From Volume 37, Issue 1 of EIR Online, Published Jan. 8, 2010
Russia and the CIS News Digest

Putin Targets Speculative Capital

Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday warned, "We need to correct the rules, so it is less interesting for speculative capital to come running into Russia." He was referring to the fact that Russia has been subjected to massive inflows of speculative funds in 2009, after $290 billion had been sucked out of the country between August 2008 and February 2009. Now Goldman Sachs and other predators are saying that "Russia is the most attractive emerging market for 2010," according to a Bloomberg wire—which is about as flattering as Dracula telling you that he likes the look of the veins in your neck. Bloomberg makes it clear that the British financial gameplan is to set Russia up for a crash, as occurred with the 1998 default on $40 billion in GKO bonds.

The intended whipsawing of Russia with wild flows of speculative capital is occurring in other developing nations as well. According to a study just released by EPFR Global, 2009 saw an inflow of $80 billion in speculative funds to developing economies, after a net outflow of $48 billion in 2008—a swing of nearly $130 billion in a single year. Of the $80 billion inflow in 2009, $60 billion has gone into the so-called BRIC nations—Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Putin in Russian Far East for Oil and Auto Project Events

Dec. 28 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is on a two-day visit to the Vladivostok region, to discuss key economic development sectors. He first went to Nakhodka, northeast of Vladivostok, to launch the East-Siberia-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline system, at the oil-loading Pacific seaport Kozmino. Putin then led a meeting on regional development, with a focus on Russian shipbuilding projects in two Primorye port cities, based on cooperation with South Korean and Singaporean companies.

The ESPO system is being built to ship oil from western and eastern Siberian fields, to the Far East and Asia Pacific. The first stage of the project, the 2,500-km Tayshet-to-Skovorodino pipeline (inside Siberia), and Kozmino port, have been completed on schedule, despite the economic crisis. The new oil terminal will export oil to Japan, China, and Korea. Currently, oil is being shipped from Skovorodino to the port by rail, until the final sections of the pipeline are completed in the coming years.

Putin, watching the first tanker leave the port, said that "this is definitely a major event. It's a strategic project, because it gives us access to completely new markets—the Asian and Pacific markets, which are growing and have a huge potential. Today, Russia is present in these markets, but on a very small scale. Today's opening gives us completely new possibilities."

On Dec. 29, Putin took part in the launch ceremony of the Sollers auto assembly plant in Vladivostok. The plant, a joint project of Russia, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, will produce cars, RVs, and SUVs as well as a variety of heavy-duty vehicles, including dump trucks, tractor trucks and concrete mixer trucks for the Russian Far East and the Pacific Rim region market.

Russia, Japan Discuss Solving Territorial Dispute, To Cooperate on Development

Dec. 29 (EIRNS)—Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow Dec. 28 to discuss the territorial question of four islands in the southern Kuriles. The islands, in Russian possession since the end of World War II, have been a sore point in relations for decades. Okada welcomed remarks by President Dmitri Medvedev that Russia hopes to make progress on the dispute while Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is in office. There is an offer outstanding from Russia to return two of the islands to Japanese control. Okada noted the importance Russia places on developing the Far East and Eastern Siberia, and then called for an early settlement to the territorial issue, saying this would lead to bilateral cooperation in energy and other sectors.

Russia, Ukraine Deepen Nuclear Power Cooperation

Dec. 30 (EIRNS)—Russia and Ukraine will soon sign a contract on long-term cooperation in nuclear technology, particularly in the area of nuclear fuels, enrichment, and processing, according to an announcement made by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry yesterday. Ukraine's state-owned nuclear power agency, Energoatom—which operates all nuclear power facilities in the country—and Russia's TVEL already signed a deal on Russian deliveries of nuclear fuels for 2010.

China, Russia Frontier Guards Celebrate New Year Together

Jan. 3 (EIRNS)—Military representatives from the Heilongjiang Provincial Military Command, stationed in the city of Heihe on the border with Russia, and representatives from the Russian frontier forces stationed in the city of Blagovoshensk, celebrated New Year's together, expressing a new degree of friendship between the two nations' militaries. The Chinese and Russian frontier representatives visited each other's duty performance plank houses, alarm facilities, and motor sledges; exchanged experience and practice in frontier control and administration; and called on the officers and men on duty at the front line of the other side and extended greetings to them, in spite of the temperature being around 36°F below zero. The two sides also held ping pong and billiards matches (the report did not say who won).

Remember Russia's Role in Space, Putin Says

Dec. 29 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed concern that the historic role of Russia in the development of space travel has been neglected and even falsified. Putin made the comments Dec. 22, in a speech to the opening session of the organizing committee for the celebration of the 50th anniversary, in 2011, of the first manned space flight by Yuri Gagarin. "Even in Russian shops one can buy books and educational computer programs which have no word about the first satellite or Gagarin's launch," Putin said. "Instead one can find everything, find out particulars and details, about Mr. [Wernher] von Braun, who created the V-2 [rocket], and about the flight to the Moon."

Putin said that the celebration of the Gagarin flight should be "an opportunity once again to demonstratively remind the world public of Russia's key role in space exploration, about the significance of domestic research programs for the whole of humankind.... For this I consider it necessary to mobilize Russian information resources as much as possible—printed publications, the Internet and television. And of course, one should carefully analyze the quality of the textbooks used in our schools."

Since Gagarin's 1961 flight, Russia has celebrated April 12 as a national holiday.

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