|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Russian Analyst Cites LaRouche, Glass-Steagall Principle
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)Konstantin Sokolov, vice-president of Russia's Institute for Geopolitical Studies, cited Glass-Steagall protections for the real economy, and the accurate forecasting record of Lyndon LaRouche, in an interview published today under the headline, "Does Russia Face a Second Wave of Crisis?" The interview appeared on TPP-Inform, the website of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is headed by former Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov. The head of Sokolov's institute is Gen. Leonid Ivashov (ret.), former director of international relations at the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The lead-off question and answer in the interview are given here in full, translated from Russian by EIR.
"Konstantin Nikolayevich, what is the basis for the numerous statements that a new wave of crisis is coming?"
Sokolov: "Unfortunately, the world economic crisis is continuing to develop. Many experts, such as the well-known American economist and political analyst Lyndon LaRouche, whose forecasts have repeatedly been borne out, assert that the measures which have been taken by the international financial community are no cause for optimism. They are temporary measures, which cannot keep up with the unfolding situation, and serve only to postpone the denouement.
"Such behavior can only be explained by the fact that the people making these decisions are acting according to some other scenario, one which does not provide for overcoming the crisis. In 1999, the Glass-Steagall amendment was abolished. It had been adopted in 1933, as one of the measures designed to find a way out of the Great Depression. Essentially, the banks were forbidden from combining the functions of financing industry, with speculation on the stock exchanges.
"The historical record suggests that the decision to repeal this amendment could have had no other outcome, than a repetition of the scenario which, in its day, led to the Great Depression. Thus, the current crisis, from its very outset, was predictable and inevitable. As is well known, some of the wealthy came out of the Great Depression even wealthier, while destroying weaker competitors along the way."
Asked about the situation inside Russia, Sokolov emphasized the aftermath of last Summer's fires. He cited Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's recent damage assessment, in which Putin noted that if food prices continue to rise, Russia may have to import food. Russia stands to lose one-third of its livestock herds by the Spring of 2011. As in European countries afflicted by flooding this year, he added, "the damage is not measured in currency, but in whole percentage points of GDP, and it is a very alarming signal." He said that Russia's loss of food security was cataclysmic for the economy.
Anti-drug Chief Ivanov: Russia Faces Dope 'Apocalypse'
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)Addressing a conference in Khanty-Mansiysk, western Siberia, Russian Federal Narcotics Control Service chief Victor Ivanov today characterized the drug addiction and death situation in the country as "an apocalypse." Ivanov said he had reached this conclusion after reviewing the latest statistics on deaths from narcotics use. Whereas his agency previously had estimated the annual drug death rate in Russia at 30,000 people, Ivanov said that actually over 100,000 Russians under the age of 30 are now dying from drug use each year.
The biggest killer, Ivanov confirmed, is Afghan heroin, followed by dextromethorphan derivatives of over-the-counter medications. There are heroin addiction hot spots throughout the industrial heartland of Russia in western Siberia and the Ural Mountains region.
Ivanov called for convening a special session of the State Council, with the participation of Russian regions, on reducing narcotics demand. He said that Russia has at least 2.5 million drug addicts, the majority of them addicted to heroin, with another 3 million people regularly using other drugs, including 500,000 people who are on synthetic narcotics imported from Europe.
Yevgeni Royzman, head of the Drug-Free City campaign, also spoke at the event, summarizing the situation as a "narco-catastrophe." He said, "We rank first in the world for heroin consumption, first in the drug addiction rate, and, accordingly, first in drug-related mortality among youth. This is why the country is now experiencing a narco-catastrophe, and any measures that will help our country get out of this situation will be good." Royzman called for emergency institution of visa procedures for travel to Russia from Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as life terms in prison for drug dealers and mandatory treatment for drug addicts.
Newsweek: Ivanov 'Back Channel Of Security Cooperation With China'
Dec. 4 (EIRNS)Victor Ivanov, head of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service and a close collaborator of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, is "Putin's envoy to open a back channel of security cooperation with China," Newsweek reported in an article published yesterday, based on an interview with Ivanov. While both Russia and China want to expand relations with Central Asia, especially as, Newsweek asserted, the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, "neither side wants a great-game-style confrontation over spheres of influence, because Moscow and Beijing also plan to boost energy cooperation."
Ivanov, who has repeatedly demanded the destruction of Afghan opium production and the drug-trafficking cartels, is "Russia's secret weapon to expand security ties with China," Newsweek reported. In late November, Ivanov was in Beijing and Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang province, leading a delegation of security officials. "But the real reason I came to China is to activate the outmoded and rusty Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)," Ivanov told Newsweek. "A revamped SCO would be able to have a significant voice in the international arena, in the G8 and G20," he said.
The SCO could also influence Chinese security policy, the article reported, quoting Yuri Krupnov, director of the Institute of Regional Development and Demography, saying: "We hope to put Russia's ideas in China's mind." Krupnov's report on the development of the new Russian Vostochny Cosmodrome, was presented at the Schiller Institute conference in Kiedrich, Germany in 2007, and he led a project to produce a development program for Afghanistan to counter the drug economy, published in 2009. (See the recently published edition of Dope, Inc.)
In addition, Ivanov told Newsweek, "Russia and China, by using the drug issue, should put their efforts together to stabilize the situation in Pakistan."
China Calls for SCO Development Bank
Dec. 4 (EIRNS)Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao proposed establishing a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) development bank, to deepen financial cooperation among member nations, China's 21st Century Business Herald reported Dec. 2. At the SCO summit in Dushanbe Nov. 25, Wen called for research into setting up the bank. Bank capitalization would begin at about $10 billion, of which China pledged to contribute $8 billion. The SCO has already set up an Interbank Consortium for cooperation among its members, which are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The proposal was welcomed by the Central Asian republics, but the Russian side was less enthusiastic, the Herald reported. The Russian side, according to the Herald sources, is more interested in security cooperation, in which the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (of the nations which were members of the former Soviet Union) is playing a greater role than the SCO.
China's Global Times on Dec. 2 quoted Gennady Chuprin, an advisor at Russia's Academy of Science and China expert, that economic cooperation would gradually become the largest SCO activity. "This is Beijing's point of view, that economy must go first," he said, and the global financial crisis proved this view correct. "Beijing sees the initiative as a means of supporting the Central Asian countries, whose financial systems have been ruined," Chuprin said. Currently, Central Asian nations get financial support from the Eurasian Economic Community treaty institution, but China is not a member, despite its large-scale trade with Central Asia. "So the countries' leaders will be happy to receive support from Beijing to finance their national infrastructure in the current context where their own financial institutions have been gradually fading," Chuprin said.
Clinton Signals Warming Relations with Belarus
Dec. 1 (EIRNS)U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a joint press conference with Byelorussian Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, congratulated Belarus for giving up its supply of highly enriched uranium. "This is a very significant, important step that Belarus has taken," Clinton said, "and we look forward to welcoming a delegation to the Nuclear Security Summit in 2012 to commend and celebrate the end of this very important effort." The meeting occurred at the summit of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) being held in Astana, Kazakhstan. While Belarus is still under sanctions imposed by the Bush Administration, Clinton's appearance with the Byelorussian minister may indicate a warming of relations between the two countries.