Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

putin-nationalideaVladimir Putin has told an influential political forum that Russia needs to strengthen its national identity based on traditional values, and vowed to continue the opposition to the unipolar international political system.

National idea as vital priority in global competition

Addressing an assembly of officials, politicians and political experts on the closing day of the international forum Valdai Club, the Russian President said that the nation had already left behind the “fundamental conservatism” characterized by the idealization of Russian history after 1917 and that it was impossible to resurrect Soviet ideology.

However, the president noted that those who supported conservative ideology were as far removed from real life as the followers of western-style liberalism.

The Russian leader emphasized that the progressive movement was impossible without spiritual, cultural and national self-determination, adding that Russia was facing another convolution in global competition and success in it was vitally important.

According to Putin, history has shown the impossibility of imposing a national idea from above and mechanically copying other countries’ experiences was not effective either. He added that resistance to the primitive borrowing of ideas and attempts to civilize Russia from abroad could be explained by the citizens’ inherent drive for independence and sovereignty in spiritual, ideological and political spheres. Putin also noted that such an approach had often failed in other nations of the world.

The time when readymade lifestyle models could be installed in foreign states like computer programs has already passed,” Putin told the Valdai forum.

All-sided dialogue, but no ethnic separatism

The president then said that all political forces must join the discussion about national ideology, urging the opposing camps to listen to each other and to abandon the practice of total nihilism and criticism.

Putin especially warned the nationalist wing, saying that those who forget that Russia was a multi-ethnic state and attempt to speculate on regional separatism “step on a path of destruction of their own genetic code and, in essence, begin to destroy themselves.”

Sovereignty, self-reliance and integrity of Russia are unconditional, they are the red lines no one is allowed to step over,” Putin emphasized.

Speaking of the possible basis for the new national idea, the president said that the current Russian leadership chose to rely on traditional Christian and moral values, noting that without these millennia-tested ideals people would “inevitably lose their human dignity”.

Multi-polar world remains priority in foreign policy

In addition, the Russian leader noted that the national revival of Russia was in line with the foreign policy course for a multi-polar world and the prevailing of international law over the rule of brute force.

Putin cautioned against attempts to reanimate the model of a unified and unipolar world, adding that such a system would not need sovereign states, but would need vassals instead.

Russia is with those who hold that the key decisions must be taken on a collective basis rather than in accordance with plans and interests of certain states or groups of states. International law must work instead of the ‘right of the strong’ and the ‘rule of fists’” Putin told the assembly.

The Russian president again stressed that every country and their people were not exceptional, but they were unique and all had equal rights, including the right to choose their path of development.

No democracy is without flaws

Answering questions after the speech, Putin noted that the current Russian authorities have certain drawbacks and probably could be better, but the same went for the authorities in any democratic country.

It is perfectly right that Russia deserves better quality leadership in general. However, it is a big and bold question if such leadership exists in other countries, including the one represented by Mr McCain [US Senator John McCain who is a constant critic of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s policies].” Putin explained that the US presidents had been twice elected in a vote where a larger number of electors represented a minority of voters and called such a situation “an absolutely evident flaw in the election process.”

The president again emphasized that the Russian political system must be chosen by Russian citizens and not by “respected colleagues from abroad”. Putin also said that in the recent presidential poll the absolute majority of Russians voted for him and this should be a starting point in any discussion. However, he also agreed that both he and the Russian state institution needed perfecting further and pledged to continue working on this.



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Russian Envoy: Syria Can Resist US Attack!

Russian ambassador to Lebanon Zasypkn talks with pilot of Russian aeroplane that arrived with humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees in  Lebanon, at Beirut international airport
By: Marlene Khalifeh Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon).


Regional incidents and the terrorist Ruwais bombing in Lebanon have disturbed the quiet holiday that Russian Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin was enjoying at his home in Podolsk, south Russia, whose nature and refreshing climate he dwelled on. But today, Zasypkin is busy following the Syrian issue, which the Americans suddenly heated up by announcing possible upcoming air strikes against targeted Syrian sites.

Perhaps this week’s “star announcement” was the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday, Aug. 26, when he said that Russia will not react militarily to a US military intervention in Syria

In Beirut, Zasypkin supported Lavrov’s position and was surprised that some thought that Russia was willing to go to war with the United States and destabilize the world for many years, as happened during the Cold War. He reiterated his country’s positions, which reject bypassing the UN Security Council. He expects that the new US “adventure” will expand the conflict in the region, as the United States did in Iraq and Libya. Zasypkin seemed certain about the Syrian army’s superiority relative to the opposition and, alluding to Iran, he warned about how the Syrian regime’s allies will react to a US strike.

