|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Summit Hesitates on British 'Dump Dollar' Operation
June 17 (EIRNS)The June 16 summit of Brazil, Russia, India, and China (known as BRIC), refused to leave London's international monetary system, but did not fully leap into the suicidal, British-laid trap of breaking with the dollar. Sources in India close to the Foreign Ministry report that inside the BRIC summit hall, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was the lead runner on the substitute currency issue. China was not keen to respond, and Brazil was most reluctant to endorse any of it. India did not participate in this discussion.
The joint statement issued from this first-ever BRIC summit did not deviate much from the City of London agenda. Refusing to acknowledge that the current crisis is a general economic breakdown, the powers demanded "a greater voice" in the already dead imperialist monetary system, urging implementation of the April 2 London G20 summit decisions to "reform" that dead system, demanding curbs on protectionism, and the advance of the free-trade-policing World Trade Organization negotiations.
On the eve of the BRIC meeting, even Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, a hard-core pro-British monetarist, had downplayed the rush to new reserve currencies. After meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Lecce, Italy, Kudrin said it was "still premature to talk about other reserve currencies. We don't intend to change the structure of our reserves substantially in the immediate future"a period of "more than a year," Kommersant reported.
Despite these caveats, Medvedev insisted that replacement of the dollar as the world reserve currency be discussed at the BRIC session. Medvedev economic advisor Arkady Dvorkovich, even as he assured reporters that there was no contradiction between Kudrin and Medvedev on the dollar question, said that the summit would discuss the possibility of expanding the basket of currencies backing the IMF's special drawing rights (SDRs), and the promotion of regional currencies, including "possibly placing part of reserves in the financial instruments of partner countries."
The final communiqué stated only that "we also believe that there is a strong need for a stable, predictable, and more diversified international monetary system."
Collective Security Force To Fight Drug Trafficking
June 15 (EIRNS)One of the key tasks of the Collective Security Treaty Organization's (CSTO) newly formed rapid reaction force will be to combat cross-border drug trafficking, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said during a meeting June 10 with Victor Ivanov, head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, according to the ISRIA website. The two met in anticipation of the CSTO summit, held in Yekaterinburg June 14. The forces, which will be made up of large military units from five CSTO membersRussia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan"will enable our efficient response to the most significant modern threats international terrorism, local and transboundary crimes, drug trafficking, and regional conflicts," Medvedev said after the summit.
In his discussion with Ivanov, Medvedev said that the CSTO forces "should be able to also carry out missions to cut off drug supply channels as part of large-scale operations to block the supply routes and destroy the drug dealers' infrastructure. I think we will discuss not only establishing the force, but will also discuss how we can use it in the fight against drugs."
Ivanov responded that "cooperation within the CSTO is progressing well." He cited the Channel international cooperation operations, in which now some 20 nations are participating. "This has helped us to step up work between the law enforcement agencies involved in one way or another in the fight against drug trafficking: the customs and border services, of course, the drug control services, and the police. This makes it possible to keep information on drug-trafficking channels up to date and thus consolidate efforts to intercept drugs," he said. "It could be a good idea to examine the possibility of using the Collective Rapid Reaction Force for one-off operations on the main drug trafficking routes."
The CSTO, the security branch of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which was set up in 1992, includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Georgian Lies About 2008 War Documented in EU Report
June 16 (EIRNS)The European Union Commission's special investigation group on the Georgian-Russian war over South Ossetia in August 2008 is not favorable to the Georgian side, according to the German newsweekly Spiegel-Online. In particular, in preliminary fact-sheets, Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili is exposed for his lies about alleged Russian provocations as causing that war. Unpublished documents produced by the EU investigators assign much of the blame to Saakashvili. The Georgian military mobilization was simply too big, for example, to be carried out "in instant response" on Aug. 7 to an alleged Russian attack; it had apparently been built up over some time. The documents are part of a dossier put together by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, which is to be presented publicly by the end of July.
The Russian and Ossetian militias were also partly responsible, the report says, adding that questions are also unanswered about why no one at the U.S. State Department picked up the phone when the Russian Foreign Ministry called on the "hot line" to brief the Americans on the situation, a few hours after Georgian troops had invaded South Ossetia.