|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Economist Vitrenko Announces Run for Ukrainian Presidency
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)Ukrainian economist Natalia Vitrenko has announced her candidacy for President of Ukraine. The banner above the podium during today's special Congress of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine, which nominated Vitrenko, pictured her speaking recently against the backdrop of her 2000 Presidential campaign poster, in which doctor of economics Vitrenko points to Lyndon LaRouche's Triple Curve pedagogical graphic, contrasting the collapse of the physical economy to hyperbolic financial asset and monetary growth.
In the 2000 election, Vitrenko had broad support, but her campaign was derailed by an Oct. 2, 1999 terror bombing attack, which remains an "unsolved crime" to this day.
In 1995, at a conference of the Schiller Institute in Germany, she authored the "Memorandum to Mankind," calling to overturn the murderous liberal economics of the International Monetary Fund. In 1997, Vitrenko and Schiller Institute founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche co-initiated the call for a New Bretton Woods conference, which has subsequently been signed by thousands of elected officials and other influentials.
On Oct. 18-19 of this year, Vitrenko keynoted a seminar, held in Germany with Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche. Her presentation on the devastation of Ukraine's economy, especially since the so-called Orange Revolution of 2004, will be published in EIR of Nov. 6, 2009, while appearing in video form on the LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC) website www.larouchepac.com. Based on discussions at this seminar, Zepp-LaRouche and Vitrenko have drafted a new appeal, "Implement the LaRouche Plan!", which will be issued in final form at the beginning of November.
Addressing today's congress of her party, Vitrenko pledged to take Ukraine out of the IMF, if she is elected. Calling for a close alliance with Russia and Belarus, she announced her electoral platform as centered on "radical change in domestic and foreign policy, as required to save the nation." She said that it will only be possible to save Ukraine, by rejecting the economic model imposed by the IMF, since Ukraine joined that organization in 1992.
On the eve of the PSPU congress, Ukraine's Parliament finally passed an increase in the minimum wage and social security guarantees for the population. Vitrenko pointed out in her Oct. 18 seminar presentation, that this hotly debated measure means a whopping increase of $20 in the monthly income of Ukraine's poorfrom $75/month to $95/month, or from $95/month to $115/month. This pitiful measure was hotly opposed by IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who said he was "worried" by it. The IMF has hinted that it might scrap the fourth tranche of its $16.4 billion loan to Ukraine, negotiated last year.
Flu, Or Something Else, Panics Ukraine
Oct. 31 (EIRNS)A panic is underway over H1N1 flu in western Ukraine, including quarantines and panic buying of drugs in Lviv, Ternopil, and other towns. There are unconfirmed reports, and surging rumors, about its being something other than, or in addition to, H1N1. Among the subjects of speculation: "typhus", or "hemorrhagic fever," or "pneumonic plague, imported by the Americans to wipe out the Slavic people." Thirty-some people have died, most of them young, and there are rumors about their lungs being filled with blood.
People in the area report that the panic is intense, with rumors of "typhus" swirling in the population and the media, although the authorities deny that it's anything except for swine flu. While none of the characterizations of the outbreak have been confirmed, the level of panic and rumor begins to sound like the opening scenes of the LPAC "Dark Ages" video, recalling how people fled in desperation from the plague, brought on by insane economic policies.
Russia, China, India: Foreign Ministers Meet
Oct. 27 (EIRNS)Official communiques provided preliminary results of the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, China, and India, which took place today in Bangalore. The three Eurasian powers emphasized their "new model of cooperation," in the words of Russia's Sergei Lavrov, after their Ninth Trilateral yearly meeting. India's External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna hosted Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Lavrov. The three reached a consensus on deepening trilateral cooperation on key issues, including the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the international financial and economic crisis, energy cooperation, drug trafficking and terrorism, and the tensions with Iran and the Korean peninsula, Xinhua reported today.
Yang Jiechi said that the three nations have been "efficiently communicating" with each other since their last meeting, in Yekaterinburg in May 2008. They have been coordinating policies and providing "mutual support" to face the international financial crisis and protect common interests, Yang said. He said this cooperation has played an important role in stabilizing the global economy.
Lavrov told the post-meeting briefing, that the "global economic crisis is creating new power structures and changing the current Western-oriented world," Russia Today reported. "Our common opinion is that the global financial crisis has shown that the post-World War II architecture does not match reality," he said. "Russia, India, and China have agreed to coordinate common efforts to create a multi-polar, more democratic and fair international system, both in the economic sphere and global security."
Krishna emphasized that the "natural complementarity" in the energy sector among the three nations, could form a new basis for trilateral cooperation.
Lavrov also announced that the three nations have proposed developing a collective strategy to stabilize Afghanistan and expect a positive answer from the United States. They discussed terrorism in the entire Arc of Crisis, from India to the Caucasus. The three ministers also stressed the role of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and India's renewed interest in the SCO, where it is an observer nation, demonstrated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself leading the Indian delegation to the Oct. 14 SCO summit in Beijing.
Russian Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft Proposed by Roscosmos
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, has developed a design for a nuclear-powered manned spacecraft, Agency director Anatoly Perminov announced to a national meeting of the commission on the modernization of the Russian economy in Moscow today. "The project is aimed at implementing large-scale space exploration programs," Perminov said.
This development is useful, but it is not the energy source we are looking for, Lyndon LaRouche said today. This design is the continuation and revival of a process, which should never have been dropped from space programs in the first place, LaRouche said. It is a useful contribution to a continuing process.
Perminov said that development of megawatt-class nuclear space power systems (MCNSPS) for manned spacecraft, is crucial for Russia if it wants to keep a competitive edge in space, including the exploration of the Moon and Mars, Novosti reported. The draft design would be finished by 2012, and further development will require the investment of some 17 billion rubles ($580 million) in the next nine years.
At the same meeting, Anatoly Koroteyev, president of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics and head of the Keldysh research center, said that the Russian space industry's current capabilities are insufficient either to set up a permanent base on the Moon, or to send an independent manned mission to Mars. He said that the key scientific and technical problem for manned Moon and Mars missions, is development of new propulsion systems and energy supplies.
Renewed Russian Interest in Industrial Cooperation with Europe
Oct. 28 (EIRNS)The Russian government has launched initiatives to expand cooperation and to have the Europeans, especially Italy and Germany, increase direct industrial investments in Russia. At the end of last week, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitri Medvedev, and Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi discussed the South Stream gas pipeline project. Concerning Germany, Putin made a special point about industrial cooperation when, on Oct. 18, he visited the new Kaluga auto plant of Volkswagen and Skoda (the Czech subsidiary of VW). Then, on Oct. 19, he joined a meeting between Medvedev and top leaders of German industry who were visiting Moscow, which has received little media coverage. Klaus Mangold, chairman of the German industry's Ostausschuss (East Committee), is quoted saying that the managers attending the meeting represented a total annual turnover of EU500 billion, and that the meeting included only firms that are committed to "longer-term, sustainable engagement" in Russia.
Putin mentioned agriculture, construction, car-making, and high technology, as sectors of preferred interest, and he added that a number of new "big projects will preserve existing jobs and create new ones in Russia and in Germany." This includes the envisaged Magna-Sberbank-Opel group, and the recent Russian purchase of the Vadan shipyard in Wismar, among other projects.
Among high-tech ventures, the one which is planned between Siemens and Rosatom for the joint manufacturing of nuclear power plant components ranks prominently, and was referred to on the sidelines of that Moscow meeting.