Tag Archives: russia

Chinese and Russian Reactions to Russia’s sinking of the Chinese ship ‘New Star’

Entries in bold are from the Russian Information Agency Novosti. Entires in italics are from Xinhua News Angecy.

January 15
13:25: Foreign ship sinks of Russia’s pacific coast, 8 sailors dead
21:36: Eight sailors drown in Sea of Japan

January 18
11:31: Captain of sunken ship crosed Russian border fearing trial
23:58: Chinese FM confirms cargo ship in a “sea accident” near Vladivostok

January 19
12:49: China demands Russia investigate sinking of Chinese ship
16:34: China demands Russia investigate sinking of Chinese ship – 2
17:44: China says Russia’s investigation into sea acident still going on
20:53: Chinese sailors rescued off Russian coast in good health, 7 still missing
21:56: Moscow blames captain of China’s New Star for tragic sinking

January 20
00:18: China lodges urgent representation again to Russia on cargo ship sinking
13:12: Russian rescuers halt search for sailors on sunken Chinese ship
17:44: Chinese consul general urges Russia to probe sea accident
21:37:China says Russia’s attitude on cargo ship incident “unacceptable”

January 21
20:36: Russian border guards fired on Chinese ship legally – ministry

All of this overlaps with Secretary of State Clinton’s visit to Asia, and the major flurry of news overlaps specifically with Clinton’s’ visit to Beijing.

Russian Federation Fires on, Sinks Chinese Ship

Without comment:

BEIJING, Feb. 21 (UPI) — Russia’s attitude and response to the sinking of a Chinese cargo ship in Russian waters is unacceptable, Beijing’s foreign ministry says.

Zhang Xiyun, director general of the foreign ministry’s Department of European-Central Asian Affairs, Friday lodged formal protests with Russian Minister Counselor to China Morgulov Igor regarding the Feb. 14 incident involving the ship New Star, Xinhua, the state-run Chinese news agency reported.

A Russian warship fired 500 rounds at the New Star, sinking it during stormy weather in Russian waters near the eastern port city

of Vladivostok, The New York Times reported.

via China protests Russia’s ship actions – UPI.com.

See also: China Demands Russia Explain Ship Sinking.

Putin! jumps the shark

Tom Clancy’s Putin! began its run on December 31, 1999, as a spin-off of the political-military thriller, The Hunt for Red October. V.V. Putin (named I.Y. Putin in the original series) debuted in the first pages of the novel

For the hundredth time Ramius told himself that Putin was the perfect political officer. His voice was always too loud, his humor too affected. He never allowed a person to forget what he was. The perfect political officer, Putin was an easy man to fear.

… and while he appeared to have be killed by Captain Ramius in the opening minutes, the pilot episode of Tom Clancy’s Putin! revealed that he had been secretly smuggled out of the ship, and transferred to political duties inside the Kremlin. Though some critics raised questions as to the likelihood of his rise to the presidency, paralleling another Tom Clancy character, the first seasons of Tom Clancy’s Putin! were promising. Mysterious helicopter crashes, Muslim rebels, and even Wall Street Shenanigans combined to entertain viewers turned off by The War On Terror (starring Kiefer Sutherland).

On-set problems led to a defection of much of the writing staff, however, and as years rolled on qualities suffered. The Rigged Re-election subplot of 2004 was derided as particularly improbable, as writers had previously established Putin’s popularity with the Russian people. Attempts to attract younger viewers with a radiation poisinong subplot also faired ill, as many criticized the “cartoonish” and “needlessly theatrical” methods off killing of periphrial characters.

The unorthodox decision to kick off the last full season of Tom Clancy’s Putin! on January 1 (instead of the early fall or early spring convention used by other networks) likewise did poorly. Advertising executives universally criticized the unorthodox decision to debut the Marching through Georgia subplot of Tom Clancy’s Putin! opposite The Beijing Olympic Games, resulting in depressed viewershp, and audiences were left frustrated that heavy foreshadowing implying that Putin would hang series-regular Saakashvili “by the balls” came to naught. Finally, the writers’ decision to have Putin lose billions in sub-prime assets, while an effort to keep the show topical, struck audiences as simply requiring too much suspension of disbelief.

Heavy promotions for “The All New Season of Tom Clancy’s Putin!!” do not appear to be paying off for the show’s producers. The revelation that Putin’s enemies were being organized by a secretative cabal of Communist-Nazi anti-immigration activists caused Robert Ebert to exclaim, “Tom Clancy’s Putin! has lost touch with all history, logic, or sense.” Likewise, Putin’s reaction to a a loss of his credit cards with a plan to make his own credit card company introduced a slap-stick, absurdist humor that alienated the long-running series’ few original fans.

(The last one of these is true, by the way)

MOSCOW: So you don’t like how the world’s largest credit rating agencies rate your economy? Create your own.

That’s what Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed at a cabinet meeting Monday.

“All of us understand the enormous influence enjoyed by rating agencies and the drastic effects their mistakes, let alone abuses, may have,” Putin said, according to a government transcript.