Zasypkin accused the “Syrian opposition’s gunmen” of using poison gas against civilians, and he advised the Lebanese people, under these circumstances, to form a government that groups all sides and that doesn’t exclude any party that is represented in the Lebanese parliament.

Following is the text of the interview:

As-Safir:  Russia chose not to react militarily to a US military intervention in Syria. What does that mean? And does Moscow accept a repeat of the Libyan experience?

Zasypkin:  We do not accept a repeat of the Libyan experience by means of a decision in the UN Security Council. It is known that we used our veto right three times to prevent decisions that are unbalanced toward the Syrian reality. We want to prevent any action outside the UN Security Council. And if they resort to a military strike, then it would be a violation of international law.

As-Safir:  Will Russia stop at only describing the situation and accept direct US interference in Russia’s area of ​​influence?

Zasypkin:  We think that we are taking a strong political stance regarding what is happening. Our commitment to international legitimacy means that we will not accept any attempt at a direct foreign intervention in Syria. We believe that this is the strongest possible thing that Russia can do in these circumstances. Some might want us to use the same methods as the Americans and threaten their allies. But we will not fall into this trap and we will stick to the political struggle. At the same time, we have warned that this aggression will not be easy and that there will be a reaction from Syria. And we are aware of the positions of some other international parties allied to Syria.

As-Safir:  Some have interpreted Foreign Minister Lavrov’s words to mean that Russia has withdrawn its support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Zasypkin:  What is happening on the subject of chemical weapons, as well as the threats, shows that our approach is sound, so we will maintain it. We will not accept foreign attempts to force the Syrian president to step down. Today, as before, we assert that this issue is in the hands of the Syrian people and not in the hands of third parties, regardless of the methods they use to achieve this goal.

As-Safir:  But doesn’t the expected American military intervention change the power balance before going to the Geneva II conference?

Zasypkin:  This is an old discussion. We have been hearing for several months that they want a period of time to change the power balance to create suitable conditions for the negotiations. We do not accept this logic. We believe negotiations should have happened a long time ago. The facts indicate that the situation was moving in the [Syrian] army’s favor on the ground. If there is a strike, there will be multiple effects, whose implications we cannot accurately assess. What’s certain is that it will lead to the escalation of the situation and to the expansion of the conflict.

As-Safir:  During his visit to Russia, did Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz inform President Vladimir Putin about this sudden US change? How was the atmosphere of the Russian-Saudi meeting?

Zasypkin:  We believe that the meeting was useful because it was an opportunity for direct talks with the Saudi side and for Russia to explain its position and geopolitical constants. And I would like to emphasize that the rumors on bargains regarding regional issues are incorrect.

As-Safir:  Iran said that the Americans may be able to start the war but not decide how it will end. Did we enter into a regional war?

Zasypkin:  During the last decades, the Americans went into several adventures, like Iraq and the NATO operation in Libya. They have always led to chaos and tragic results for everyone, including the United States. So we warn of the same scenario if there is a strike against Syria, especially because it is a pivotal state in the region. The international community must support a political settlement in Syria through negotiations between the government and the opposition according to the Geneva accord. And this requires dealing with the parties to the conflict, and preparing for the Geneva II conference.

Russia accuses the Syrian opposition

As-Safir:  What is Russia’s political assessment about the poison gas massacre in east and west Ghouta? Is it true that Russia has failed to control the use of this weapon?

Zasypkin:  It’s not the first time that they’ve used the pretext of weapons of mass destruction to go on military adventures, as happened in Iraq. And according to our information, those who used chemical weapons in Syria are the armed opposition, not the Syrian regime. We have handed over the complete file about the Khan al-Asal incident to the UN Security Council. We must await the results of the experts’ investigations and the discussions in the Security Council.

As-Safir:  What if the UN Security Council is bypassed, as some parties have called for, such as British Foreign Minister William Hague and even Turkey?

Zasypkin:  We adhere to the UN Security Council despite attempts to sabotage its role. This is how Russia’s position differs from that of the international community, and we’re proud of it. We will continue to apply our international obligations in this regard. Those who act outside the scope of the Security Council should take responsibility for their actions because history does not end today.

As-Safir:  What will happen the day after the expected US strike?

