From Volume 37, Issue 14 of EIR Online, Published Apr. 9, 2010
Russia and the CIS News Digest

Gorbachov's Newspaper Attacks Yakunin and Ishayev for Rail Plans

April 3 (EIRNS)—Novaya Gazeta, the liberal Russian newspaper co-owned by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachov, has published a nasty attack on Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin and the Russian Presidential Representative in the Far East Federal District, Victor Ishayev, for promoting the revitalization and expansion of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM), the second Trans-Siberian railroad. Addressing a March 24 conference in Moscow, Yakunin and Ishayev presented a plan to invest 400 billion rubles in upgrading the BAM, which was built starting in 1974, but fell into disrepair in the 1990s, and as much again for building a new spur into other resource-rich areas of Siberia. In part, the program coincides with the already-approved Russian Railways development schedule up to the year 2030, which includes a line from the BAM, through Yakutsk, to the Bering Strait. At the latest conference, Yakunin and Ishayev urged taking a longer perspective—to at least 2050. According to Expert Online, Yakunin presented estimates that the BAM could be carrying 100 million tons of freight by that year.

The friends of Gorbachov, who is a board member of the genocidalist, zero-growth Club of Rome and heads his own Green Cross environmentalist foundation, hate this idea. Novaya Gazeta's March 26 article ranted against "megaprojects from the Stone Age, which have nothing to do with what the people of Russia need." Citing Yakunin's projections, the Gorbachov mouthpiece sneered, "It would be interesting to know just how, and on what basis, somebody makes forecasts for 40 years in advance!"

Consistent with the malthusian axioms of Gorbachov's sponsors in London, Novaya Gazeta denounces the Russian government for "being guided by the axiomatic words of Lomonosov, that Russia's might will grow through Siberia and the frozen seas"—that is, by developing the northern frontiers. Mikhail Lomonosov was the 18th-Century scientist and poet, who founded Moscow State University and corresponded with the scientific circles of Benjamin Franklin. According to Gorbachov's journalist, Lomonosov's idea is "an ancient and, today, stupid-sounding phrase."

Having thrown Lomonosov out the window, Novaya Gazeta implicitly spat on the Siberian-development heritage of Dmitri Mendeleyev and Count Sergei Witte, from the 19th Century. Mendeleyev and Witte are famous for their conception of railroads as a civilizing influence that advances the entire national economy and the population's welfare, as is consistent with the pioneering American System experience in building transcontinental railroads. By Novaya Gazeta's sophistry, in contrast, a railroad can only be for looting, and is opposed to the "modernization" proclaimed by President Medvedev: "While Dmitri Medvedev announces modernization and innovations, his representative [Ishayev] is pursuing a different goal: to help Russia occupy the niche of raw materials appendage in the world division of labor."

As EIR Online exposed in our March 26 issue, a grouping around Anatoli Chubais, which as radical free-marketeers savaged the Russian economy in 1991-98, is trying to seize control of the modernization policy and push it in the direction of the same non-productive, "information economy" doctrines that are wrecking economies in the West.

British Outlets Blame Putin for Moscow Bombings

March 30 (EIRNS)—British media outlets and related "human rights" institutions took aim at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in the wake of the horrific March 29 Moscow subway bombings. Whereas Lyndon LaRouche warned that the attacks were "an attempt to discredit the Russian government, and show its vulnerability," adding that he is "looking at complicity, behind the scenes, by British intelligence," the line across the board, from Amnesty International to the London Financial Times, was that Putin's government had caused the attacks by being "authoritarian" in Chechnya and in general.

The lead editorial in the Financial Times lectured that Putin will fail in any attempt to stop Chechnya-linked terrorism by "repression alone." "The trouble is that changing to an inclusive, democratic and law-based approach in the Caucasus would involve changing Russia into an inclusive, democratic and law-based country," wrote the paper, and thus Putin has no choice but "unraveling large chunks of the authoritarian state he has created."

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Visits Russia

March 29 (EIRNS)—China's Vice President Xi Jinping, seen as the frontrunner to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013, visited Russia March 20-25 as the first stop on a trip to four European nations. Meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Xi said that "Russia and China must become strategic props for each other in the future on all questions which have a strategic interest for Russia."

Russia expressed support for China's stern defense of the value of its own currency. During his meeting with Chinese Vice-Minister Gao Hucheng, who accompanied Vice President Xi, Bank of Russia Deputy Chairman Victor Melnikov said Russia firmly supports China's foreign-exchange-rate policy. At a meeting with Gao in Moscow, Melnikov said that recent pressure exerted by some countries on China to appreciate its currency, the yuan, was irresponsible. Melnikov is also head of the Russian delegation of the Banking Cooperation Sub-Committee of the Sino-Russian Prime Ministerial-Level Regular Meeting Mechanism.

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