|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Ex-Ambassador Falin Nails British Postwar Manipulation
In a speech in Dresden on Feb. 18, Valentin Falin, Soviet Ambassador to West Germany from 1971 to 1978, said that black propaganda campaigns against Russia had previously been carried out during the Crusades, 800 and more years ago. In recent centuries, however, the British have taken a lead in Russia-bashing, he said. Citing formerly secret documents, Falin said that Britain tried to transform both world wars in the 20th Century into crusades against Russia. And the Cold War after 1945 was worse, with more casualties and wasted resources, than the world wars before, Falin said. His speech was given in the context of the annual Dresdener Gespraeche, a panel sponsored by Saxony's Saechsische Zeitung news daily.
Putin's Speech: 'Cold Shower, Not Cold War'
Russian President Putin's Feb. 10 speech in Munich (see EIR online Feb. 20) contained truths that Western officials are prepared to discuss only behind closed doors, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Putin's envoy to Europe, said in an interview with the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Feb. 22. "This is why [Putin's speech] had the effect of a 'cold shower,' not a Cold War," Yastrzhembsky said. He said that Russia had lost patience trying to draw the Western officials' attention to the discrepancy between their declarations and practical actions.
There will be no Cold War, he said. "We are no longer in ideological conflict with the West. Russia is a totally different country." Yastrzhembsky said that the speech addressed global issues. "With that in mind, I want to reiterate that Russia is back as a major world player." Russia, which had been in the background of world politics in recent years, does not agree with efforts to impose a unipolar world order, he said. "The United States feels free to speak openly about its concerns over Russia's domestic affairs and its relations with ex-Soviet neighbors. We understand this," he said. "Therefore, the U.S. should recognize Russia's right to speak directly about our concerns over the U.S. policy in various regions of the world."
Russian Missile Corps Ready To Quit INF Restrictions
Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) are ready to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with the United States, if such a political decision were to be made, SMF commander Nikolai Solovtsov said Feb. 19. General Solovtsov said, "If the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic make a decision," to allow U.S. deployment of missile defense systems on their soil, "the Strategic Missile Forces will be able to target these systems." He added, "It is not difficult for us to restart production of medium- and short-range missiles because we have preserved all of the technologies. It could be done quickly, if the need arises."
Lavrov Firm on Russia's Global Role
Addressing students at the Moscow Linguistic University Feb. 20, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov resituated some recent remarks from the Russian military establishment, in response to U.S. efforts to spread NATO, and its ballistic missile defense projects throughout Eastern Europe. "The current developments in the world do not point at a new variant of the Cold War," Lavrov said. Despite Russia's concern about U.S. missile deployments in Central Europe, and NATO's expansion to Russia's borders, Russia will not be drawn into a new arms race. "In essence," Lavrov said, "we are facing a choice between the arms race, and finding solutions for the problems that we have inherited from the past," and referenced the serious economic and social dislocations that resulted from the arms build-up during the Cold War.
But, Lavrov said, "A stubborn desire by certain countries to pursue a virtually unipolar world order and their attempts to impose an exaggerated emphasis on the use of force, damages the foundation of international relations." A "strong and confident Russia has become a positive factor in the global arena," has "taken many people in the West by surprise," and it will be possible to rebuild relations with Russia when its Western partners accept this reality, Lavrov stated.
Russia, South Africa To Expand Nuclear Power Cooperation
Following the two-day meeting of the South Africa-Russia joint Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation in Pretoria, South Africa, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Feb. 22 that the two nations had agreed to work together to expand the use of nuclear energy. She announced that the South African mining company Harmony and Russia's Renova had signed an agreement to jointly mine uranium, and there will be discussions on all stages of nuclear development. She said that Russia is welcome to participate in the tender for South Africa's second commercial nuclear power plant. Russian Minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev responded that Russia is willing to invest as much as needed to win the tender (France's Areva has already said it would bid on it).
Russian nuclear agency head Sergei Kiriyenko said the contract to supply South Africa with enriched uranium to fuel its power plant should be extended to 2020, and that Russia could supply that nation with floating nuclear plants, to be used, in particular, for desalination.
Russian Rail Technologies Offered to India
The state-owned company Russian Railways wants to offer India advanced technologies for operating the huge Indian railway system, Railways official Anatoli Krylov has said, Press Trust of India reported Feb. 19. The Congress of Indian Industry (CII) announced the offer. Russian Railways is ready to collaborate with India on state-of-the-art technologies for automation, safety systems, collision repair and using GPS to monitor the rail network. India's railways are on a similar scale as Russia. Krylov said that Russian Railways is in talks with the Indian Ministry of Railways. The CII quoted Russian Institute of Space Device Engineering Deputy Director General Pyotr Kuleshov saying, "In Russia, we are trying to put space and aircraft technologies into the existing railways systems." Kuleshov proposed that the Indian rail officials "choose and pick from the Russian platter."
Putin, Ivanov Take Innovation Campaign To Volgograd
Russia needs a modern and innovative model for industrial production, President Vladimir Putin said during his visit to Volgograd Feb. 19 at a meeting of Russia's State Council. Discussions around the meeting gave a first look at what Russia's revamped government leadership will emphasize in economic policy. "The experience of successful industrial countries shows that a fundamental new model for organizing industrial production is cruciala model designed to advance innovation and promote competition among developers, suppliers and dealers," Putin said. He said that Russia has everything it needs to adopt such a model. Russia needs "primarily, growing domestic demand for industrial products," Putin said, adding that a new legislative and institutional basis for industrial growth is being put in place.
Putin said he is concerned about the decline in the share of high-value-added goods in Russia's exports. He said that diversifying the economy by boosting the manufacturing sector is one of the priorities of Russian economic policy, immediately related to the development of high-technology industries. "The contribution of manufacturing to economic growth is still insignificant, and unfortunately, the share of high value-added products in Russian exports is on the decline, standing at 10%," Putin said.
Putin was accompanied by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, whom he recently elevated from the Defense Ministry, to take charge of a broad swath of Russia's civilian sector industry, as well its defense industries. On Feb. 20, Ivanov and the new Defense Minister Anatoli Serdyukov toured the Moscow Research Institute for Precision Instruments. The two examined this strategic enterprise's products, and their military and civilian applications, including command and control systems for space exploration. Federal Space Agency director Anatoli Perminov, the government military-industrial commission's chief Vladislav Putilin, Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, and military intelligence director Valentin Korabelnikov accompanied Ivanov and Serdyukov.