Zasypkin:  The magnitude of the conflict will grow and its area will expand. And in our opinion, the Syrian regime can resist.

Lebanon, international terrorism and the government

As-Safir:  What does Russia think about what has been happening in Lebanon lately, regarding car bombs that claimed hundreds of innocent people in the southern suburbs and Tripoli?

Zasypkin:  We strongly condemn these acts, and we are striving to maintain the international consensus on security and stability in Lebanon regardless of what is happening in the region.

As-Safir:  Has Lebanon entered the “Iraqization” phase?

Zasypkin:  I think that the international constants regarding Lebanon are still in place. But subversive parties are trying to escalate the situation. So we have to stand in solidarity with Lebanon.

As-Safir:  Will Russia help Lebanon with anti-terrorism equipment?

Zasypkin:  If that’s necessary, we are ready.

As-Safir:  Who has an interest in seeing Lebanon blow up? Did the takfiri hypothesis that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah talked about convince you?

Zasypkin:  There is a game going on in the framework of the international terrorist network. As an external party, I cannot point to any groups inside Lebanon who committed the crime. The investigation and the judicial outcomes must uncover who committed the crime.

As-Safir:  What about the proposals regarding the upcoming Lebanese cabinet? Does Russia accept a cabinet that doesn’t include Hezbollah?

Zasypkin:  This is an internal issue, but we always call for national dialogue. And we think that the best kind of government is one that includes all the main Lebanese groups without exception. This is the best choice for Lebanon. And given the exceptional circumstances we are experiencing in the region, the Lebanese government should be strong and capable of managing things in the country, especially with respect to security, the economy and social issues. Regarding the issue of representation and how the shares are divided, that should be decided by consultation among the Lebanese parties.

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Vladimir PutinBy Carlos Martinez

I tried to write this status without swearing, but I can’t do it, sorry. Stephen Fry is a dickhead. How ridiculously hypocritical and stupid to call for the Russian Winter Olympics to be banned on account of “anti-gay” laws.

Why didn’t Fry call for the London Olympics to be banned? Does Britain have a great record on human rights? Have we respected the human rights of the Iraqi, Libyan, Afghan, Yugoslav and Syrian people? And if brown people and weird Slav(e)s aren’t important enough to worry about, then have we respected the human rights of the Irish, on whom the British state developed the world’s most advanced torture techniques?

Why didn’t Fry call for the Atlanta Olympics, or the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, to be banned, given the US record of flagrant human rights abuses at home and abroad? How about the fact that the US imprisons over 1% of its adult population (double Russia’s incarceration rate), and how about the fact that black people are incarcerated at 10 times the rate of whites? Does that not warrant a boycott? (Sorry, I keep forgetting that non-whites don’t really have ‘rights’ in the commonly understood sense of the word.)

What Stephen Fry is saying is that the most significant form of oppression in the world today is homophobia. Colonialism, imperialism, racism, capitalism, neoliberalism, sexism – none of these really matter. This (self-evidently wrong) position puts him solidly on the side of imperialism. He applauds Cameron for supporting gay marriage, whilst condemning Putin – one of the precious few world leaders moving seriously and confidently against western hegemony. In summary, Fry may be a very witty, eloquent, amiable chap, but he is unquestionably on the wrong side of the global barricades.

The irony is that his first suggestion for an alternative location is Utah, where the majority of the population is Mormon. The Mormonic view on homosexuality is summed up quite nicely on the mormon.org FAQ site: “We cannot stand idle if homosexuals indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families.” And yet it’s Vladimir Putin who “cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world”?! Ridiculous.

Obviously, this issue is closely linked with Russia’s granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, and with Obama’s cancellation of his Moscow visit. Stephen Fry is letting us know, loud and clear, that he stands with Obama, Cameron, and the rest of the “civilised” (imperialist) world against the growing tide of multipolarity and national liberation.

(And, before you start an irrelevant debate: I do oppose homophobia and have nothing against homosexuals getting married!)


from the Agent of Change

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Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has praised Russian authorities for not caving in to pressure from abroad, saying granting asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden would help prevent the establishment of a ‘global electronic prison camp’.


It is encouraging news that Russia is demonstrating its independence in this case as it has in many others, despite the pressure” said the head of the Holy Synod’s Department for Relations between the Church and Society.

Vsevolod Chaplin added that the Snowden saga has been broadly discussed both on the domestic and international level, with Russia’s position potentially bolstering its image as a country upholding “the true freedom of ideals.”

