|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Medvedev to India To Increase Economic Cooperation
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)Russian President Dmitri Medvedev arrives in India late Dec. 20 for the 11th Indo-Russian Annual Summit, starting the next day. The two nations, long-term strategic partners, will sign agreements on defense, civilian nuclear cooperation, and space and other economic cooperation, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Vishnu Prakash said yesterday. Medvedev will visit New Delhi, and go to Agra and Mumbai, the financial capital, Dec. 22.
Economic relations are the weak side of India-Russian ties. Joint trade is at the level of only $10 billion this year, although that is an almost 10-fold increase from a decade ago. India wants to sharply increase its oil and gas imports from Russia and participate in Russian hydrocarbon projects, and is also looking to invest in Russian enterprises Moscow is privatizing. Over 100 Russian entrepreneurs will be in New Delhi tomorrow, for discussions at the India-Russia CEOs' Council.
Medvedev will be bringing his "modernization" policy with him, Press Trust of India reported today. The Russian President sees a "great potential for expanding the innovation aspect in bilateral cooperation with India," and wants a modernization partnership in energy efficiency, nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, and IT.
Whatever the idiocy of some of Medvedev's "modernization" policies, the nuclear energy aspect is real. In an interview with the Deccan Herald published today, Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin described current and future projects: "Russia's Atomstroyexport is building two 1,000 MW power units at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu, with the first one to start production this month or in January. The proposals for the construction of the third and fourth power units are being discussed.... The Indian side has positively responded to our proposal for the serial construction of new nuclear power units, so that in the next 15-20 years their number will reach 14-16.... We are determined to help the Indian government increase overall nuclear power generation capacity to 20 GW in 2020."
MEA spokesman Prakash said that Indian companies are ready to take part in the Russian privatization program for 2011-13. "Indian businesses show great interest in the privatization program which could be evaluated at $32 billion," Prakash told the press. "The governments of the two countries are already working under the cooperation program in the sphere of hydrocarbons. Russia and India have mutual goals as India is interested in stable supplies of oil and gas and Russia in having a guaranteed buyer," he said. The privatizations will include sale of shares in state-owned enterprises, ranging from 5% to just under 50% in most cases. These include shares in oil major Rosneft, RusHydro hydropower generator, the Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy System, Sberbank and VTB Bank, Russian Railways, and agricultural and other firms.
Russia, China Synchronize Korean Peninsula Policy
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have "synchronized their [nations'] policies on the Korean crisis," during a telephone discussion between the two ministers yesterday evening. They "urged the parties [involved] to show restraint and solve all controversial issues by peaceful means," RIA Novosti cited the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Yang was speaking from Pakistan, where he was accompanying Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
"China stands for dialogue and consultations between the parties to resolve their differences and disputes by peaceful means. China is willing to work with Russia to continue to maintain close interaction and coordination, the ability to avoid deterioration of the situation out of control, and effectively protect peace and stability on the peninsula and in Northeast Asia," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. Yang warned that the current situation on the peninsula was very tense and could deteriorate even further.
Lavrov responded that Russia accords high importance to the situation, and has expressed its great concern. Moscow is calling for utmost calm and restraint, Xinhua reported today. Russia is willing to work with China to make active efforts to reduce the tension on the peninsula, he said. Both China and Russia haveor had until recentlysizeable (although illegal) populations of North Koreans in their border areas, and would both be affected if the situation in North Korea deteriorated sharply.
On Dec. 13, Lavrov had called for resumption of the Six-Party talks on Korean issues, after he held talks with visiting North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun in Moscow. Pak made an unusual three-day visit to Russia Dec. 12-15. Lavrov had invited Pak to discuss plans for Foreign Ministry exchanges in 2011-12, as well as potential economic cooperation, Xinhua reported yesterday.
While expressing Russia's "deep concern" about North Korea's nuclear program, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the talks also said that, "Considerable attention was paid to prospects for resuming talks on ways of resolving the Korean peninsula's nuclear issue. The Russian side pointed to the need to create conditions for the relaunch of the Six Party talks, on the basis of strict compliance with commitments" made in the six nations' September 2005 statement. The six nations are North and South Korea, China, Russia, the United States, and Japan.
On Dec. 15, South Korea's envoy to the Six-Party talks Wi Sung Lac also visited Moscow for discussions.
Putin: Youth Violence Is 'Alarming Signal'
Dec. 19 (EIRNS)The involvement of so many young people in the recent violent public disorders in Moscow is an "alarming signal," Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in a Dec. 16 interview. "This is an alarming signal, but it would be wrong to speak of them as a lost generation," Putin said an interview with the News on Saturday weekly news review on Russia's First Channel television, aired Dec. 18.
Moscow police arrested some 1,300 people yesterday, including 500 who were staging an extreme nationalist demonstration, in order to prevent further disturbances. One week earlier, on Dec. 11, thousands had rioted and fought with the police near the Kremlin. Tensions are being attributed to ethnic conflicts and right-wing nationalism. But most notable, is that, of the extreme nationalists arrested, most were minors, as city police spokesman Viktor Biryukov told the press.
When Putin was asked about the number of teenagers taking part in extremist rallies, he responded that this is a "disturbing sign." "When young people find themselves in an extreme situation where they have to make a choice that may even concern their own lives, but as they do so, they also have to make a decision in the interests of the country; as a rule, people take risks and even are ready to give their lives for their country. And we could see that many times during the sad and tragic events in the Caucasus," Putin said, Itar-Tass reported. "So I do not think that this is a lost generation, but they need to be worked with. And it is necessary to ensure that they can always find a way to realize themselves."
Lyndon LaRouche has frequently spoken of the new violence affecting the 16-25 generation, leading, in extreme cases, to both killings and suicide. This is a key problem for the future, he noted.