent of Georgia's joining NATO, as Saakashvili wants the country to do. In his interview in EIR of Oct. 29, 1999, Natelashvili also voiced his passionate opposition to "handing Georgia's financial and economic sovereignty to the International Monetary Fund."