The Russian cleric further argued that Snowden’s revelations confirmed the existence of a pernicious problem discussed by Orthodox Christians for many years – “the prospective of a global electronic-totalitarian prison camp”.

First they get people addicted to convenient means of communication with the authorities, businesses and among each other. In a while people become rigidly connected to these services and as a result the economic and political owners of these services get tremendous and terrifying power. They cannot help feeling the temptation to use this power to control the personality and such control might eventually be much stricter that all known totalitarian systems of the twentieth century,” Interfax news agency quoted Chaplin as saying.

The church official added that in his view true democracy remained an unreachable ideal.

Any political system fixes the domination of a few over many. In the twentieth century the harshest forms of such political power used brute force, but now they are using soft power, through total data collecting and through soft persuasion of people, first through slogans but then through legal acts,” Chaplin explained. He noted that currently the soft power system was promoting such topics as declaring the western political system as the only viable option, making religion a marginal trend, and sidelining both criticism of market fundamentalism and leftist political platforms.

Chaplin urged Russian authorities to defend “real freedom, the freedom from the global ideological dictate and from the electronic prison camp.”

The cleric also offered a possible solution – the development of its own electronic communications system that would be independent from foreign-based mediums. “The nation has the brains for this and I hope we will also have a will,” Chaplin declared.

Russia is currently considering Edward Snowden’s request for temporary asylum and the former NSA contractor still remains in the transit zone of the Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

The Russian Justice Ministry on Tuesday sent a formal response to a letter from US Attorney General, who assured Moscow that Snowden would not face the prospect of death or torture if handed over to the United States.

The Russian ministry did not provide the details of its reply to the press.


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putin-maduroMérida, 2nd July 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Yesterday in Russia the Venezuelan government participated in the second summit of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), and President Nicolas Maduro also held a private meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, signing five new cooperation agreements.

Venezuela is one of 11 member countries of the GECF, which held its second summit on Monday, Moscow time, in the Kremlin Palace. Established in 2001, the GECF is an intergovernmental organisation of some of the world’s leading natural gas producers. The other member countries are Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago. The GECF’s member countries combined control over 70% of the world’s natural gas reserves, 38% of pipeline trade, and 85% of liquefied natural gas production.

At the summit, Maduro proposed the creation of a financial fund or a bank between the gas exporting countries. He argued that the proposal wasn’t just “about building a gas bank, but rather so that our public companies and the most powerful companies of our countries can join together to increase the investments in projects that each country is carrying out”.

He argued that one of the main aims of the summit should be joint work, including exchange of experiences and policies that favour better management of gas. For that, he proposed creating a research institute between the member countries.

Maduro announced that “in approximately one year” Venezuela could be “certified as [having] the fifth [largest] gas reserve in the world”.

In 2009 the Venezuelan government estimated that there are 200 million cubic feet of natural gas along the Venezuelan coastline. Natural gas is heavily subsidised in Venezuela, and while the government has been developing projects to introduce gas run cars, they have yet to be implemented on a mass scale.

The Moscow Declaration coming out of yesterday’s summit, titled “Natural Gas: The answer to the 21st century sustainable development challenges”, declared the forum’s “determination” to strengthen the GECF as a platform for advancing member countries’ position on international gas market issues.

The declaration also wants countries to enhance coordination to protect each other in all areas, including interactions with regulatory authorities of gas consuming countries. Member countries pledged to continue to support gas pricing based on oil products indexation, and to promote the expansion of natural gas utilisation in different forms, including motor fuel and feedstock.

At the first summit in November 2011, the GECF decided that natural gas prices were too low and recognised the “importance of long-term gas contracts to achieve a balanced risk sharing mechanism between producers and consumers”.

Bilateral meeting with Putin

While in Russia Maduro also met with Putin in order to ratify the continuity of their countries’ strategic alliances. The two countries currently cooperate in the areas of energy, defence, agriculture, housing and technology.

“Russia can count on the homeland of Simon Bolivar…we have come to ratify our desire to strengthen this strategic alliance and the close relationship of cooperation between both nations,” Maduro told press after the meeting.

Putin expressed similar sentiments and announced that an important street in Moscow will be named after the late Hugo Chavez “so that he remains in the Russian people’s memory”.

The street was inaugurated today with a ceremony attended by Maduro and the head of Russia’s state owned company, Rosneft, Igor Sechin. It is located in the north east of Moscow, is 170 metres long, and surrounded by parks and a small square.

