|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Russian Scientist: Abandoning Nuclear Power Means Genocide
Sept. 7 (EIRNS)Academician E.P. Velikhov, head of the Kurchatov Nuclear Research Institute and, for decades, an influential figure in Russian science policy, told reporters on Sept. 5, while at a seminar titled, "Innovative Project of Kazakhstan's Materials Testing Tokamak," that "atomic energy is an absolutely necessary element in the energy set. We will simply be unable to maintain economic development and the general condition of the world without atomic energy."
As a concrete example, Velikhov cited the case of Armenia, which "tried to abandon atomic energy after the  Spitak earthquake." A year later, the two Russian-built Metsamor nuclear plants were shut down. Velikhov recounted that afterwards, "appeared ... the severest case of Armenian genocidehalf of Armenians left Armenia. There was no tap water, no sewage, and no electricity." To alleviate this crisis, one of the two reactors was restarted in 1995. "Now they are using atomic energy again," Velikhov said, and in a swipe at anti-nuclear hysteria in Germany and elsewhere, said, "I think we should distinguish between election promises and real life."
U.S.-Russia Business Council Chair Lauds Bering Strait Tunnel Idea as "A Bridge to Somewhere"
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)A Sept. 9 meeting of the Atlantic Council in Washington dealt with "reset" of U.S.-Russia relations. Shop-worn Kremlinologists, including Swedish expatriate and professional Russia-basher Anders Aslund, and Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, were chewing the fat on their usual issues such as incompetence, corruption, and nepotism in Russia, when EIR correspondent Bill Jones intervened with the Bering Strait/Far East development perspective. Citing Russia's most optimistic plans for expanding and modernizing the rail networks to the East, including a new space center in Vostochny, and rail up to Chukotka, and from there to build a tunnel to Alaska, Jones said: "If you really want to change Russia, you should start to work with the patriotic elements in the country who are themselves fighting the corruption and who are attempting to rebuild the industrial life of the nation."
Ed Verona, the head of the U.S.-Russia Business Council, the only panelist who had attempted to counter the Russia-bashing, responded: "I have worked closely with Mr. [Vladimir] Yakunin and the Russian Railway Ministry," Verona said, "and I find it one of the most well-organized and competent operations in the country. I think it's a great idea to build a tunnel over the Bering Strait! Maybe we should call the project 'The Bridge to Somewhere.'"
When briefed on the recent Yakutsk conference on northeast Russian infrastructure development (see EIR, Sept. 2) Verona noted that he would be attending the Baikal Economic Forum in Irkutsk, starting Sept. 12, where such matters could be on the agenda. Before taking over the chairmanship of the U.S.-Russia Business Council in 2008, Verona was the vice-president of Exxon-Mobil Russia, which has just made a deal with Rosneft to develop the Russian Arctic oil fields, threatening to replace BP as Russian oil's favored Western partner.