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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vlad the Prevailer: Putin gives his side of the Georgian/S. Ossetia Story

Vlad the Prevailer?
Vlad the Prevailer?

Here's a YouTube of Vald Putin's interview with German Channel ARD. With English sub-titles

I found a Russian transcript HERE

I the used Google Translations to get to an English Transcript of the interview HERE

V. PUTIN: I just want to point out that we have not created this situation.

And now about the credibility of Russia. I am sure that the credibility of any country that can protect the lives and dignity of its citizens, a country which is able to pursue an independent foreign policy, the credibility of this country's long-term, medium term the world will only grow.

Conversely, the credibility of those countries which have a rule for foreign policy to serve the interests of other states, ignoring their own national interests, regardless of how they explain, will decline.

You are still not answered the question: why have you gone to the risk of isolating your country?

I thought I replied. But if it requires further clarification, I will do.

Full 27 minute interview with English subtitles:

See also:
Media, Georgia, NATO, Russia and The FRENCH! . . . Oh, and Israel!


Russia Is One of 10 Biggest Creditors of the U.S.
Russia ranks the eighth in the list of the U.S. creditors, according to Finance magazine.

The Russian Federation share in the U.S. state debt was 2.5 percent ($65.3 billion) as of June 30, 2008.

Japan ($583 billion) and China ($503 billion, less the debt to Hong Kong and Macao) are the key creditors for the United States, accounting for over 40 percent of the state debt on aggregate.

What’s more, the debt to China goes up by 25 percent a year.

Other major creditors of the United States are
  • Britain,
  • Luxembourg,
  • Hong Kong,
  • Switzerland,
  • states of Caribbean offshore zone and the oil-exporting states, including Venezuela,
  • the United Arab Emirates,
  • Ecuador,
  • Iran,
  • Iraq,
  • Kuwait,
  • Oman
  • and others.

Here's a curious headline

EU officials express surprise over Russia sanctions

a casual observer might think the EU were surprised that RUSSIA was considering sanctions.

It appears to me that the headline is phrased to make it seem, to the casual observe, that Russia is the one proposing sanctions.

They would of course be wrong. It is the EU that is driving the debate on sanctions, as the rest of the story makes clear:

The European Union is considering sanctions against Russia as punishment for refusing to withdraw its troops from Georgia and for recognising the two breakaway enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The first hint that the EU might impose sanctions was made by Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister, during a press conference ahead of the planned summit on Georgia on Monday.

The reason the wiley Headline composer got away with their slightly deceptive headline, is because EU-heads seem 'surprised' that the always scrupulously impartial Mr Kouchner is the one proposing the sanctions:

Some EU officials were surprised that Mr Kouchner had raised the subject in public, knowing that it was going to be difficult to reach any form of consensus.

While some EU members are thought to be pushing for sanctions, it is a fact that the partnership and co-operation arrangements between the Europeans and Russia are of mutual benefit and both sides will be punished if sanctions are approved by the summit leaders.

Meanwhile Lord Patel has some interesting comments on the travels and travails of Mr Vlad Putin:
Mr Putin visits that nice Mr Karimov for a chat about this and that and oil and gas and pipelines
Vagit Alekperov called to tell us of his trip alongside Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, to Uzbekistan yesterday. They were met personally at the start of their 2 day visit yesterday at Tashkent International Airport by "boil in bag" Islam Karimov himself.

Russia, Uzbekistan agree on Uzbekistani gas pricing European formula

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who is visiting Sep 2 Uzbekistan has announced following talks with Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov that Moscow and Tashkent have agreed on the formula of pricing of Uzbekistani natural gas purchased by Russia. According to Putin, the formula is going to be the one used in Europe.

Uzbekistan produces 60 billion of cubic meters of natural gas annually, of which 7-8 billion are sold to Gazprom. In the first half of 2008, Russia was paying Uzbekistan $130 per 1,000 cubic meters, and is paying $160 in the second half.

See Also:
Pipeline Time: Pipeline Politics and Oil Imperium from Azerbaijan, to Ashkelon and Mogadishu

Map of Pipelines in teh Russia, Stupid!™
Piplines in teh Russia, Stupid!™

Bloomberg reports that “In the 2 1/2 years since Mikhail Khodorkovsky, then Yukos chief executive officer, was arrested on fraud charges, President Vladimir Putin’s government has used assets from Yukos to help turn Rosneft and OAO Gazprom into challengers to BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. Rosneft and Gazprom have given Putin, 53, control of 60 percent of Russia’s energy industry, the world’s biggest.”

Considering the degree of U.S. and European investment in Yukos, if it had happened in any other country, then the government would surely have been pilloried, maybe even forcibly removed. The Pootster gets to hold a G8 summit. He’s obviously being a good enough boy – which may be where Abkhazia comes in. Perhaps at the G8 Summit it was suggested that Russia agree to withdraw from the Caucasus in exchange for the evisceration of foreign energy interests in Russia proper?

Then again, is he stupid enough to loosen all influence over the pipeline region just to avoid a few editorials in the financial press? I doubt it. The Caucasus remains an Achilles Heel of the Oil Imperium.

Russia faces new Caucasus uprising in Ingushetia

But it is Ingushetia, where the population has long been at odds with its Ossetian neighbours, that is prompting the greatest concern among observers and western diplomats.

Russian opposition newspapers have claimed that up to 1,200 Ingush police officers have resigned their jobs in protest at the war in South Ossetia, creating a power vacuum that could allow the insurgency to flourish.

Anger has particularly grown since Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, recognised the independence of South Ossetia last week. Many Ingush fear that could lead to the unification of South Ossetia, which lies in Georgia, and North Ossetia, which lies in Russia.

Ingushetia and North Ossetia fought a brief war in 1992, which claimed some 600 lives, over control of a slither of territory called Prigorodny which had come under Ossetian occupation after Stalin deported the entire Ingush population in 1944.

Regional experts say that a desire for separatism is now spreading from radical insurgents to Ingushetia's more moderate underground opposition.

Mr Yevloyev's death could act as a catalyst for opposition against regional head Murat Zyazikov, a former KGB officer and close ally of Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister.

The journalist, who was also one of Ingushetia's best known opposition figures, was arrested at an airport near the Ingush capital Nazran. Shortly after his detention, his body, bearing a single bullet wound to the temple, was thrown out of a police car.

Ingush officials passed off the death as an accident, but the angry reaction from opposition activists suggested not all believed that - especially as Mr Zyazikov had been on the same flight as the dead journalist.

Map showing Ingushetia
Map showing IngushetiaMap showing Ingushetia

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