With Russia’s economy sinking, the ruble battered, its markets hammered by investors and its sovereign credit rating downgraded, Putin has complained his country isn’t getting a fair shake.

He told ministers that Russian companies and the government was too dependent on international agencies like Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s.

Read the full article, as Associated Press

Putin requests a bailout

Wonderful news, on the road to driving Russia to default:

Vladimir Putin Wants Your Money – Forbes.com
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin came to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, it seems, to convince Western creditors to write off a portion of the debts Russian companies owe them. As of October 2008, the cumulative debt totaled $540 billion. The State of Russia owes $42.7 billion, while the private sector carries the rest of the burden. In the fourth quarter of 2008, the State of Russia paid foreign creditors a total of $80 billion, including $61 billion owed by the private sector.

We know that the Kremlin recently drew up a list of strategic enterprises belonging to Russian companies that owe money to Western banks. Stakes in these enterprises either cannot be sold to Western investors or are tightly controlled by Moscow for the lucky few allowed in. The Kremlin based its rescue plan for the Russian economy on this list, which consists primarily of monsters like Gazprom, Rusal, Rosneft and others.

But even if official Russian statistics on the state of the country’s gold and hard currency reserves are accurate–and they came to $386.9 billion as of Feb. 1–if prices for commodities and energy exports remain unchanged and capital flight stays at current levels, by December 2009 this figure could shrink to $150 billion. And don’t forget that over the last six months, Russia’s reserves fell by $210 billion.

After the default of Ecuador and now Venezuela’s late payments, this is very good news.

Let’s just hope that Obama does not add Putin to the stimulus!

When European governments say “climate change,” they mean “Russia”

Sweden is lifting her ban against nuclear power to help fight “climate change”

“I’m doing this for the sake of my children and grandchildren,” said Center party leader, Maud Olofsson. “I can live with the fact that nuclear power will be part of our electricity supply system in the foreseeable future.”

This follows a series of public opinion polls indicating a change in sentiment as the country becomes increasingly dependent on energy imports from Norway and climate change has become a matter of increasing concern.

Sweden’s 10 nuclear reactors at three plants – Oskarshamn, Ringhals and Forsmark – supply roughly half of the country’s electricity, while two other reactors at the Barseback site have been closed over the past decade. The country has been at the forefront of efforts to find ways of burying the highly toxic waste produced during the nuclear cycle.

The current generation of nuclear generating plants around the world came into operation between 1972 and 1985 but the industry fell into disrepute with the public following the Three Mile Island accident and the image of nuclear was further tarnished when there was a meltdown at the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine seven years later.

But since then there have been no scares and climate change has risen up the global agenda. Nuclear power emits virtually no carbon although critics claim significant amounts of CO2 are released if one takes into account the mining of uranium and other aspects of any full-lifecycle programme.

In Europe, at least, “global warming” is a useful lie.

Russia’s Nord Stream may be quashed out of “environmental” concerns, as well.

Putin’s priorities are clear

But then, he’s too busy turning the Nazis into the only legitimate opposition in Russia to fight the Taliban:

The Weekly Standard
While Obama deals with the assorted tax problems of his nominees, the world continues to turn. The AP reports that “Kyrgyzstan will no longer allow US to use airbase that supports military operations in Afghanistan.” This as the Kyrgyz president arrives in Moscow for a state visit the agenda for which is to include Russia forgiving Kyrgyzstan’s debt and providing nearly $2 billion in loans and new investments.

This presents an opportunity. Historically, politics in Afghanistan was split between Iran, India, and Russia supporting the multiethnic north, and Pakistan supporting the Pashtun south. If Russia is actively preventing support of the Afghan government (which is a very “northern” institution), we may seeing de facto between Russia and Pakistan in supporting the Pashtun south.

Which means an Indian-Iranian-American alliance in support of Afghanistan’s national government is possible.

iran_and_the_central_seam

I hope Barack Obama is paying attention!

Putin and the Nazis

When you’ve maneuvered yourself into a position where the Nazis are leading the opposition, you know you’ve done a great job wrecking your countries political system. Congratulations, Prime Minister Putin.

national-bolshevik-party

The protests:

Vladimir Putin faces more protests over economy – Telegraph

Capitalising on growing popular discontent, the organisers are planning to keep the pressure on the Kremlin, presenting the strongest challenge yet to the once untouchable Putin government.

The moves come after a weekend of protests in Moscow and Vladivostok that saw thousands of Russians take to the streets to call for the dismissal of the Russian prime minister and President Dmitry Medvedev.

The groups believe that the country’s worsening economic situation, as well as the easing of freezing winter temperatures, will bring people to the streets in ever greater numbers in the weeks to come.

The Kremlin has taken note of the protests, organising a competing demonstration of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party on Saturday.

Coverage on state-run television gave overwhelming attention to those protests, making no note of a violent opposition rally held the same day.

