|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Nations Discuss Arctic Potential at Moscow Forum
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)The international forum on "The ArticTerritory of Dialogue" opened today in Moscow. Organized by the Russian Geographical Society (RGS, founded 1845) and Novosti news agency, the two-day meeting covered the vast mineral and other resources of the Arctic shelf, many only recently discovered; potential cooperation among the Arctic nations; climate and environmental issues; and how best to develop and exploit this region.
"The Arctic's nature ... is becoming the common heritage of not only circumpolar countries, but of all mankind," Novosti quoted Prof. Yuri Mazurov of Moscow State University. Russia, which is claiming 1.2 million square km under the Arctic Seaa region which contains nearly 25% of the world's mineral wealth, exploitable using modern technologyinitiated the forum. It is to be addressed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Iceland's President Olafur Grimsson, and dozens of Arctic experts from the United States, Canada, Norway, Denmark, and the European Union, Novosti reported.
Russia, Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Finland, Iceland, and the United States are the seven nations with Arctic coastlines; Russia, Canada, and the U.S. are currently carrying out research expeditions to substantiate claims to the oil-rich undersea Lomonosov Ridge. There is potential for conflict in this region; however, Russia last week reached an agreement with Norway on the Barents Sea, and Russia and Canada are discussing rival claims.
Vladimir Kotlyakov, honorary president of the RGS, was quoted by the Moscow Times: "Russia does not want conflict with the other countries surrounding the Arctic." However, he said, "We will make a huge effort to hang on to the territory which we think belongs to Russia. Of course conflict is always possible, but I repeat that the politicians currently in power in Russia want compromise."
The RGS, in conjunction with the Moscow State University School of Geography, will produce a new comprehensive atlas of the Arctic, RGS President and Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said today.
A key to the Russian program for the Arctic, is development of floating nuclear power stations. The first of eight planned stations should be completed in 2012. "These [stations] have very good potential, creating the conditions for exploring the Arctic shelf and setting up drilling platforms to extract oil and gas," the BBC quoted Sergey Zavyalov, deputy director of Rosenergoatom. "Work in the Arctic is very complicated and dangerous, and we should ensure there's a reliable energy supply." Each station can supply electricity and heating for communities of up to 45,000 people and can stay on location for 12 years.
The forum website, www.arctic.ru, includes links to an article in Geochemical News, July 2009, which begins with the quote: The "Arctic must be conquered and it is especially important for direct industrial development of mankind, at least as much as the triumph of knowledge. The victory may be deemed complete, however, only if a vessel outfit[ted] in Europe goes rapidly and directly to the Bering Strait.... Russia crave[s] true victory over [the] Arctic Ocean even more than any other country, for none else owns [a] greater length of shore line in the Arctic Ocean...."from Arctic Ocean investigation by Dmitri Mendeleyev, 1901.
Medvedev To Commemorate World War II Victory During China Visit
Sept. 24 (EIRNS)Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is making his second official visit to China Sept. 26-28, accompanied by high-level political and business delegations. He will discuss strategic relations with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other government leaders in Beijing Sept. 27, and then go to Shanghai, China's biggest industrial city and financial center, the next day. Medvedev's delegation will include two Deputy Prime Ministers, Igor Sechin and Alexander Zhukov, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina, and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, as well as governors of the regions closest to China. The economic representatives include Rosatom head Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Mikhail Dmitriyev, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin, and heads of the big oil and gas companies, aircraft builders, and, on the down side, the head of the Skolkovo fundthe operation building Russia's very own Silicon Valley.
Medvedev will begin his visit in Dalian, the northeast Chinese port city which had been occupied by both Japan and Russia in the early 20th Century, under the name of Port Arthur. In Dalian, Medvedev will visit the memorial for the 12,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in the liberation of northeast China from the Japanese Kwantung Army in 1945. Medvedev's visit to this memorial, which was restored several years ago, is part of the commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. The Red Army move into this regiona remarkable feat of arms, involving moving troops all the way from defeated Germanyagainst the largest Japanese force on the Asian mainland, was agreed to by Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin at the Yalta summit in February 1945. The Kwantung Army was a hotbed of Japanese fascism, and launched the invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and China in 1937. Medvedev will also visit the Russian cemetery for soldiers killed in the Russian-Japanese War (1904-05), and meet a group of Russian and Chinese World War II veterans.
Today, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov published an article in China's People's Daily, commemorating Russian-Chinese cooperation against fascism in World War II. He discussed the war's origins in Asia in the 1930s, and Soviet military support for China, while playing a key role in defeating Nazi Germany. Lavrov denounced current attempts to re-write the history of World War II and the Allies' wartime relations. He also called for Russian-Chinese cooperation to resolve continuing security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Korean Peninsula, drug running, and terrorism.
Russia-China Nuclear Cooperation Moves Up Three Notches
Sept. 25 (EIRNS)On the eve of the Russian-Chinese summit, Sergei Novikov, spokesman of the Russian Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), talked with Xinhua about the advancement of nuclear cooperation between the two countries. "The Chinese government has planned to build nuclear capacities up to 100 GW, that is, about 100 power-generating units. This is a huge and prospective market for us," he said. Novikov said that Rosatom was ready to compete in this market with all major world nuclear technology suppliers. "Our advantage is that we started cooperation with China before our competitors did, and now we may present the real fruits of the cooperation."
Beyond these current projects, Novikov sees Russian-Chinese cooperation in two other nuclear areas. This Summer, the world's first floating nuclear power station, the Lomonosov, set out from St. Petersburg, said Novikov. "There are many world companies interested in this unique technology that combines electricity generation with water desalination. We expect this project, the first in the world, will start working within 20 months," he added. "After that we can start negotiations with the Chinese companies about exporting this technology." The spokesman also named nuclear icebreaker-assisted escort of cargo ships through the Arctic Ocean as an area of future cooperation.
Gorbachov Builds New Organization
Sept. 26 (EIRNS)Former Soviet President, British agent Mikhail Gorbachov, has made good on his standing threat to launch a new political venture in Russia. RFE/RL's Russian Service reports that Gorbachov (the first Soviet Communist Party chief personally vetted by the Queen of England, though she surely approved of a couple of his predecessors, too) launched a project called "Civil Dialogue" on Sept. 15 at the offices of his foundation in Moscow.
Masquerading as a "nonpartisan democratic entity," the new outfit includes such friends of the British Empire as Soviet-era human rights figures Lyudmila Alekseyeva and Sergei Kovalyov, neoliberal "young reformer" ex-Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, politician Vladimir Ryzhkov and businessman Aleksandr Lebedev (partners of Gorbachov in his "Rygoletto" opposition project two years ago), and Dmitri Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, which Gorbachov co-owns.
Novaya Gazeta viciously attacked Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin and Far East Presidential Representative Victor Ishayev for their promotion of railway construction in Siberia, earlier this year.