From Volume 38, Issue 40 of EIR Online, Published October 14, 2011
Russia and the CIS News Digest

Yakunin: Globalization Has Caused Civilizational Crisis

Oct. 7 (EIRNS)—The Rhodes Forum—Dialogue of Civilizations is taking place on the Greek island of Rhodes. The Bulletin of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church today summarized the keynote speech of Rhodes Forum co-founder Vladimir Yakunin, CEO of the state-owned company Russian Railways as follows: "The current crisis betrays what the main outcomes of globalization have been, emphasized Vladimir Yakunin. Its chief result is the creation of a virtual financial economy, or casino capitalism, which is completely free, and thoroughly divorced from the real economy. Such freedom, which is more similar to license, has become a dead end for the development of society. 'The economic crisis takes the form of a civilizational crisis of all Europeanist world projects: mondialism, the Euro-Atlantic consensus, and globalization,' Vladimir Yakunin concluded."

Two years ago, Lyndon LaRouche electrified the 2009 Rhodes Forum audience with his speech on the "Four Powers" perspective (U.S.A., Russia, China, India) for turning the world economy away from suicidal monetarism and toward a future of great projects, scientific advance, and betterment for humanity.

Yakunin quoted Rhodes Forum Co-Founder J.C. Kapur, who died last year, saying that "we must recognize that the world is not just a globalized loot-haven, but a family of nations in a true sense, where all members of the family have a right to pray, work, and establish life styles of their choice."

Yakunin presented how the "globalization project" has led to a worldwide casino: "The second stage [is] marked by the transfer of a substantial share of industry to the third countries in pursuit of cheap labour and access to natural resources." That led into the current crisis, which has had the devastating effects he described.

Putin Promotes 'Eurasian Union'

Oct. 4 (EIRNS)—Russian Prime Minister and Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin published an article in the daily Izvestia today, telling the world about Moscow's prioritization of the creation of a Eurasian Union, starting with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakstan, but ready to embrace other countries in the post-Soviet region. As these countries reintegrate their economic ties, he wrote, they are prepared to become a bridge between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

A "Eurasian Union," as a broader concept, was promoted by Lyndon LaRouche during several visits to Russia and Ukraine in the mid-1990s. In 1997, as EIR reported at the time, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that he would devote the rest of his life to creating a "Eurasian Union," including close cooperation of the post-Soviet economies with China. Some of his ideas were implemented through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Currently, the Eurasian Union is the declared goal of a process that has begun with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakstan, fully functioning since July 1, 2011. Its secretary is the economist Academician Sergei Glazyev, who has been working on the project for the past several years. As of Jan. 1, 2012, the Customs Union will launch the Common Economic Space, involving further reduction of trade barriers and promotion of joint projects, as a stepping stone to the Eurasian Union.

Putin had announced the Eurasian Union as a key goal for Russia, in his Sept. 24 keynote speech to the United Russia party congress, after unveiling his Presidential candidacy. In his Izvestia article, Putin said that the various post-Soviet integration efforts, under the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Union, had "received a fresh impetus during the global financial crisis, as it forced states to seek new resources for economic growth." Coming on the heels of the Customs Union, he said that the Common Economic Space would be "a huge market that will encompass over 165 million consumers, with unified legislation and the free flow of capital, services, and labor force." It will also bring immediate practical savings, such as eliminating the need to police and service the 7,000-km Russia-Kazakstan border.

While Putin presented the Eurasian Union as just as historic as Europe's 40-year path to the European Union, he made clear that the Eurasian countries have no intention to replicate the EU. "We see their strengths and weaknesses," he said, stressing that Russia and its partners would "avoid ... unnecessary bureaucratic superstructures."

Putin continued: "By building the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, we are laying the foundation for a prospective Eurasian economic union." Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan would come in, he said. (Ukraine and Uzbekistan, which have remained apart from this process, were not explicitly discussed in the article, but Putin attacked the argument that joining the CES contradicts any country's orientation cooperation with Europe.)