Protestors from Other Russia, an umbrella group that joins Mr Kasparov’s United Civil Front with the banned National Bolshevik party, were left bloody and beaten after holding an unsanctioned rally in the capital on Saturday afternoon.

The protest themselves are intended to show that the Nazis

  • Are a coherent, organized movement
  • Play a leading role in the “Other Russia” anti-Putin movement
  • Are able to organize in spite of constant police harrasment
  • Are able to sustain the injury that comes to them as a result of the protests
  • Are in favor of closer economic integration with China

More specifically, the National Bolsehviks / Nazis are part of the Third Position constellation of movements inspired by Otto “Let’s put the Socialism back into National-Socialism‘ Strasser. Just as the broken systems of Egypt and Saudi Arabia generated Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al Qaeda, because no legitimate opposition was possible, the broken system of Russia generated the National Bolshevik Party.

Of course, the difference in the analogy is that the NBP hasn’t engaged in terrorism (yet) and, in opposing the cronyism of the Putin regime, is actually pushing for more international trade.

Russian soldier defects

An active-duty draftee in the Russian army fled to Georgia.

Tensions Flare as Russian Soldier Seeks Asylum in Georgia – NYTimes.com
TBILISI, Georgia — A 21-year-old Russian soldier, sitting down with a Big Mac at a McDonald’s here in the Georgian capital, said Tuesday that he had changed into civilian clothes and walked across the South Ossetian border into Georgia because he was fed up with his military service there.

The soldier, Junior Sgt. Aleksandr Glukhov, a computer buff from Udmurtia, a central Russian republic, seemed unaware of the clamor he had prompted at home. As information about his action filtered out from Tbilisi, Russia’s Defense Ministry contended that he had been abducted by Georgian forces and was being forced to discredit the army as “information provocation.”

At least this one was sober.

Russia not prObama

From Russia prObama (Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog):

ARTICLE: Russia Ready to Cooperate With US on Afghanistan, AP, January 23, 2009

More nice signaling.

Remember my bit about everything suddenly becoming 50 percent off the top when Bush-Cheney leaves office?

Four days later:

At any rate, within a day of Petraeus’ remark, Moscow corrected him. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Maslov told Itar-Tass, “No official documents were submitted to Russia’s permanent mission in NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] certifying that Russia had authorized the United States and NATO to transport military supplies across the country.”

A day later, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, added from Brussels, “We know nothing of Russia’s alleged agreement of military transit of Americans or NATO at large. There had been suggestions of the sort, but they were not formalized.” And, with a touch of irony, Rogozin insisted Russia wanted the military alliance to succeed in Afghanistan.

“I can responsibly say that in the event of NATO’s defeat in Afghanistan, fundamentalists who are inspired by this victory will set their eyes on the north. First they will hit Tajikistan, then they will try to break into Uzbekistan … If things turn out badly, in about 10 years, our boys will have to fight well-armed and well-organized Islamists somewhere in Kazakhstan,” the popular Moscow-politician turned diplomat added.

Russian experts have let it be known that Moscow views with disquiet the US’s recent overtures to Central Asian countries regarding bilateral transit treaties with them which exclude Russia. Agreements have been reached with Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Moscow feels the US is pressing ahead with a new Caspian transit route which involves the dispatch of shipments via Georgia to Azerbaijan and thereon to the Kazakh harbor of Aktau and across the Uzbek territory to Amu Darya and northern Afghanistan.

Instead of hoping for change from Putin, better to recognize him as the man who broke Russia’s soft power and ended Russia’s economic reforms.

While Putin has proved himself to be an able domestic politician, and capable of effective flattery, Putin is not prObama, prohOpe, or proChange. He’s pro-Putin.

Core-Core and Core-Gap relations in Asia

Courtesty of Tom, this brilliant piece by Henry Kissenger urging a close working relationshipw with China, a country (like the United States) which is in the functioning Core of the world economy.

From 'Threats in the Age of Obama'
From 'Threats in the Age of Obama'

From the article:

The Sino-American relationship needs to be taken to a new level. The current crisis can be overcome only by developing a sense of common purpose. Such issues as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, energy and the environment demand strengthened political ties between China and the United States.

This generation of leaders has the opportunity to shape trans-Pacific relations into a design for a common destiny, much as was done with trans-Atlantic relations in the immediate postwar period – except that the challenges now are more political and economic than military.

Such a vision must embrace as well such countries as Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, whether as part of trans-Pacific structures or, in regional arrangements, dealing with special subjects as energy, proliferation and the environment.

The complexity of the emerging world requires from America a more historical approach than the insistence that every problem has a final solution expressible in programs with specific time limits not infrequently geared to our political process.

Interesting, while “core” countries like India, Japan, and Australia are mentioned in Kissenger’s piece, “Gap” countries North Korea, Russia, and Pakistan are excluded. (Indeed, this exclusion seems purposeful, as Kissenger simply said ‘Korea’ — rhetorically ignoring the Pyongyang regime out of existence.)

Related: Russia’s gap-style competition with other countries in Central Asia. Taiwan’s core-style cooperation with China against piracy.