|Russia and the CIS News Digest
LaRouche Statements on Fed Hyperinflation Discussed in Russia
Aug. 16 (EIRNS)Russian websites and Internet forums lit up with discussion of Lyndon LaRouche's statements on the Aug. 10 Federal Reserve move to buy more and more toxic assets, using nothing but the printing press. The dispatch, titled "LaRouche Was Right: Fed de facto Admits the Financial System Is in Terminal Breakdown, But Pushes Weimar Hyperinflation," went out in Russian the night of Aug. 14-15, and was promptly published by Natalia Vitrenko's Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine; Russian economist Mikhail Khazin's worldcrisis.ru and his personal blog; and dozens of other locations in Russia and Ukraine. Popular economics blogger Alexsword quoted a different LaRouchePAC report, translated directly from the LPAC site: "In discussions Thursday [Aug. 12], Lyndon LaRouche emphasized that we have now reached the turning point, which he had forecast for the period of late July to late September and that the U.S. under the current President is plunging into Hell."
Besides the cross-postings, hundreds of Russians joined in discussion of LaRouche's updated assessment, with over 100 entries in Khazin's blog alone. To one participant, who complained that Khazin should not be paying attention to LaRouche, because the latter was "an extreme alarmist," Khazin replied, "That doesn't matter. What he says today carries enormous weight." Others cited LaRouche's statements from November 2008, when he warned, already then, that the Paulson plan for bailout of the derivatives speculators would open the gates to hyperinflation.
Coinciding with this heavy attention to LaRouche's current statements, the LaRouchePAC Weekly Report of April 28, in which LaRouche addressed the question "What Is Value?", has also just been released with Russian voiceover. Among blog discussions of that video, one participant exclaimed, "At last, somebody speaking openly about those traitors Gorbachov and Chubais! LaRouche should be elected President of Russia."
Sochi Summit Exhibits Consensus On Afghanistan
Aug. 18 (EIRNS)A shortened summit among the heads of state of Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan, held at Sochi, Russia on Aug. 18, and organized by Russia, saw the emergence of a consensus on Afghanistan among the four. Although the details have not been released yet, any consensus between Russia and Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, is considered a unique event.
"We support the fight of the Afghan government against terrorism and are ready to fully help in this direction. We live in the same regionthis creates common problems and common prospects," Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said after the conference, shortened by the quick departure of Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, due to the emergency caused by the floods there.
This was the second four-way summit among these nations; the first took place in July 2009 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. These meetings will be expanded with regular meetings of economics and foreign ministers, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The drug/terrorism threat led the agenda, but the nations also discussed economic cooperation, especially in energy and transport infrastructure, which are severely underdeveloped in this region; there are still no railroads through Afghanistan, which could link Russia and landlocked Central Asian nations to Pakistan and the Indian Ocean.
The four leaders' joint statement says that "Terrorism and drug-trafficking pose a threat to peace and stability," and they agreed to intensify joint efforts on this front through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Lavrov said. They also discussed joint economic projects, including restoring the Salang Tunnel in northern Afghanistan and rebuilding hydropower plants. Russia is considering participation in a project to deliver surplus electricity from Tajikistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan. Russia also pledged supplies to the Afghan police and Army.
Medvedev opened the conference by saying that they must discuss the drug threat in detail. The "response to [the drug threat] should be joint rather than isolated," he said. "Neither Afghanistan, nor Russia, nor any other country will settle it alone. This is a common problem, and we should act together." Medvedev said that while he values Afghanistan's efforts on this front, "several conceptual and practical issues exist." He also called for the international community to have a "consolidated position" on aiding Pakistan to deal with its catastrophic floods. Medvedev and Zardari discussed both anti-drug cooperation, and revitalization of trade and economic links.
Medvedev said that there are a number of projects for economic development, including recent proposals on energy and other projects first proposed in the Soviet era. "It makes sense to get back to them," he said. Muhammad Farooq Afzal, chairman of the Pakistan-Russia Business Council, wrote in Dawn Aug. 9 that a recent Russian summit proposed "funding of a road and rail link from Islamabad to Ferghana and Dushanbe," and Medvedev convened the Sochi meeting to discuss the projects, "which would give access to Tajikistan and Russia for Pakistani ports, and in return Pakistan will get access to the Central Asian markets and rich Siberian regions through road and rail." A 1,400-km road system, which could also connect to the existing China-Pakistan Karakoram Highway, is under discussion. China, Afzal wrote, already has a plan to link Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan via a rail link. China is approaching Afghanistan, ensuring that it is integrated with the economies of Tajikistan, western China, and Pakistan.
Russia Continues To Expand Nuclear Exports
Aug. 21 (EIRNS)Armenia and Russia signed a nuclear cooperation agreement on Aug. 20, during Russian President Dmitri Medvedev's visit to the Armenian capital Yerevan. Previously, a joint Russian-Armenian enterprise was created to conduct exploration for Armenian uranium reserves, and Russia is a stockholder of the Metsamor-Inter RAO company, which will build a new Armenian nuclear plant. One of Armenia's operating reactors will be decommissioned in 2017, and the new reactor is to be in place by then. Traveling with the Russian President was Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko, who said that Russia could cover 20% of the construction costs, totalling about $5 billion.
Russia has been aggressively pursuing contracts to export its nuclear power plants, as part of its effort to rebuild and modernize its nuclear industry, targetting former Soviet republics and East bloc nations, many of which already have Soviet-made reactors. The Russians have sweetened these deals with offers to help finance the projects, and providing "cradle-to-grave" services, including providing the nuclear fuel, and repatriating the spent fuel to be reprocessed in Russia. Japan's recent reorganization of its nuclear industry was largely in response to the fact that without offering such vertically integrated nuclear services, it was unlikely to be able to compete for export contracts.