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Archive for the ‘Geopolitics’ Category

Stratfor unveils another spooky story of Russia’s imminent supremacy in Europe

Posted by Kris Roman on June 27, 2009

Ivan Tulyakov
Pravda.Ru

There is no such notion as a former intelligence officer. An intelligence officer always remains an intelligence officer. This notion becomes particularly clear when you read the so-called “analyses” from the US Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting) agency. The agency collects information to look into the future of various regions of the globe. Stratfor’s founding father, George Friedman, is a former professor of geopolitics.

The agency’s products – forecasts and predictions – are especially important for companies involved in global trade. Stratfor does not expose the names of its clients – it only says that it cooperates with both large corporations and private individuals.

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Lavrov: The CIS countries are privileged partners for Russia

Posted by Kris Roman on January 16, 2009

Russia is not looking for spheres of influence in the CIS area, said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking at a press conference in Moscow on January 16, a REGNUM correspondent reports.

According to him, Russia has been developing relations with every country of the post-Soviet territory ready to do it on an equal basis. “They are privileged partners for Russia. The same is true about Russia as it is a privileged partner for them,” stressed Lavrov. Lavrov believes Russia’s relations with the post-Soviet countries are built on long-term traditions of economic and cultural life, as well as on common history. He stressed that striving for co-operation in the post-Soviet area is absolutely objective and natural. “At the same time, CIS countries, as well as Russia, have been conducting a multi-vector policy and it is an absolutely normal process,” believes the minister.

According to him, lasting conflicts and attempts to split the CIS exacerbate the situation in the post-Soviet area. Lavrov reminded that a law on compatriots adopted in 1990s is outdated and needs to be updated. Answering a question about possible appearance of a Card of the Russian or a Card of the Compatriot, Lavrov said that discussions around this question are going on. He reminded about existence of the Card of the Pole and that the Ukrainian leadership also takes steps in this direction. “Here, it is necessary to maintain the balance between the decision of a person to be a part of his culture and consequences of this step,” stressed the minister. “There will be no intervention into the state affairs on this subject, but we want to respond to a decision of people to be associated with their historical motherland,” concluded Lavrov.

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Russian Prophecies

Posted by Kris Roman on September 26, 2008

By Daria Chernyshova

http://www.mnweekly.ru/local/20080606/55332043.html

But the lives of people and the fortune of nations are very different stories. While the fortune of a person is his or her own affair, those of countries, and of the world, are the problems of mankind. Philosophers, astrologers, and fortune-tellers have been giveing advice on these matters through the ages. Yes, people may have different attitudes to prophecies, but regardless of one’s opinions about them, one thing is for sure: they are fascinating.

One historical figure that has come to be synonymous with prophecies is Nostradamus, whose name happens to be one of the most frequently searched on the Internet. His “Centuries” are said to have prophesied the burning and devastation of Moscow in 1571, Napoleon’s defeat in 1812, the victory of communism in Russia and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Russia, Kazakhstan agree on Sept. 1-5 for joint combat drills

Posted by Kris Roman on August 7, 2008

Russia and Kazakhstan will hold joint combat exercises in the Urals area from September 1 through 5, a Russian military official said Thursday.

Consultations between representatives of the Russian and Kazakh defense ministries started Tuesday in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region, the venue of the joint drills, which will be held as part of this year’s bilateral military cooperation program.

“During the consultations we coordinated and entered in the protocol all the issues concerning the joint combat drills by the Russian and Kazakh armed forces. The exercises will be held from September 1 till 5, 2008, in the Volga-Urals Military District,” said Lieutenant General Valery Yevnevich, deputy commander of the Ground Forces.

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The Caucasian conflict in the context of world politics

Posted by Kris Roman on August 5, 2008

Fyodor Lukyanov for RIA Novosti

South Ossetia is once again on the brink of war. Alarming reports are coming from Abkhazia, and Russian-Georgian relations continue to be tense.

Why have these two unresolved conflicts on Georgian territory grown so markedly worse? Their indefinite status is by definition volatile, and sometimes a minor event can turn a frozen conflict into a hot one. In this case, however, we are seeing a major change that reflects a fundamental process.

Kosovo’s unilateral proclamation of independence from Serbia last February played a key role in these developments. There may be endless disputes over whether this has created a legal precedent or not, but realpolitik takes its course regardless.

Moscow and quite a few other capitals considered the move a serious step toward the degradation of international law and the triumph of arbitrary approaches to the resolution of global problems.

