Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, India, Russia

G20. Roma. Cina, Russia ed India non vogliono abbandonare il carbone.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-10-22.

Buco nell'acqua. Lago Berryessa. California. 001

Buco nell’acqua.


Il G20 è la periodica riunione dei venti stati economicamente più progrediti a livello mondiale.

La riunione che si terrà dal 30 al 31 ottobre a Roma non verterà però sui problemi economici mondiali, come la stagflazione e la crisi del debito pubblico.

Tutto il programma è centrato sull’abbandono del carbone quale fonte energetica.

Ma sembrerebbe essere verosimile che sia un grandioso buco nell’acqua.

Cina, Russia ed India non intendono minimamente abbandonare il carbone quale fonte energetica.

Né Mr Xi né Mr Putin saranno presenti.

* * * * * * *

«Rome G20 precedes UN ‘COP 26’ climate meeting in Scotland»

«Phasing out coal a big hurdle ahead of Rome Oct. 30-31 meeting»

«Chinese, Russian leaders unlikely to be in Rome»

«The Group of 20 rich countries are divided over phasing out coal and committing to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as they prepare for a crucial summit in Rome next week»

«The need to curb emissions will be high on the agenda of the Rome G20 gathering on Oct. 30-31, seen as a key stepping stone immediately ahead of broader United Nations climate talks, called COP 26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland»

«So far big polluters such as China and India have dug in their heels and little progress has been made»

«the problem is in the commitment to 1.5 degrees and in the phase out of coal and fossil fuels by China, India and Russia»

«They also failed to reach unanimous agreement on fixing dates to end fossil fuel subsidies, halt international financing of coal projects and phase out coal power altogether»

«→→ At least four G20 leaders are not expected to come to Rome, including China’s Xi Jinping, at the helm of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, head of the largest energy producer ←←»

«→→ Neither Russia, China nor India have committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 ←←»

«→→ So far China is proving most reluctant to commit to the 1.5 degree ceiling, while India is most intransigent in not pledging net zero emissions by 2050 ←←»

* * * * * * *

Senza un accordo con Cina, Russia ed India, sarà una riunione utile solo a sancire la morte del ‘clima’, sempre poi che sia mai esistito.

* * * * * * *


G20 split over coal, 1.5 degree climate limit ahead of Rome summit – sources.

– Rome G20 precedes UN ‘COP 26’ climate meeting in Scotland

– Phasing out coal a big hurdle ahead of Rome Oct. 30-31 meeting

– Progress seen unlikely before sherpas meet next week

– Chinese, Russian leaders unlikely to be in Rome

*

Rome, Oct 21 (Reuters) – The Group of 20 rich countries are divided over phasing out coal and committing to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius as they prepare for a crucial summit in Rome next week, sources familiar with the negotiations said.

The need to curb emissions will be high on the agenda of the Rome G20 gathering on Oct. 30-31, seen as a key stepping stone immediately ahead of broader United Nations climate talks, called COP 26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland.

So far big polluters such as China and India have dug in their heels and little progress has been made since G20 energy and environment ministers met in Naples in July, said three sources, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the talks.

“Countries are not moving, at the moment they are still just making sure their positions are heard loud and clear,” said one of the sources.

However he added that such intransigence was normal at this stage and any concessions were unlikely to come before G20 climate sherpas meet face-to-face next Thursday and Friday, immediately before their leaders’ weekend meeting.

“Where I see the problem is in the commitment to 1.5 degrees and in the phase out of coal and fossil fuels by China, India and Russia,” said another source, a G20 minister.

In Naples, energy and environment ministers recognised the desirability of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees but fell short of a clear commitment to achieve the goal.

They also failed to reach unanimous agreement on fixing dates to end fossil fuel subsidies, halt international financing of coal projects and phase out coal power altogether, asking leaders to bridge the gaps at the upcoming Rome summit.

                         BIG-HITTERS STAY HOME.

At least four G20 leaders are not expected to come to Rome, including China’s Xi Jinping, at the helm of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, head of the largest energy producer.

One source said while such absences were “not a great political signal,” they would not necessarily prevent progress.

Neither Russia, China nor India have committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, considered a vital goal in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

So far China is proving most reluctant to commit to the 1.5 degree ceiling, while India is most intransigent in not pledging net zero emissions by 2050, one of the sources said.

China and India are also among a group of countries that have not yet presented new national plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of COP 26, on how they will help curb climate change.

The COP26 president, Britain’s Alok Sharma, said in a speech this month the G20, which accounts for 80% of global emissions, would be “make, or break” for achieving success in Glasgow.

However, one of the sources said breakthroughs were more likely in Glasgow than in Rome.

Big emitters like China, India and Russia tend to feel pressured and hectored by the Western countries at the G20, he said, making them defensive and reluctant to concede ground.

The much larger UN forum was more “neutral” and conducive to compromise, he said.

The Rome G20 will also focus on the coronavirus pandemic and how to foster global economic recovery, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who will chair the meeting, said on Wednesday.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Africa, Russia

Russia. Putin sta penetrando militarmente l’Africa, scacciandone americani e francesi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-09-15.

Putin Vladimir 012

Mr Putin sta tessendo tutta una serie di accordi militari strategici bilaterali con tutti quegli stati africani che più non tollerano l’ossessione americana di voler imporre la visione liberal dei così detti ‘human rights’ quale elemento propedeutico ad aiuti ed accordi.

Come suo solito, e con rara maestria, Mr Putin sfrutta tutti gli errori degli occidentali e di Joe Biden per scalzarli politicamente, economicamente e militarmente.

Se è vero che al momento attuale l’Africa sia misera, sarebbe altrettanto vero considerare le sue ricchezze minerarie e come sarà nel corso di una generazione.

Domani, invece, pubblicheremo lo sfregio che Mr Putin ha fatto a Mr Macron.

