Archive for the ‘Medvedev’ Category

Oil as Weapon: Russia Again Threatens Europe

May 22, 2009

Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, has attacked the European Union for seeking to forge closer relations with former Soviet states.

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
Telegraph, London

A summit between the EU and Russia designed to promote closer ties failed to disguise a widening rift. Divisions over a new EU partnership with six ex-Soviet states is complicating a drive by Barack Obama, the US president, to seek reconciliation with Moscow.

Highlighting the most visible area of discord, Mr Medvedev claimed it was anti-Russian in its makeup. “We tried to convince ourselves that it was otherwise but in the end we couldn’t,” he said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, stand with World War II veterans during the annual Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, stand with World War II veterans during the annual Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square.
Mikhail Klimentyev / RIA-Novosti / AP

The EU held its first summit with Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan, the six members of the Eastern Partnership, earlier this month. The project meant to provide aid and support to boost to ex-Soviet nations on Europe’s periphery.

But the partnership has been denounced in Moscow as a contravention of the “Medvedev Doctrine”, laid out by the president last year, which claims that Russia has privileged interests in all former Soviet states.

Jose Manuel Barosso, the president of the European Commission, sought to alleviate Mr Medvedev’s concerns by inviting Russia to participate in the partnership, but the offer is likely to be rebuffed.

Mr Medvedev also gave warning of the possibility of a new European gas crisis by claiming that Ukraine may be unable to meet its payments for Russian energy.

Millions of Europeans were left without heating in January after Moscow cut off gas to Ukraine, which acts as a conduit for 80 per cent of Russian supplies bound for the EU, over a politically-tinged payment dispute.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/
europe/russia/5367537/Russia-threatens-E
U-with-new-gas-crisis-for-links-to-eastern-s
tates.html

Related:
Russia could deploy missiles near Poland
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China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices
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Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

Russia could deploy missiles near Poland

May 21, 2009

Russia could deploy its latest Iskander missiles close to Poland if plans to install U.S. Patriots on Polish soil go ahead, Interfax quoted a senior Russian officer as saying on Thursday.

Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski told Reuters on Monday Warsaw wanted U.S. Patriot air defense missiles to be deployed this year regardless of whether President Barack Obama decided to press ahead with missile defense plans in Europe.

Reuters


Russian Iskander

Moscow strongly opposes the missile shield proposed by Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush, which aims to place a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Russia says the shield is a threat to its security.

“Patriot systems, if they are deployed, will cover future work on installing a unit of the U.S. strategic air defense system with interceptor missiles in Poland,” Interfax news agency quoted an unidentified member of Russia’s general staff as saying.

He said Russia had proposed as a counter-measure “to deploy the tactical Iskander missile in the Kaliningrad region,” which borders NATO member Poland, in response to deployment of the U.S. missile shield, Interfax reported.

“One cannot exclude that the issue of the Iskander will arise again,” he added.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged last November to station surface-to-surface Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the United States went ahead with its plans.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090521
/wl_nm/us_russia_missiles_1

Obama Told Missile Defense in Europe Not Needed: Iran Years Away from Having Missiles

May 19, 2009

The story below and the report referred to are likely to create a political fire-storm as the Russians have long stated an intention of pressuring Obama to kill the missile defense planned for Europe…..

Related:
Obama Silently Caves in To Russia
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For Stopping Iran, “It’s late in the game”

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By Joby Warrick and R. Jeffrey Smith
The Washington Post
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A planned U.S. missile shield to protect Europe from a possible Iranian attack would be ineffective against the kinds of missiles Iran is likely to deploy, according to a joint analysis by top U.S. and Russian scientists.

The U.S.-Russian team also judged that it would be more than five years before Iran is capable of building both a nuclear warhead and a missile capable of carrying it over long distances. And if Iran attempted such an attack, the experts say, it would ensure its own destruction.

“The missile threat from Iran to Europe is thus not imminent,” the 12-member technical panel concludes in a report produced by the EastWest Institute, an independent think tank based in Moscow, New York and Belgium.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/05/18/AR200
9051803055.html?hpid=topnews

Ready for a Fight: Russia’s New Security Policy

May 16, 2009

Diminishing supplies of oil and natural gas will push countries into violent competition, the Kremlin predicted in a long-awaited national security strategy paper released this week. The document foresees these struggles playing out in the Arctic as well as the Middle East, the Barents Sea, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia — and states that Russia is prepared to fight for its share of the world’s resources.

By John Wendle
Time Magazine

“In the face of competition for resources, the use of military force to solve emerging problems cannot be excluded,” reads the strategy paper, which was signed by President Dmitri Medvedev on Wednesday. It adds: “This could destroy the balance of forces on the borders of Russia and those of its allies.” The paper also addresses the future of NATO and nuclear proliferation, as well as domestic social issues.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, stand with World War II veterans during the annual Victory Day parade on Moscow's Red Square.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, stand with World War II veterans during the annual Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square.
Mikhail Klimentyev / RIA-Novosti / AP

Although it vividly outlines the worsened relations between Russia and the West, the anti-Western rhetoric is tempered with acknowledgment of the beginning of rapprochement with the Obama Administration. “Now there is a viewpoint in the Kremlin that the U.S. can be worked with,” says Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, an independent think tank. “Russia has come out and specifically formulated its foreign and defense policy. However, this paper is not setting out how policy will look; it is setting out the de facto situation.”

