From Volume 36, Issue 47 of EIR Online, Published Dec. 4, 2009
Russia and the CIS News Digest

Putin: Russia Must Develop 'Science-Intensive Sectors'

Nov. 23 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's address to the ruling United Russia national congress Nov. 21 focused on how Russia must, and can, break from its current backward economy, and carry out the program for "all-round modernization" which President Dmitri Medvedev had presented to the same conference—and several times previously in recent months, to the Russian nation.

Russia will modernize by developing its "science-intensive sectors," both internally and in international cooperation, and by reviving neglected science and education. Russia will now create 14 research universities and "continue working to create powerful competitive research centres," Putin said.

There are still some forces in Russia, Lyndon LaRouche commented today, "which are associated with renegades of our association," who hate this policy which Putin is again laying out, and who hate LaRouche. These former members of the LaRouche association got into bed with certain Anglo-German forces and work for them, and this coincides with certain groups in Russia who are opposed to the policy stated by Putin, LaRouche explained.

In his remarks to the United Russia meeting, Putin noted that "perhaps the best indicator" of progress made to date in Russia "is demographics, ... a litmus test of the state of society." In contrast to the drastic spiking of the death rate and crash of the birth rate in the 1990s, for now, at least, the demographic dynamics mean that the population has stabilized, Putin said.

Yet the crisis is far from over, he said. Russia must now save and modernize its "systemically important enterprises," produce high-tech exports, and take action in key social areas, including housing construction and serious unemployment, especially in the hard-hit single-industry cities.

Russia must shift its emphasis: The economy based on commodity exports and cheap foreign credit "is practically exhausted." Russia must "identify and support a genuinely competitive nucleus in the real sector of the economy. We have such a nucleus," he said, but the country will have to go through the "painful processes" necessary to optimize its industrial and labor capacities.

Putin also emphasized the importance of various infrastructure projects, including in the critical Northeast sector covered by the recent Russia-China accords.

Russia will focus on its "science-intensive sectors," domestically and in international trade, he said. These include the civilian space programs, the nuclear industry, aviation, and the defense industry, traditionally "one of the drivers of technological progress in Russia.... Science and education are among our undoubted priorities." He laid out major new investments in science education, including the creation of new research centers, with one "recently formed on the basis of the Kurchatov Institute," the nuclear institute founded in 1943 as Russia's Manhattan Project, and since then its key source of nuclear technology.

Putin Visits France; Energy Deals on the Table

Nov. 26 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Putin's two-day visit to France, centered on energy cooperation, began with a dinner in Rambouillet with French Prime Minister François Fillon and many French businessmen. The visit, which takes place in the context of the 14th Franco-Russian inter-governmental economic seminar, was expected to work out new energy deals with France's energy giants such as Electricité de France (EDF) and Gaz de France-Suez (GDF), but also deals for the car industry and the shipbuilding.

The French companies project becoming partners in two major gas pipelines, North Stream (German-Russian project headed by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder), which goes under the Baltic Sea, and South Stream (Italian and Russian project) which goes from Russia under the Black Sea into Greece and Austria. Both projects avoid crossing Ukraine and Belarus.

In December 2008, Gazprom's CEO Alexei Miller asked GDF-Suez to participate in North Stream, and the company anticipates taking a 9% share into the project. The outgoing CEO of EDF, Pierrer Gadonneix, has been heavily involved in increasing Russian gas imports into the EU. His successor, Henri Proglio, will follow the same policy and EDF could take a 10% share in South Stream. The French oil company Total could also sign a memorandum of collaboration to work with Russia in one of its most strategic projects: the development of its gas reserves in the Iamal peninsula in the North. Putin has succeeded in convincing the European countries to support, or at least not oppose, his projects, writes Le Monde. Gérard Mestrallet, the CEO of GDF-Suez, declared that Russia is an indispensable partner for the Europe's future.

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