* * * * * * *

«Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance»

«In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations»

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa»

* * *

«Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent»

«From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years»

«→→ Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships ←←»

«Russia was not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa»

«Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent»

«Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020»

«Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic»

«A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders»

«U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government»

«Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces»

«This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray»

«Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”»

«Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray»

«Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers»

* * *

«The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops»

«the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency»

«France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence»

«Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali»

«when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army»

«Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible»

* * * * * * *

Gli occidentali stanno pagando a duro prezzo la pulsione coatta dei liberal di voler imporre la loro ideologia.

Gli africani proprio non ne vogliono sapere e sono arcistufi degli americani che salgono in cattedra ed impartiscono loro lezioni: vogliono essere sé stessi, senza condizionamenti. Questo è il motivo della felice penetrazione nel continente di Russia e Cina.

*


Russia is building its military influence in Africa, challenging U.S. and French dominance.

– In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

– The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence.

– France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa.

*

Russia is challenging the status quo in Africa, using insecurity and diplomatic disputes with Western powers as a springboard to expand its presence on the continent.

From Libya to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Mali, Moscow has been building key strategic military alliances and an increasingly favorable public profile across Africa in recent years. 

Central to this effort is offering alternatives to countries that have grown disgruntled with Western diplomatic partnerships.

The second Russia-Africa Summit is scheduled for 2022. At the inaugural summit in Sochi in 2019, President Vladimir Putin vowed that Russia was “not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa.”

Via the U.N., Russia has also provided aid in the form food and medical assistance alongside its growing commercial, economic and military support across the continent.

                         Russia’s bilateral push.

In the past two months alone, Russia has signed military cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ethiopia, Africa’s two most populous nations.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates that Africa accounted for 18% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020.

Russian mercenaries have also provided direct assistance to governments in Libya and the Central African Republic, according to the U.N. However, the Kremlin has denied links to the Wagner Group, a paramilitary organization alleged by the U.N. to be aiding human rights abuses in the region.

“A group of Russian instructors was sent to the CAR at the request of its leaders and with the knowledge of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on the CAR established by Resolution 2127,” a Russian foreign ministry statement said in July. “Indicatively, none of them has taken part in combat operations.”

Reuters reported in July that U.S. lawmakers had stalled a planned $1 billion weapons sale to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses by the government.  

Less than a month later, Russia signed a deal with President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to supply military equipment, training and technology to Nigerian forces.

Although historically a key diplomatic and trade partner of the U.S., Buhari’s government found itself at odds with Washington amid the #EndSARS protests in 2020, and again after a recent fallout with Twitter.

Meanwhile, Islamist militant groups such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province have cotinued to wreak havoc in the northeast of the country. 

This confluence of factors paving the way for Russian influence-building was also at play in Ethiopia. Russia has provided support for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government after Western governments balked at his forces’ military response to an insurgency in northern Tigray. 

Ethiopia felt the U.S. in particular was aligning with Egypt in the ongoing dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken further evoked the ire of Addis Ababa in March by accusing forces in Tigray of “ethnic cleansing.” 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov then met with Ethiopian counterpart Demeke Mekonnen in June. Moscow proceeded with the deployment of election observers to Ethiopia, whereas the EU withdrew its observers, citing “ongoing violence across the country, human rights violations and political tensions, harassment of media workers and detained opposition members.”

Russia has supplied strategic weapons both as a potential defense against any Egyptian strike on the GERD and to aid government forces in Tigray. 

“Gains by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF), which has captured parts of the Afar and Amhara regions in recent weeks, make the provision of desperately needed weapons all the more important for Addis Ababa, and Moscow is likely to oblige to such a request, possibly on a buy-now-pay-later basis,” said Louw Nel, senior political analyst at NKC African Economics.  

In what Nel flagged as a “sign of things to come,” Ethiopia and Russia signed a military cooperation agreement in July, focused specifically on knowledge and technology transfers. However, Nel noted that Ethiopia will be “wary of allowing Russian personnel to be deployed there in anything other than a training capacity.” 

Russia’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

                         U.S. ‘creeping build-up’. 

The U.S. has pledged to reignite its economic and commercial engagements in Africa, but a planned drawback of troops is giving way to extensive spending on operational bases and longer-term plans to sustain a strategic presence, according to a recent report from risk intelligence firm Pangea-Risk. 

In 2018, then-U.S. national security advisor John Bolton singled out Russia’s expansionist “influence across Africa,” and Washington has been keen to retain a foothold on the continent.

The Biden administration is set to maintain the U.S. military’s 27 operational outposts on the continent, while the country’s Africa Command (Africom) is prioritizing counter-terrorism objectives in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions.

The U.S. is also establishing a presence in other strategically important regions, such as the Red Sea and the Gulf of Guinea. Some $330 million is reportedly being spent by 2025 on U.S. military base construction and related infrastructure projects, while Africom is drawing up a 20-year strategic plan. 

This will focus on counterterrorism, special forces operations and humanitarian support, along with safeguarding U.S. commercial interests in the face of growing Chinese and Russian presence. 

The report noted that Cape Verdean authorities have since July 2020 agreed a Status of Forces Agreement with the U.S. military to allow U.S. troops to operate from its archipelago. 

“Such an agreement makes sense given global geo-political competition in the West African region and the need to counter the growing risk of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, both of which pose an existential threat to U.S. commercial interests,” Pangea-Risk CEO Robert Besseling said. 

“However, the one-year-old SOFA with Cape Verde raises questions over broader U.S. diplomatic and judicial engagements in the country, and whether this sets a pattern for U.S.–Africa relations going forward.” 

International Crisis Group Africa Program Director Comfort Ero, has said the “creeping build-up” of U.S. military on the continent was accompanied by mixed messaging, accusing both the U.S. and African governments of a lack of transparency. 

The U.S. is likely to phase out its direct military presence in insecurity hotspots, but continues to seek SOFA deals with countries of strategic importance, Pangea-Risk said, adding that Washington will be reluctant to withdraw entirely due to Chinese and Russian presence. 

France struggles in the Sahel. 

France maintains the largest presence and troop numbers of any former colonial power in Africa, particularly in the form of 5,100 troops in the Sahel, where the border area between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger meet has become a hotspot for violence. 

