|Russia and the CIS News Digest
China Announces Putin Visit for Oct. 11-12
Oct. 1 (EIRNS)The Chinese Foreign Ministry yesterday announced the dates of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's forthcoming visit to China. It will take place October 11-12. Putin will meet with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Chinese President Hu Jintao, and other top Chinese government officials, and will discuss bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual concern.
Yakunin Chairs Odessa Conference on Trans-Siberian Transport
Oct. 2 (EIRNS)Over 200 delegates from 23 countries participated in the 20th plenary session of the Coordinating Council of Transsiberian Transportation (CCTT) in Odessa on Sept. 28. The event was keynoted by Vladimir Yakunin, president of Russian Railways, who delivered a status report and map of future plans for expansion of the Trans-Siberian rail system. The core concept, as spelled out by Yakunin, is "Trans-Siberian Railway in 7 Days," meaning that freight can be transported, by rail, from the Asian Far East to Western Europe in one week or less, at costs significantly below maritime shipping via the Suez Canal.
Among the priorities cited by Yakunin, according to news accounts, was the linking of the Trans-Korean rail system with the Trans-Siberian, the development of transport hubs, and the working out of tariff agreements, to minimize impediments to freight flows across the span of Eurasia. Yakunin was quoted on the importance of the Korean links: "By establishing a direct rail link with South Korea after upgrading and modernizing the Trans-Korean Main Line and its connection with the Trans-Siberian Railway, Russia will be able to create an optimal transit corridor between South Korea and Europe and compete successfully with the sea route for shipping cargo via the Suez Canal. As part of this project, Russian Railways is developing a new cargo route: from the port of Rajin in North KoreaTumanga in North KoreaKhasan in Russia and on to Russia's railway network and Europe."
Yakunin also cited ongoing work on a railway line from the Slovak town of Kosice to Bratislava and Vienna.
European Commission Raids Gazprom Partners
Sept. 30 (EIRNS)Within hours of Vladimir Putin asserting his leadership of Russia with his 2012 Presidential bid, the London-run European Commission engaged in a provocative geopolitical countermove, launching surprise raids Sept. 27 on gas trading companies in Eastern Europe associated with the Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom. Under pretext of infringement of liberal market laws, EC inspectors, with full search rights under EU law, raided the offices of six trading companies, seizing documents, seeking intelligence related to upstream supply levels, i.e., Gazprom.
The Competition Directorate-General, headed by Alexander Italianer, and under political control of European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia, which ordered the raids, is the same unit that imposed the disastrous financial market liberalization on Germany's large publicly owned state bank and savings and loan (Sparkassen) sector. Then, yesterday, Energy Commissioner Gunther Öttinger (a German) announced legal proceedings against 18 EU countries for not implementing the EC Third Energy Package. That package too includes major provocations against Russia and Gazprom, as it mandates separating the ownership of pipelines from gas suppliers.
By 2012, Gazprom intends to supply 30% of the gas consumed in Europe and has existing and new pipeline projects related to that effort. The EC's combined moves are aimed at ending long-term gas supply contracts, imposing a speculative gas spot market price system, like the Anglo-Dutch oil spot market systems. The London-authored provocation intends to disrupt any bilateral cooperation between Europe, and especially Germany, with Russia, by imposing EC dictates to encircle Russia with speculative free markets. Targeted are intentions such as those of German senior Russian expert Alexander Rahr, who praised Putin's Presidential decision as a new opportunity for Germany and Europe.
Reuters stated on Sept. 28 that Vladimir Feigin of the Moscow Energy and Finance Institute, and a member of the Russian delegation which negotiates on energy with the EU, charged that the European Commission was taking a "dangerous path" with the raids.