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Turning Qaddafi into a good guy

Posted by Kris Roman on August 3, 2008

RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin
http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20080801/115487956.html

It was a surprise the like of which we have not seen since the exchange of dissidents for spies in the Soviet era.

Arriving in Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin on July 31, Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi brought on his plane Alexander Tsygankov, the head of LUKoil Overseas in Libya, who had been imprisoned 8 months ago in that country on charges of industrial espionage.

What makes it more remarkable is that Prime Minister Putin had tried to clear up this misunderstanding during a meeting with Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli in April, but apparently in vain.

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Korean War: a prelude to today’s conflicts

Posted by Kris Roman on August 3, 2008

RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik

The Korean War armistice agreement was signed on July 27, 1953. The armistice has lasted for 55 years. The two sides have not signed a peace treaty, and the peninsula is still divided in two by the demarcation line, which is probably the only surviving monument to the Cold War.

The catalyst leading to the Korean War occurred in the summer of 1945, when Soviet and American troops arrived in Korea, which at that time was fully occupied by Japan. The peninsula was divided in two at the 38th parallel. South of this line the Japanese surrendered to the Americans, and north of it, to the Red Army.

The Soviet-American treaty signed in December 1945 provided for Korea’s temporary administration. It was assumed that the country would remain divided only until the formation of a new government. But the start of the Cold War thwarted this plan. Both Koreas formed their own governments in their respective halves – communist in North Korea under the leadership of Kim Il-sung and anti-communist in the south headed by Syngman Rhee.

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Russia could place bombers in Latin America, N.Africa

Posted by Kris Roman on August 3, 2008

Russian strategic bombers may soon be deployed at airbases in Cuba, Venezuela and Algeria as a response to the U.S. missile shield in Europe and NATO’s expansion, Russian daily Izvestia said on Thursday.

Moscow has strongly opposed the possible deployment by the U.S. of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and an accompanying tracking radar in the Czech Republic as a threat to its national security. Washington says the defenses are needed to deter a possible strike from Iran, or other “rogue” states.

Moscow has also expressed concern over NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders and pledged to take “appropriate measures” to counter the U.S. and NATO moves.

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Russia’s new Great Game

Posted by Kris Roman on July 29, 2008

Employing strategies redolent of a new Great Game, Russia has stepped up its diplomatic and trade activities in the Middle East and North Africa in a bid to enhance its geopolitical clout and gain access to, and at least partial control over, the region’s oil and gas reserves.

Among the former global superpower’s tactics: linking arms deals and debt-forgiveness to energy deals.

The strategy has been most apparent in former client states of the Soviet Union including Libya, Iraq and Syria, although by no means limited to such countries. Moreover, Moscow has not shied away from courting the authoritarian regimes of countries such as Iran, Syria and Libya that are or have been shunned by the US and other western governments.
Russia is among the world’s biggest holders of oil and gas reserves, and is also a top global producer and exporter of both commodities, yet some of its biggest oil and gas producers have been seeking, with government backing, to expand their operations abroad.

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Other countries’ security at Russia’s expense?

Posted by Kris Roman on July 20, 2008

Yevgeny Kozhokin for RIA Novosti

Analysts started discussing Moscow’s future relations with other countries, after President Dmitry Medvedev approved the Russian foreign policy concept which only addresses the most important long-term issues, while issues of current politics should be tackled separately.

It appears that the concept sets forth clear long-term guidelines with regard to other former Soviet republics, emphasizing the fact that Russia has not renounced the idea of post-Soviet integration. It sets out three main objectives that must be accomplished in this respect.

First, the concept recognizes the importance of the Russia-Belarus Union State focusing on real economic development, the introduction of market-economy principles and the creation of a common economic space.

Second, the document attaches priority to the Eurasian Economic Community and its main driving force, collectively, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It also says that the Eurasian Economic Community could become an effective mechanism for implementing ambitious projects such as hydropower plant construction, transportation infrastructure, and other large-scale projects.

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Russia takes a double hit

Posted by Kris Roman on July 18, 2008

http://www.stratfor.com

Tuesday was not the best of days for the Russians. Not only did the Serbian parliament usher in a new government — the most stable and pro-Western alignment the country has had since World War I — but also the United States and the Czech Republic signed a deal to install an X-band radar on Czech soil as part of an American ballistic missile defense (BMD) system.

Serbia, as a Slavic state surrounded by foes, has been a bastion of Russian influence for years. All of Serbia’s neighbors are now EU members, applicants or protectorates. And the change in Belgrade makes it likely that Serbia will firmly fall into the West and Russia will lose its last willing ally in Europe.