“Paris is inconsistent in its treatment of friendly regimes, indulging an unconstitutional transfer of power in Chad but taking a harder line following a coup in Mali,” said NKC’s Nel. 

French President Emmanuel Macron supported a military-led transition from Chadian President Idriss Deby, who was killed in battle with rebel forces in April, to his son. This violated the country’s constitution and led to anti-French protests and the vandalism of a Total petrol station. 

However, when Colonel Assimi Goïta established military rule in Mali, Macron denounced the coup and suspended a joint military operation with the Malian army. Protests in the aftermath were also hostile toward France, while Russian flags and posters were visible. 

“Given the clear negative trend in political stability in Mali, there is reason to consider the danger that it might end up looking like the CAR, where President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s weak government is essentially kept in place by Russian muscle: the mercenaries of Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group,” Nel said.

Pubblicato in: Commercio, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Putin, Russia

Kremlin. Putin. La Russia potenzia estrazione ed esportazione del carbone.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-08-17.

Kremlino 002

Proprio quando l’enclave liberal socialista occidentale abbandona l’estrazione e l’uso del carbone, la Russia vara un ambizioso piano di potenziamento di questo settore, che al momento  estrae 400 milioni di tonnellate e ne esporta il 50%, con un aumento del 33% negli ultimi otto anni.

Mr Putin ha tenuto un discorso da statista, con ottime conoscenze economiche e geopolitiche.

Russia. Ferrovia Transiberiana. 001

* * * * * * *


«The President held a meeting, via videoconference, on coal industry development»

«→→ Today, I suggest that we discuss the situation in the national coal industry, a key pillar of the national fuel and energy sector ←←»

«It has great significance for the socioeconomic development of entire Russian regions; we have five coal-mining regions»

«I would like to note that Russia has been producing over 400 million tonnes of coal per year since 2017»

«Over 50 percent of this amount is exported elsewhere»

«Coal export volumes have soared by over 33 percent in the past eight years»

«Today, the main coal sales are happening in the Asia-Pacific. Last year, 122 million tonnes of Russian coal were supplied to the region»

«At the same time, there is an additional demand in the Asia-Pacific that Russian companies could meet»

«we should increase the export capacity of the domestic coal industry»

«And this, I emphasise, means new jobs and higher incomes for people employed in this industry and Russia’s transport sector»

«We have already launched plans to develop the Eastern Operating Domain and to expand the capacity of the BAM [Baikal-Amur Mainline] and Transsib [Trans-Siberian Railway], which go to the seaports in the Far East.»

«It is no secret that some of them suggest a significant market contraction …. We also know what is happening with this: Texas froze because of the cold weather»

«it is important to use the export revenues of the coal industry to strengthen and diversify the economies of coal-mining regions»

* * *

«I would like you to pay special attention to the export potential of our leading coal region, Kuzbass»

«As I said in my opening remarks, we must diversify the economy in the coal-mining regions»

«preventing critical dependence of people’s lives on one industry alone»

«As I noted earlier, it is important to use the proceeds from coal exports to develop non-coal mining sectors in regions like Kuzbass»

«It also includes a new motorway to bypass Kemerovo and the expansion of the Sheregesh resort in line with today’s proposals, as well as building new social facilities, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic»

«Please, finalise what we have agreed on today as soon as possible, put it in the form of regulatory acts, and submit it to me»

* * * * * * *

Le grandi distanze e la situazione climatica avversa rendono essenziale il ruolo svolto dalle linee ferrate, che possono funzionare anche durante i più rigidi inverni.

Certamente sono investimenti costosi, ma una volta ultimati i lavori di costruzione, e delle relative infrastrutture, il ritorno dovrebbe consentire di ammortizzare le spese fatte.

Ma oltre al beneficio economico si dovrebbe constatare anche quello politico, specie tenendo conto che per motivi ideologici molti paesi vogliono cessare la estrazione.

*


Kremlin. Meeting on coal industry development.

The President held a meeting, via videoconference, on coal industry development.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov, Deputy Prime Minister – Chief of the Government Staff Dmitry Grigorenko, deputy prime ministers Alexander Novak and Marat Khusnullin, presidential aides Igor Levitin and Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov and Minister of Energy Nikolai Shulginov, as well as some regional heads and CEOs of major coal industry and transport sector companies.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues. I can see that everyone is here.

We are in various regions of our country. I hope that our equipment will function smoothly, and that we will be able to work fruitfully.

Today, I suggest that we discuss the situation in the national coal industry, a key pillar of the national fuel and energy sector. It has great significance for the socioeconomic development of entire Russian regions; we have five coal-mining regions. It is also important for the labour market, for securing employment to hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens and securing their incomes. We have a total of 11 million residents in these regions. Of course, the industry employs far less. However, a total of 11 million people live in these regions.

We regularly address this subject in various formats. In the past few years, we have drafted a number of strategic documents reflecting the coal industry’s plans and tasks. First of all, they include the programme for coal industry development through to 2035, as well as decisions of the Commission for Strategic Development of the Fuel and Energy Sector that met in Kemerovo in the summer of 2018.

Today, I suggest reviewing the implementation of our tasks. And, of course, we will discuss subsequent steps to develop the coal industry, with due consideration for the transport sector projects because it is impossible to ensure cost-effective operations, unless they operate in unison. Russia’s traditional and new coal-mining centres have substantial capabilities. And, of course, proceeding from global coal demand trends, we have to assess current and future developments.

I would like to note that Russia has been producing over 400 million tonnes of coal per year since 2017. Over 50 percent of this amount is exported elsewhere. Coal export volumes have soared by over 33 percent in the past eight years.

For further sustainable development of the industry, it is necessary to constantly analyse the market and make plans both for the next three to four years and for a longer period, based on the strategic challenges and long-term prospects of the global coal market. We understand what this is about.

Today, the main coal sales are happening in the Asia-Pacific. Last year, 122 million tonnes of Russian coal were supplied to the region.