In further comments on the meeting with Putin, Maduro said, “We’ve held an extensive work meeting with President Putin… we want to continue to tighten the relationship between both countries… Russia and Venezuela are progressing in the energy, petroleum, and gas sectors, as well as with military cooperation and the development of a relationship in the financial, education, and cultural sectors”.

The two countries signed five new agreements, for a total of 240 ongoing agreements, which fall into 14 strategic areas. One new agreement involves creating a joint venture for natural gas production between Venezuela’s PDVSA and Rosneft. The two presidents also discussed opening up a direct flight between Moscow and Caracas, in order to facilitate tourism and trade.

“When we take on the presidency of Mercosur on 12 July, we want the relationship between Russia and the other countries of Mercosur to be strengthened, and …we’d like to make Venezuela a strategic point between Russia and Latin America and the Caribbean,” Maduro also said.

According to Putin, Russian companies are currently investing US$20 billion in Venezuela.

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putin-damascusTEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.

Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria.

Israeli Debkafile’s military sources disclosed that the Russian leader was referring to S-300 anti-air systems and the nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO named SS-26 Stone) surface missiles, which are precise enough to hit a target within a 5-7 meter radius at a distance of 280 kilometers.

In his phone call to Netanyahu, the Russian leader advised the prime minister to make sure to keep this in mind.

Since Syrian air defense teams have already trained in Russia on the handling of the S-300 interceptor batteries, they can go into service as soon as they are landed by one of Russia’s daily airlifts to Syria. Russian air defense officials will supervise their deployment and prepare them for operation.

Moscow is retaliating not just for Israel’s air operations against Syria but in anticipation of the Obama administration’s impending decision to send the first US arms shipments to the Syrian rebels.

Intelligence agencies in Moscow and the Middle-East take it for granted that by the time Washington goes public on this decision, some of the Syrian rebel factions will already be armed with American weapons.

That the measure was in the works was signified by the introduction Monday by chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez of legislation allowing the US to provide arms and military training to the Syrian rebels.

US military instructors have been working with Syrian rebels at training camps in Jordan and Turkey for some months. So putting the arms in their hands only awaited a decision in Washington, the Israeli website alleged.

Putin’s message to Netanyahu was intended to reach a wider audience than Jerusalem, such as Barack Obama in Washington and President Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of Netanyahu’s talks there Tuesday.


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clintonU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has described efforts to promote greater economic integration in Eurasia as “a move to re-Sovietize the region.”

Clinton made the comments while talking to lawyers and civil society advocates who came to attend an international conference in Dublin on December 6.

Clinton pointed to Russian-led efforts like a Customs Union that includes Belarus and Kazakhstan.

“We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it,” she said.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Clinton’s statement “a completely wrong understanding” of the situation.

“What we see on the territory of the ex-Soviet Union is a new type of integration, based solely on economic integration,” Peskov said. “Any other integration is totally impossible in this world.”

In October, Russian President Vladimir Putin authored a newspaper article calling for a more deeply integrated “Eurasian Union.”

“There is no talk of re-forming the U.S.S.R. in some form,” Putin wrote. “It would be naive to restore or copy what has been abandoned in the past but close integration — on the basis of new values, politics, and economy — is the order of the day.”

In Dublin, Clinton also criticized what she called the criminalization of civil-society efforts supported by the United States in countries like Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Turkmenistan.

She said governments in former Soviet countries “are becoming much more aggressive in trying to stifle dissent.”

Clinton said the United States is trying hard to fight efforts to limit or eliminate its assistance for human rights organizations.

But she said Washington has “struck out so far” with Belarus, and she called Ukraine “one of our biggest disappointments.”

Clinton added that there is “no response” from Turkmenistan” on human rights.

The secretary of state also raised concerns about a new Russian law affecting nongovernmental organizations. It went into effect last month and requires NGOs receiving funding from abroad to register themselves as “foreign agents.”

Under the bill, all Russian NGOs funded from abroad and ruled to be involved in politics, or acting in the interests of foreign states and other international donors, will have to carry a “foreign agent” tag and submit to more rigorous checks by the authorities.

Those include financial audits and a requirement to issue twice-yearly reports on their activities. Those who file incomplete reports face fines of up to 1 million rubles ($30,240). Violations of the new measures would be punishable by prison terms of up to four years.

In June, another Russian law went into effect that dramatically raises potential fines for people found guilty of participating in unsanctioned rallies.

Protesters participating in demonstrations that have not been given official approval can be fined up to $9,000.


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