Discussing the future prospects of this project, Putin stressed that it is not a "revival of the Soviet Union." Rather, he wrote, "These times call for close integration based on new values and a new political and economic foundation. We suggest a powerful supranational association capable of becoming one of the poles in the modern world and serving as an efficient bridge between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. This project also implies transitioning to closer coordination in economic and currency policies in the Customs Union and CES and establishing a full-fledged economic union. Its natural resources, capital, and potent reserve of human resources will combine to put the Eurasian Union in a strong competitive position in the industry and technology race, in the struggle for investors, for the creation of new jobs and the establishment of cutting-edge facilities."

Putin Looks to Asia Cooperation

Oct. 4 (EIRNS)—A week before his official visit to China on Oct. 11-12, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took two occasions in the past few days to emphasize the priority he places on economic relations with Asia.

* On Oct. 3, Putin held a televised conference with Alexei Miller, CEO of the state-owned Gazprom natural gas monopoly. Amid discussion of the fall-out from European Commission-ordered raids on Gazprom partners in Europe, Putin underscored the importance of seeking Asian markets for Russian national gas. Currently, such shipments are limited to LNG supplied from the Sakhalin-2 project to customers in Japan and South Korea. Last week, Gazprom and the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC) conducted several days of negotiations on opening the way to Russian natural gas supplies to China, which topic is expected to be revisited during Putin's trip.

* Putin today sent greetings to the 5th Far East International Economic Forum, being held in Khabarovsk. Representatives of 19 Russian states and 12 countries are attending. Hailing such conferences as crucial for promoting cooperation and development, Putin noted that "dozens of large-scale projects" are already under way, including in energy, transport, upgrading ports, high-technology manufacturing, and job-creation. He stated that such cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region is a priority for Russia.

Russian, Chinese Academies To Meet on Northeast Asia Development

Oct. 7 (EIRNS)—While Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visits China, a conference will be held at Sakhalin State University (Russia), titled "Russian-Chinese Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Toward Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity."

The Oct. 10-12 event will be the first international scientific conference of Russian and Chinese scholars ever to be convened on Sakhalin Island. Sponsors include the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of the Far East, which has promoted development of the Eurasian Land-Bridge for many years. Participating will be government and academic institutions from the two nations, including the Chinese Institute of International Relations of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Russian Foreign Ministry. Twenty papers are to be presented on Oct. 10, a roundtable held on Oct. 11, and a press conference will conclude the event.

Roscosmos Chief: Mission Requires Technology Breakthroughs, Better Economy

Oct. 9 (EIRNS)—Speaking at the 62nd International Astronautical Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian Roskosmos Space Agency, said that an inspection of rockets similar to the one that caused the crash of the Progress cargo ship recently had found no production faults. This opens the way for renewed launches to the International Space Station. Popovkin said a crowded launch schedule would bring the International Space Station back to full operation by Dec. 21. But he also expressed his dismay over the fact that, with the ending of the U.S. Shuttle program, the Progress was the only means of supplying the space station.

"While other countries are working on new [spacecraft], we are forced to focus on the production of well-reputed but comparatively old spacecraft, Soyuz and Progress," he said. Popovkin may have been referring to NASA's recent unveiling of plans to build a deep-space rocket, which plans, however, are pie-in-the-sky under the present policies of the Obama Administration.

Popovkin dismissed ambitions to fly cosmonauts to Mars at the present time. "The prospect of flights to asteroids and Mars is far off and their realization depends not only on the economic development of the country, but also on technological progress," he said. Russia, he said, would concentrate on the Moon.

Citing the lack of financing, Popovkin said that Russia intended to halt the production of Rus-M carrier rockets, which were part of an ambitious plan to launch new-generation spacecraft from 2015 on, at the new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East. "We have come to the conclusion that we do not need a new rocket; we can continue using those we already have," Popovkin said.

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