At the same time, there is an additional demand in the Asia-Pacific that Russian companies could meet. And it is important not to pass up this opportunity; flexibly using the logistics capabilities of our transport system, we should increase the export capacity of the domestic coal industry. And this, I emphasise, means new jobs and higher incomes for people employed in this industry and Russia’s transport sector.

We have already launched plans to develop the Eastern Operating Domain and to expand the capacity of the BAM [Baikal-Amur Mainline] and Transsib [Trans-Siberian Railway], which go to the seaports in the Far East. Today I am expecting to hear a report on how this work is going.

As for the long-term prospects of the global coal market beyond the current decade, I know that there are different forecasts in this regard. It is no secret that some of them suggest a significant market contraction, including due to technological changes in the global fuel and energy sector, as well as the active use of alternative fuels.

We also know what is happening with this: Texas froze because of the cold weather. And the windmills had to be thawed in ways that are far from environmentally friendly. Maybe this will also cause adjustments.

In any case, it is necessary to carefully study all possible scenarios in order to guarantee the steady development of our coal-mining regions even with a decrease in global demand for coal and with a decline in the global situation.

In particular, it is important to use the export revenues of the coal industry to strengthen and diversify the economies of coal-mining regions. And of course, this resource should really work to improve the well-being of people and to create modern, comfortable living conditions.

A separate, highly important task is certainly environmental protection, improving the environment in coal mining and transhipment areas. These issues also need constant monitoring.

All these issues require the coordinated, joint work of businesses, regional and federal authorities. Instructions in this regard have already been given more than once. Today I am asking you to report on the progress, including on the implementation of the socioeconomic development programme for Kuzbass, the country’s leading coal region.

Let us get down to work.

<…>

Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, I would like to thank you for our joint work today. I would like the Government to analyse and make use of all the proposals voiced today, including those made by representatives of the regions and our colleagues from the coal companies who have spoken here.

This is what I would like to point out in conclusion of our meeting.

First of all, today we paid much attention to the development of the Eastern Operating Domain. In point of fact, we keep returning to this subject. Today we spoke about it in detail, listening to how this project is being organised and the potential risks. We must carry out this work as precisely and smoothly as possible.

Therefore, based on the discussion we have had today, I would like to ask the Government to provide a clear construction timeframe and the extension parameters for the BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway. We started talking about this back in 2018, and today we can see that the problems are still with us. We must do what I have mentioned, stipulating the throughput and carrying capacity, not of the railway line in general but of its individual sections, as well as the maximum weight of trainloads before and after we finish this project. I would like to ask you to provide this schedule. I know that there were disagreements about this before the meeting; I am asking you to provide a quarterly schedule until the end of 2024. Please, submit it to me and formalise it in a government enactment. Yes, and do please show it to me, because unless we strictly regulate this matter, the problems will remain.

I would like to remind you once again that the quantity framework for the expansion of the Eastern Operating Domain has been approved. Mr Belousov has reported on this today. The next task is to set a concrete timeframe for the work. This is important both for the implementation of regional development programmes and for the coal companies’ investments. Our colleagues from these companies have pointed this out just now.

Second, I would like the Government to strictly coordinate the implementation of the development plans for the BAM and the Trans-Siberian Railway, as well as the obligations of the parties involved in this work.

I would like to ask you to ensure, before July 1 this year, the signing of relevant agreements (I understand the companies do not object to this) between the coal companies and Russian Railways. These agreements must run up to 2024 so they have a clear idea of how much they can take out. The agreements must be based on mutual responsibility. I do not know what rules underlie them now: carry-or-pay or some other regulations but this does not matter. What matters is that the commitments of the coal companies and the carriers, including the volume of coal, loading stations and destinations must be determined precisely.

I would like you to pay special attention to the export potential of our leading coal region, Kuzbass. By 2024, we must ensure (even though this is not what we agreed on before, but I agree with Mr Belousov) at least a 30 percent increase in coal shipments to the east over 2020. Please stick to this target. Yes, we adjusted it compared with what we had planned before but this is life, it’s understandable. That said, the plans for shipping Kuzbass coal must be based on an understandable and transparent foundation. I heard today that this is what seems to happen in reality. If this is the case, well done. If so, there is no need to change anything. This must be based on the shipping volumes to the west and the domestic market, as my colleagues said today, and also based on existing port capacities.

I am also instructing the Government to present additional proposals on expanding the eastern section of the Baikal-Amur Railway (BAM). We need to increase eastbound coal shipments from Yakutia. The governor mentioned this today as well. I would like you to review mechanisms for funding this project, including from the National Welfare Fund as the Minister of Economic Development suggested today, if this is necessary, of course. In any event, I would like to say that I will not object to this in any way. Please present your proposals, if necessary.

The third point. As I said in my opening remarks, we must diversify the economy in the coal-mining regions. Mr Siluanov made a convincing speech today to this effect. It is necessary to achieve priority development of other economic sectors and services with a view to stabilising the regional labour markets and preventing critical dependence of people’s lives on one industry alone.

I want the Government to identify the benchmarks and closely monitor the employment dynamics in the coal-mining regions. Everything must be done in a timely manner. Please focus on creating jobs in the non-coal mining sectors and on bringing in more private investment. As we have just heard, the companies operating in this industry have no objections to that.

As I noted earlier, it is important to use the proceeds from coal exports to develop non-coal mining sectors in regions like Kuzbass. Again, our colleagues have no objections to that. It is good that the coal companies are receptive of this idea.

I want to add here that other enterprises are also willing to invest in the coal-mining regions’ economies and to work in priority development areas. If these tools can be used, please go ahead and use them. We heard about such examples today.

One such company plans to invest in the construction of a logistics centre in Kuzbass which will create several thousand new jobs.

Of course, we must support these initiatives, adjust the regulations to fit the businesses and regions’ needs and find new and appropriate solutions.