Serbia is surrounded by Europe, so the only means Moscow can use to seriously draw the country back into the Russian fold is to use lots of cold hard cash. The Russians may not even be too concerned about Serbia’s new government. In fact, the political shift could translate into good business for Russian investors if, through a western-oriented Serbia, they have access to the European Union. But business is hardly a substitute for the geopolitical influence that Russia previously enjoyed.

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Geopolitical Diary: NATO Hands Russia a Small Victory

Posted by Kris Roman on May 17, 2008

At its summit in Bucharest, NATO decided not to move Ukraine and Georgia into the Membership Action Plan, telling the two states that at sometime in the future they would get their invitations to membership, but just not now. Instead, NATO focused its membership drive on the Balkans, offering invitations to Albania and Croatia, a delayed invitation to Macedonia (effective once the name issue is sorted out with Greece) and offering intensified dialogue plans to Montenegro and Bosnia (and saying it would be willing to offer similar status to Serbia should the latter chose to apply).

Leading up to the summit, there was a great deal of attention focused on the issue of Ukraine and Georgia — and the showdown between the United States and Russia being fought in the halls and meeting rooms in Bucharest. Washington backed membership invitations to Kiev and Tbilisi. Russia adamantly opposed (but had no say in the decision). And ultimately Germany and France cast the deciding votes for delay. This was a small victory for Russia, which has seen its periphery eaten away since the collapse of the Soviet Union and has its eyes (and strategic position) set on returning influence to its former republics.

But despite U.S. President George W. Bush’s highly public visit to Kiev on his way to the Bucharest summit, Washington knew that a NATO consensus on Ukraine and Georgia was unlikely. The attention paid, instead, was designed to keep the pressure up on Russia — to discourage the former Cold War opponent from attempting a serious challenge to U.S. power and a return to the Cold War status quo. While Moscow breathed a sigh of relief with the ultimate NATO decision on its two former republics, it is a small victory for Russia. And Moscow made it a point to emphasize the breakaway regions in Georgia and the split population in Ukraine to remind NATO and the United States that the Russians still had leverage should NATO ever issue those invitations.

In its focus on Ukraine and Georgia, Russia failed to discourage NATO’s support of U.S. missile defense plans in Eastern Europe, something Moscow has strongly opposed as well. But perhaps more significant in the near term is NATO’s focus on the Balkans. Europe hasn’t had a very stellar track record when it comes to dealing with the volatile region, and is now using NATO as a tool to strengthen influence and political development in the region.

The new and tentative membership invitations bring nearly all of the area -– aside from Serbia and Kosovo (and NATO said it has no intention of withdrawing its existing force from Kosovo) –- under the NATO umbrella, freeing Europe from sole responsibility for security issues. It also leaves Serbia surrounded, and highlights Russia’s inability to make good on its unspoken warnings should Kosovo declare independence. Offering Serbia intensified dialogue was, perhaps, simply rubbing salt into the wound of Russian inaction.

While Russia may claim victory in keeping NATO out of Ukraine and Georgia for now, the support for missile defense and the whole-scale move into the Balkans was a clear demonstration of NATO’s challenge to Russia’s claims to influence and power. Russia could not stop the missile defense plan, and its warnings on Kosovo independence have gone unheeded (and unfulfilled). While Germany and France blocked Ukraine and Georgian membership in order to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia and protect their supplies of natural gas, the other key initiatives were no less a challenge to Russia’s resurgence –- and at minimal cost.

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NATO hands Rusia a small victory

Posted by Kris Roman on April 4, 2008

At its summit in Bucharest, NATO decided not to move Ukraine and Georgia into the Membership Action Plan, telling the two states that at sometime in the future they would get their invitations to membership, but just not now. Instead, NATO focused its membership drive on the Balkans, offering invitations to Albania and Croatia, a delayed invitation to Macedonia (effective once the name issue is sorted out with Greece) and offering intensified dialogue plans to Montenegro and Bosnia (and saying it would be willing to offer similar status to Serbia should the latter chose to apply).

Leading up to the summit, there was a great deal of attention focused on the issue of Ukraine and Georgia — and the showdown between the United States and Russia being fought in the halls and meeting rooms in Bucharest. Washington backed membership invitations to Kiev and Tbilisi. Russia adamantly opposed (but had no say in the decision). And ultimately Germany and France cast the deciding votes for delay. This was a small victory for Russia, which has seen its periphery eaten away since the collapse of the Soviet Union and has its eyes (and strategic position) set on returning influence to its former republics.

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