|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Putin: Russians Will Not Be Poisoned for WTO
June 3 (EIRNS)Russia blocked vegetable imports from Spain and Germany in response to the deadly E. coli outbreak centered in Hamburg. Then, when the German government reversed its initial finding that organic Spanish cucumbers had caused the infection, Russia blocked vegetable imports from the entire European Union (EU).
The EU protested, and Fernando Valenzuela, its representative in Moscow, said that Russia should reverse the ban to comply with the "spirit" of WTO rulesthis, even though Russia's application for WTO membership has not yet been accepted.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin responded to the accusation that Russia was violating the spirit of the WTO, by saying on state television, "I openly admit I don't know what spirit [the ban] is contradicting. But when people are dying from eating cucumbers, there is something really fishy going on. People really are dying because of eating these products, and we cannot let our people get poisoned for the sake of some kind of spirit."
Viktor Ivanov: Commission Report Is Pro-Drug Propaganda
June 3 (EIRNS)Viktor Ivanov, the chief of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, lambasted the report issued on June 2 by the George Shultz-Paul Volcker Global Commission on Drug Policy, calling it "a propaganda campaign promoting the use of narcotics." Ivanov said that Russia had gone through the "sad experience" of legalizing drugs containing codeine for its pain-killing, anti-diarrheal, and cough suppressant properties. As a result, the use of codeine, which he said "has essentially the same properties as heroin," has increased exponentially. In November, codeine will again be reclassified as a prescription drug.
Ivanov also said that the legalization propaganda was being financed with drug money. "This propaganda campaign is linked to the huge profits [from sales of illicit drugs] that are estimated at about $800 billion annually," he said. "We have to realize that we are dealing with a global propaganda of illicit drugs here," Ivanov said.
Russian Official: Libya War Illegal
June 2 (EIRNS)In a statement on the Rossiya 24 TV channel today, Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian Ambassador to NATO, accused the alliance of having turned the "limited" operation in Libya approved by the UN Security Council, into "a ground operation." Rogozin also noted that "several members of the Western coalition fell outside the limits of UN Security Council's resolution long ago."
Rogozin's statement provides de facto back-up to the charges being raised within the U.S. Congress by Republicans and Democrats, who are charging that President Obama has joined a war in Libya, without the required Constitutional approval. The Administration's excuse, that it's not really a war, is clearly a piece of sophistry which the Russians also don't believe.
Russia Worries About Germany's Green Future
June 2 (EIRNS)In a radio interview with Voice of Russia yesterday, Sergei Novakov of Rosatom said: "It is very hard to replace the share of nuclear energy by green sources, because in several countries, such as in Belgium, for example, more than 50% of all the electricity generated in the country is of nuclear origin. So, to replace 56% in Belgium by green sources is an extremely ambitious purpose which cannot be reached in the mid-term, let us say. So it is clear that for, for example, householders, wind and solar power plants could provide electricity, but for industrial customers it is impossible, because, for example, for metal plants, where you have to be provided with electricity all the time, day and night, it is impossible to use wind or solar farms. So we got already some statements of industrial officials from Germany such as Daimler, for example, that said that it would decrease competitiveness of the German industry.
"And one more thing: I think we should see what will be the situation in the next 10 years, because it is clear that it is not just a German issue, the European energy balance. For example, Miss Nobuo Tanaka, who is head of the International Energy Agency, said exactly the same thing: Germany cannot decide itself, because otherwise this country will depend on energy supply from other countries, such as France, for example, where they will get the energy exactly from nuclear power stations, and they will share the hypothetical risks of emergency case, but they will pay for these supplies twice or even more."