I also want you to approve the programme for the socioeconomic development of the Kemerovo Region by the end of March. This should include investment in the region’s transport, utilities and other infrastructure, and promotion of the tourism industry, which includes Sheregesh that we discussed today. It also includes a new motorway to bypass Kemerovo and the expansion of the Sheregesh resort in line with today’s proposals, as well as building new social facilities, which was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Colleagues, there are many questions. Please systematise them and present them to me soon as proposals to expand the industry that is critically important not only for the coal-mining regions of our country, which is home to 11 million people as I said earlier today, but also for the rest of our vast country.

Please, finalise what we have agreed on today as soon as possible, put it in the form of regulatory acts, and submit it to me. I want to see this. These will be Government decisions, but I want to see them.

Thank you.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Devoluzione socialismo, Stati Uniti

Usa. Maggio21. Inflazione in rapida salita. – Il commento di Bloomberg.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-06-16.

FED 001

Tranne Bloomberg, al momento in cui si scrive nessuna testata liberal ha riportato o commentato il dato relativo ai prezzi alla produzione. Sarebbe stato indelicato farlo poco tempo prima dell’incontro di Mr Putin con Biden.

Tuttavia il Cpi al 5% ed il Ppi al 6.6% sono dati sicuramente presenti al Kremlin.

* * * * * * *

«The annual advance in the overall PPI rose to a 6.6% gain»

«The increase was the largest in data going back to 2010»

«Almost 60% of the May increase in the index for final demand can be traced to a 1.5% advance in prices of goods»

«The costs of nonferrous metals, motor vehicles, and beef and veal all climbed»

«Prices for services rose for a fifth straight month, with more than 40% of the increase attributable to automobile-retailing margins, which surged 27.3%»

«Producer prices excluding food, energy, and trade services …. advanced 0.7% from the prior month and rose 5.3% from a year earlier.»

«Federal Reserve officials have said the upward pressure on prices will likely prove temporary, but others worry recent price gains will lead to a more sustained pickup in inflation»

* * * * * * *

È un report inusitatamente scarno, anche se tecnicamente corretto.

Notiamo come alla fine si menzioni anche la prima innominabile ‘inflazione’.

La Fed ripete che questo processo dovrebbe essere temporaneo, ma si potrebbe dubitare che il rialzo dei metalli non ferrosi, dei veicoli a motore e delle carni bovine, solo per citarne alcuni, siano temporanei.

*

U.S. Producer Prices Rose Strongly in May, Adding to Inflation Pressures

Prices paid to U.S. producers rose more than expected in May, fueling companies to raise prices on American consumers. The producer price index for final demand increased 0.8% from the prior month after a 0.6% gain in April, according to data from the Labor Department Tuesday. Excluding volatile food and energy components, the so-called core PPI rose 0.7%. The PPI, which tracks changes in production costs, has surged in recent months. Elevated materials prices and shortages paired with shipping bottlenecks and rising labor expenses have enlarged production costs. Meantime, a burst of pent-up demand has outstripped capacity, stoking further price gains.

Federal Reserve officials have said the upward pressure on prices will likely prove temporary, but others worry recent price gains will lead to a more sustained pickup in inflation. A Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.5% monthly gain in the overall measure and the same advance in the core figure. Data out last week signaled businesses are successfully passing along at least some of the burden of higher costs along to consumers. The consumer price index advanced more than expected for a third straight month in May, extending a months-long buildup in inflation.

The annual advance in the overall PPI rose to a 6.6% gain, a figure biased higher by the fact that it was compared to the soft reading seen in May of last year. The increase was the largest in data going back to 2010. Almost 60% of the May increase in the index for final demand can be traced to a 1.5% advance in prices of goods. The costs of nonferrous metals, motor vehicles, and beef and veal all climbed.

Prices for services rose for a fifth straight month, with more than 40% of the increase attributable to automobile-retailing margins, which surged 27.3%.

Producer prices excluding food, energy, and trade services — a measure often preferred by economists because it strips out the most volatile components — advanced 0.7% from the prior month and rose 5.3% from a year earlier.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Devoluzione socialismo, Russia, Unione Europea

EU. Quasi tutti gli stati hanno mandato gli ambasciatori alla sfilata russa del 9 maggio.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-05-14.

Putin_003__ - Copia

«Most EU states are sending their ambassadors to Russia’s WW2 victory parade on Sunday (9 May) despite tense relations»

«The list includes: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.»

«The three Baltic states and Spain are not sending anyone»

«the Baltic states are boycotting the event for political motives»

«Lithuania’s ambassador will place flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on 8 May»

«But the 2021 guest list also gives a snapshot of where individual EU states stand on Russia»

«But Berlin, in any case, always sends a VIP to the Red Square on 9 May because of Nazi Germany’s role in WW2»

«The EU ambassador is not in Moscow on the day»

«For a number of countries, this [9 May] is an important date and they appreciate the undeniable role the Soviet Union played in defeating the Nazis»

«This year, the Kremlin said it had not invited big names because the 76th anniversary was less important than the 75th»

«Presence at the level of an ambassador is always the lowest official representation possible, so this is also a sign»

«nuclear-capable ‘Iskander’ missiles, which Russia has placed in its Kaliningrad exclave, putting them in range of Warsaw and Berlin»

* * * * * * *

Gli stati dell’Unione Europea hanno nei confronti della Russia e di Mr Putin posizioni conflittuali ed incongruenti.

Da una parte devono constatare come essi dipendano dalle forniture di gas naturale russo, volenti o nolenti.

Nel contempo assistono al continuo ripristino delle forze armate russe, tornate ad essere allo stato dell’arte. Gli europei si sentono i missili russi puntati sulle loro teste.

È ben capibile che i governi europei odino di odio distillato Mr Putin, che nel giro di venti anni ha riportato la Russia al ruolo di potenza mondiale. Mr Putin è un russo che cura gli interessi del suo paese: sufficit.

Ma a tutto questo si aggiunge il fatto che Mr Putin è paladino del retaggio religioso, umano, sociale e politico: ha persino fatto scrivere nella Costituzione che il matrimonio è tale solo tra un maschio ed una femmina.

Per l’Unione Europea liberal socialista questa Weltanschauung è l’esatto opposto della loro ideologia.