The paper was ordered up by Medvedev last August, after Russia’s brief war with Georgia made it clear that a new security policy would need to be drawn up to replace the one set out in 2000, which focused more on playing up Russia’s role in the war on terror while it was fighting a war in Chechnya. The updated paper is meant to be a guide for policy development and implementation until 2020.

Read the rest:
http://www.time.com/time/world/articl
e/0,8599,1899066,00.html?xid=rss-world

Related:
Battles over energy may lead to wars, Russian strategists conclude
.
China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices
.
Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

Russia: Human Rights, Democracy Only On The Mythical Level

April 20, 2009

If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny to read Russia’s President Medvedev’s recent interview with Novaya Gazeta, in which he said, “Democracy [in Russia] existed, exists, and will exist.”

Human rights still appear to be a luxury in Russia. Recently, Lev Ponomaryov, director of the Moscow-based Organization For Human Rights, and a leader in the new political opposition movement Solidarity, was reportedly beaten by a group of men outside his home . Stanislav Markelov, whom the Wall Street Journal called one of Russia’s top human rights lawyers, was murdered in late January, as was Anastasia Baburova, a 25-year-old freelancer for Novaya Gazeta, which, according to the New Zealand Herald, is the last major publication critical of the Kremlin. Novaya Gazeta also lost three other journalists in the last decade– Anna Politkovskaya, Yuri Shchekochikhin, and Igor Domnikov.

By Anna Borshchevskaya
The Washington Post

When I read about a journalist or a human rights activist hurt or killed because of their work, it hits a little too close to home. My father, who never joined the Communist Party, was a journalist at the Ostankino radio tower in Moscow until the end of 1993, when, after several years of trying to get permission to leave the country, my family and I immigrated to the U.S. with refugee status. I grew up knowing that certain opinions I heard at home were those of the minority and repeating them outside our apartment was not a good idea.

Several analysts have observed that Medvedev’s recent interview with Novaya Gazeta, in addition to meeting with human rights activists in the Kremlin and hosting a new human rights council, is little to celebrate. Radio Free Liberty/Radio Europe reported that Vladimir Bukovsky, a prominent Soviet-era dissident, said, “Experts are already telling us that Medvedev is for liberal reform and Putin is the bad guy. This is how politics is played here. Now everybody is placing their hopes in Medvedev. If something bad happens they say it is Putin’s fault. If something good happens, Medvedev gets credit. It is an old game that I have been watching for 40 years, and it is a game that I have grown tired of.”

The problem runs very deep in Russian culture, stemming back centuries with only one person in charge. It is one dilemma that will not be resolved for a very long time. Shortly after our arrival to the U.S., my parents attended several job search skills seminars for recently arrived immigrants. In one of these sessions, the issue of employee rights and how they are treated in the workplace came up. My parents were surprised to discover how much respect for individual employees was emphasized–the idea was so new and foreign.

When I spent a week in Moscow this past March, a journalist, and a friend of my father, told me that I’m lucky because I can say what I think, implying that is still not possible in Russia – at least not without the fear of persecution that could potentially follow. He proceeded to explain how Pushkin would veil certain criticisms of the czar in his poetry, since it was not possible to do so outright.

It is true–a publication like Novaya Gazeta could not have existed during the Soviet era. But the Russian government mainly allows it to exist because it serves certain purposes, such as creating an appearance of free press. In a country that was built, after its last czar was killed, on the idea that everything was “for the person, by the person, and in the name of the person,” as one Soviet slogan went, it seems everything still is indeed “for the person”– the same person whom, according to a Soviet-era joke, one man from rural Russia saw for the first time when he went to the Red Square.

Russia Rearms

April 19, 2009

Russia’s leaders are getting used to cutting budgets this year. As the country sinks deeper into recession — unemployment, according to some estimates, is as high as 12% and the economy is predicted to shrink by about 4.5% in 2009 — the government is slashing spending at most of its ministries. The Energy Ministry’s budget is down by 33%, and that of the Transport Ministry by 30%. But there is one hugely expensive project on which President Dmitri Medvedev has vowed to actually increase spending: transforming Russia’s creaking Soviet-era defense industry into a modern technological power, and turning the 1.1-million-man Russian army into a leaner but more effective fighting force.
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To get there Medvedev has increased government military spending this year by nearly 26% to about $37 billion, and given military producers of strategic weapons like missile systems and aircraft an extra $1.9 billion in 2009. In late March, just days before flying to the G-20 summit in London, the President donned a military pilot’s helmet and uniform at an air base near Moscow for a ride in the back of a Sukhoi-34 fighter bomber, one of Russia’s most sophisticated and deadly pieces of hardware. Afterwards he told reporters that it was time to modernize the country’s entire air-force fleet. “We have the momentum and people who want to serve their country,” he said. “Much is yet to be done.”

Read the rest from Time Magazine:
http://www.time.com/time/magazin
e/article/0,9171,1891681,00.html?
xid=rss-topstories


Russia’s Medvedev

Sukhoi-34 fighter bomber