*

In ogni caso si constata che “Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden” hanno inviato i loro ambasciatori.

*


EU ambassadors flock to Red Square for Putin’s parade

Most EU states are sending their ambassadors to Russia’s WW2 victory parade on Sunday (9 May) despite tense relations.

The list includes: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.

The Dutch ambassador is also expected to go, but had not confirmed as of Friday.

Austria, Cyprus, and the EU embassy in Moscow are sending chargé d’affaires.

The three Baltic states and Spain are not sending anyone.

Malta did not reply to EUobserver.

In Cold War times, Western analysts used to study who sat close to the Soviet leader at the annual event to try to understand Moscow’s opaque power structures in a practice called “Kremlinology”.

But the 2021 guest list also gives a snapshot of where individual EU states stand on Russia.

Relations nosedived in 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting EU sanctions.

They got worse recently, when the EU imposed blacklists over Russia’s violence against opposition leader Alexei Navalny and Russia listed the EU Parliament president in revenge.

The Czech Republic and Russia also expelled dozens of each other’s diplomats after revelations that Russian spies blew up a Czech arms depot in 2014, killing two people.

But Berlin, in any case, always sends a VIP to the Red Square on 9 May because of Nazi Germany’s role in WW2, an EU diplomat noted.

The fact the Czech ambassador is going indicates Prague wants to mend ties despite the bomb attack.

Meanwhile, Austria, Cyprus, Spain, and the EU embassy’s decisions not to send top people mean little, because these were due to logistical reasons.

The EU ambassador is not in Moscow on the day, for instance.

But the Baltic states are boycotting the event for political motives, diplomatic sources said.

Lithuania’s ambassador will place flowers on the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow on 8 May instead.

And his gesture was meant “to honour the victims of all the nations that fought in WW2, civilian and military,” an EU diplomat noted.

“For a number of countries, this [9 May] is an important date and they appreciate the undeniable role the Soviet Union played in defeating the Nazis,” another EU source said.

“Ambassadors cannot escape from an invitation to attend such an event – it’s a matter of courtesy and, actually, their duty to come – unless bilateral relations are so bad that they couldn’t care less,” the source added.

Last year, the Austrian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, French, and Italian presidents or prime ministers, as well as the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, had planned to go.

But the parade was cancelled due to the pandemic and, in the end, the Hungarian foreign minister was the only EU politician who went to a mini-event on 24 June.

                         Spin?

This year, the Kremlin said it had not invited big names because the 76th anniversary was less important than the 75th.

“This year is not a [major] anniversary year, so we don’t intend to invite foreign participants,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in April.

But the EU source indicated that this was spin designed to avoid a potential “snub”.

“Presence at the level of an ambassador is always the lowest official representation possible, so this is also a sign,” the source said.

“This is a snub for the Russians. Although they will try to present it as EU member states attending,” he added.

The 2021 parade is to involve 12,000 soldiers, 190 combat vehicles, 53 warplanes, and 23 helicopters, according to Russia’s Tass news agency.

This includes ‘S-400’ anti-aircraft systems, which Russia installed in Crimea after seizing the peninsula from Ukraine.

It also includes nuclear-capable ‘Iskander’ missiles, which Russia has placed in its Kaliningrad exclave, putting them in range of Warsaw and Berlin.

                         Iskanders.

And for some Western observers, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s parades have come to look more like propaganda for future conflicts than celebrating the end of WW2.

Recalling a 9 May parade shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine, Robert Pszczel, a former Nato spokesman in Moscow, told EUobserver in 2015: “I don’t have a problem with kids cheering when they watch their country’s tanks go by”.

“But I do have a problem when the biggest cheer, the kind you hear at a hockey match, comes when they see the Iskanders go by,” Pszczel said.

“The West is dealing with a leader [Putin] who is bored by domestic politics, driven by a big but touchy ego, dreaming of his huge role in history, progressively emboldened by the short-term successes of his brinkmanship, and unchained from the restrictions of political, legal, and moral accountability,” Pszczel also said on Friday, in an op-ed for British think-tank Rusi.

Pubblicato in: Russia, Stati Uniti

Harris-Biden. Executive Order on Blocking Property of the Government of the Russian Federation.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-04-16.

Casa Bianca

Prosegue e si intensifica la guerra fredda scatenata contro la Russia dalla Harris-Biden Administration.

Adesso, con un nuovo Executive Order, Washington espelle dieci diplomatici russi e colpisce alcune attività finanziarie della Federazione Russa.

«Il pacchetto di misure Usa contro Mosca comprende sanzioni su tutti i titoli di debito emessi dalla Russia dopo il 14 giugno e vieta alle istituzioni finanziarie Usa di acquistare bond direttamente dalla banca centrale russa, dal fondo sovrano e dal ministero delle finanze»

Ma come è abitudine di questa Amministrazione, nell’ordine esecutivo compaiono anche disposizioni non inerenti al tema centrale, contenenti per di più deleghe a quelle che dovrebbero essere le prerogative presidenziali.

«The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of noncitizens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, determines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives»

È in corso una silenziosa rivoluzione liberal per la conquista del potere assoluto.

*


Usa, nuove sanzioni contro Russia. Mosca convoca l’ambasciatore

Biden firma un ordine esecutivo. ‘Puniremo ancora Mosca se continua a destabilizzare’. Espulsi 10 diplomatici russi. Le sanzioni colpiscono anche debito sovrano russo. Mosca: ‘la risposta sarà inevitabile’

L’amministrazione Biden ha annunciato sanzioni contro Mosca e l’espulsione di 10 diplomatici russi in risposta alle interferenze nelleelezioni e al cyber attacco SoladWinds. Inoltre ha minacciato di punire ancora Mosca in caso di “escalation” nelle attività di destabilizzazione internazionale.

L’amministrazione Biden ha sanzionato complessivamente 32 tra individui ed entità russi. Tra i 10 diplomatici russi espulsi anche membri dell’intelligence.

Joe Biden ha firmato un ordine esecutivo che “manda un segnale che gli Stati Uniti imporranno costi strategici ed economici alla Russia se continua o aumenta le sue azioni di destabilizzazione internazionale”, rende noto la Casa Bianca.

Il pacchetto di misure Usa contro Mosca comprende sanzioni su tutti i titoli di debito emessi dalla Russia dopo il 14 giugno e vieta alle istituzioni finanziarie Usa di acquistare bond direttamente dalla banca centrale russa, dal fondo sovrano e dal ministero delle finanze. Una mossa che complica la capacità di Mosca di raccogliere denaro nei mercati finanziari internazionali. Nel suo ordine esecutivo Joe Biden si riserva il diritto di allargare le sanzioni sul debito sovrano russo se persisteranno le attività destabilizzanti.

“Questo tipo di comportamento aggressivo incontrerà sicuramente una decisa resistenza. La risposta alle sanzioni sarà inevitabile”. Lo ha detto la portavoce del ministero degli Esteri russo, Maria Zakharova, a proposito delle nuove sanzioni Usa contro la Russia. Lo riporta l’agenzia Interfax.

L’ambasciatore americano a Mosca, John Sullivan, è stato convocato al ministero degli Esteri russo dopo l’annuncio delle sanzioni contro la Russia da parte degli Usa. “Sarà una discussione dura per la parte americana”, ha fatto sapere la portavoce del ministero. Lo riporta RIA Novosti.

Le sanzioni americane aumentano il grado di scontro nelle relazioni russo-statunitensi. Lo ha detto la portavoce del ministero degli Esteri russo Maria Zakharova, citata dalla Tass. Washington è “pienamente responsabile” per il peggioramento delle nostre relazioni, ha aggiunto.

* * * * * * *


Executive Order on Blocking Property with Respect to Specified Harmful Foreign Activities of the Government of the Russian Federation

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

     I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, find that specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation — in particular, efforts to undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections and democratic institutions in the United States and its allies and partners; to engage in and facilitate malicious cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies and partners; to foster and use transnational corruption to influence foreign governments; to pursue extraterritorial activities targeting dissidents or journalists; to undermine security in countries and regions important to United States national security; and to violate well-established principles of international law, including respect for the territorial integrity of states — constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.  I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
     Accordingly, I hereby order:
     Section 1.  All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
     (a)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General, or by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, and, with respect to subsection (a)(ii) of this section, in consultation with the Attorney General:
          (i)    to operate or have operated in the technology sector or the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, or any other sector of the Russian Federation economy as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State;
          (ii)   to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, any of the following for or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation: 
               (A)  malicious cyber-enabled activities;
               (B)  interference in a United States or other foreign government election;
               (C)  actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad;   
               (D)  transnational corruption;
               (E)  assassination, murder, or other unlawful killing of, or infliction of other bodily harm against, a United States person or a citizen or national of a United States ally or partner;
               (F)  activities that undermine the peace, security, political stability, or territorial integrity of the United States, its allies, or its partners; or
               (G)  deceptive or structured transactions or dealings to circumvent any United States sanctions, including through the use of digital currencies or assets or the use of physical assets;
          (iii)  to be or have been a leader, official, senior executive officer, or member of the board of directors of:
               (A)  the Government of the Russian Federation;
               (B)  an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
               (C)  an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
          (iv)   to be a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the Government of the Russian Federation;
          (v)    to be a spouse or adult child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to subsection (a)(ii) or (iii) of this section;
          (vi)   to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of:
               (A)  any activity described in subsection (a)(ii) of this section; or
               (B)  any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
          (vii)  to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Government of the Russian Federation or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
     (b)  any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, a government whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to chapter V of title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations or another Executive Order, and to be:
          (i)    a citizen or national of the Russian Federation;
          (ii)   an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches); or
          (iii)  a person ordinarily resident in the Russian Federation.
     (c)  any person determined by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in or attempted to engage in, cutting or disrupting gas or energy supplies to Europe, the Caucasus, or Asia, and to be:
          (i)   an individual who is a citizen or national of the Russian Federation; or
          (ii)  an entity organized under the laws of the Russian Federation or any jurisdiction within the Russian Federation (including foreign branches).
     (d)  The prohibitions in subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted before the date of this order.
     Sec. 2.  The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include:
     (a)  the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
     (b)  the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
     Sec. 3.  (a)  The unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of noncitizens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and the entry of such persons into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, is hereby suspended, except when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, determines that the person’s entry would not be contrary to the interests of the United States, including when the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security, as appropriate, so determines, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General, that the person’s entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives.
     (b)  The Secretary of State shall implement this authority as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish.
     (c)  The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this order as it applies to the entry of noncitizens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish.
     (d)  Such persons shall be treated by this section in the same manner as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
     Sec. 4.  (a)  Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
     (b)  Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
     Sec. 5.  I hereby determine that the making of donations of the types of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
     Sec. 6.  For the purposes of this order:
     (a)  the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
     (b)  the term “Government of the Russian Federation” means the Government of the Russian Federation, any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality thereof, including the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, and any person owned, controlled, or directed by, or acting for or on behalf of, the Government of the Russian Federation;
     (c)  the term “noncitizen” means any person who is not a citizen or noncitizen national of the United States;
     (d)  the term “person” means an individual or entity; and
     (e)  the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, lawful permanent resident, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.
     Sec. 7.  For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual.  I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
     Sec. 8.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order.  The Secretary of the Treasury may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of these functions within the Department of the Treasury.  All departments and agencies of the United States shall take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
     Sec. 9.  Nothing in this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government or the United Nations (including its specialized agencies, programs, funds, and related organizations) by employees, grantees, and contractors thereof.
     Sec. 10.  The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
     Sec. 11.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
          (i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
          (ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
     (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
     (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
                               

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR. 

THE WHITE HOUSE,
April 15, 2021.

Pubblicato in: Agricoltura, Russia

Putin. Primo esportatore mondiale di grano, con rincari del pane in Patria.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2021-02-01.

2021-01-27__Putin Food 001

Nel 2020 il prezzo medio del grano è stato 205 Usd per tonnellata.

«Putin thrusts global food markets into russian politics»

«Russia’s government is squeezing wheat exports to push down prices»

«nuove tariffe e quote progettate per frenare le esportazioni e abbassare i prezzi interni»

«Russia’s position as the world’s biggest wheat exporter means the move is already reverberating through global markets»

«The introduction of the duty is an attempt to cash in on the farmers»

«There’s plenty of wheat in the world. If Russia doesn’t supply it, someone else will»

«World grain prices have soared to the highest level in six years after poor weather hampered harvests in some key producers and China embarked on an agricultural buying spree»

«Russia’s annual harvest has nearly doubled in just two decades»

«While Putin was boasting of a record harvest last year, ordinary Russians had to shell out 20% more for bread and 65% more for sugar than in 2019.»

«Il dazio inizierà a 25 euro (30,40 dollari) a tonnellata prima di raddoppiare dal 1° marzo»

«Wheat-export prices in Russia have climbed 43% in the past six months to $297 as of Jan. 20»

«Russia has a history of disrupting the wheat market with restrictions and duties. The country imposed an export tax in 2007 to combat rising food costs, helping push global wheat prices to a record»

«the Kremlin has worked so hard to overtake the U.S. and European Union and become the dominant global supplier of wheat»

«Pakistan] is the fifth-largest importer of Russian wheat this season»

* * * * * * *

La Russia nel 2017 ha esportato 33 milioni di tonnellate di grano per un controvalore di 8.4 miliardi di dollari americani contro i 27 milioni di tonnellate degli Stati Uniti.

Le vicende del 2020 hanno fatto aumentare ulteriormente i prezzi.

Ma alle maggiori entrate dalle esportazioni è corrisposto un aumento dei prezzi domestici al consumo.

Ora il Kremlin si trova di fronte ad una scelta difficile, tra esportazioni e mercato domestco.

*


Putin Thrusts Global Food Markets Into Russian Politics.

Russia’s government is squeezing wheat exports to push down prices in a country with a long history of public anger over food costs.

Dmitry Bravkov is the kind of farmer that makes Vladimir Putin proud. The Russian president regularly touts his country’s rise to the top of the world’s agricultural exporters as another sign of its global power.

But after 14 years of running a dairy and grain farm 300 miles southwest of Moscow, Bravkov has suddenly found himself on the wrong end of Kremlin policy. In three weeks, he’ll get less for his wheat because of new tariffs and quotas designed to curb exports and drive domestic prices lower.

With Putin’s popularity barely back from record lows, the policy is an attempt to mollify a public battered by falling incomes and rising food costs. Protests at the weekend demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny now give Putin another reason to try to shore up support.

Russia’s position as the world’s biggest wheat exporter means the move is already reverberating through global markets, and a short-term domestic advantage could lead to longer-term damage to faith in the country as a reliable supplier.

“The introduction of the duty is an attempt to cash in on the farmers,” said Bravkov, 47, who employs 60 people in a village in the Bryansk region. “There’s plenty of wheat in the world. If Russia doesn’t supply it, someone else will.”

World grain prices have soared to the highest level in six years after poor weather hampered harvests in some key producers and China embarked on an agricultural buying spree. The knock-on effect is particularly acute for developing nations because food is a bigger share of household spending. 

Uncertainty over Russia’s restrictions has already hurt some buyers, with top wheat importer Egypt canceling a tender on Jan. 12—a rare occurrence—after supply offers dried up. 

“Russia wants to have it both ways,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization in Rome. “It wants to have a big chunk of the export market, and at the same time, not be exposed to problems within the global food sector. Usually such plans aren’t successful in the long-run.”

Wheat Powerhouse

Russia’s annual harvest has nearly doubled in just two decades

While Putin was boasting of a record harvest last year, ordinary Russians had to shell out 20% more for bread and 65% more for sugar than in 2019. Memories of food shortages in the Soviet Union and soaring inflation after its collapse have made prices a politically sensitive issue in Russia.

Russia’s history wasn’t lost on Putin as he scolded ministers on national television last month for not doing enough to stop rising prices, even as he boasted about huge grain exports. Russia’s wheat output has nearly doubled in the past two decades.

“Back then, they said that everything is available in the Soviet Union, just not enough for everyone, but there wasn’t enough because there were shortages,” he said. “Now there might not be enough because people don’t have enough money to buy certain products at the prices we see on the market.”

One day after the comments were aired—and three days before Putin was due to address the nation in his annual televised press conference—the government proposed a levy on wheat from mid-February though the end of June. The duty will start at 25 euros ($30.40) a ton before doubling from March 1. Wheat-export prices in Russia have climbed 43% in the past six months to $297 as of Jan. 20, data from consultancy IKAR show.

The government is also pressing ahead with a previously announced grain-export quota for the same period. Price curbs were looked at for other food products such as pasta, eggs and potatoes, though Russia’s Agriculture Ministry said on Monday it sees no need for further limits.

Russia has a history of disrupting the wheat market with restrictions and duties. The country imposed an export tax in 2007 to combat rising food costs, helping push global wheat prices to a record, and some researchers see an export ban in 2010 as an indirect contributor to the Arab Spring uprisings. 

Indeed, few other exporters have dared to go down the protectionist route because the results can be counterproductive. The strategy is particularly risky because the Kremlin has worked so hard to overtake the U.S. and European Union and become the dominant global supplier of wheat.

The measures will cost wheat farmers as much as 135 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) in potential revenue losses, and more if export duties are extended to other foodstuffs, according to Andrey Sizov Jr., managing director at consultant SovEcon in Moscow.

Importers are already turning toward other suppliers such as Australia and even India, according to Evgeniya Dudinova, a member of the International Association of Operative Millers Eurasia leadership council. In the United Arab Emirates, where she’s based, purchases from Russia have totaled about 330,000 tons so far this season, a third of last year’s volume. 

Key importers will try to avoid Russian wheat when the taxes kick in, said Muzzammil R. Chappal, chairman of the Cereal Association of Pakistan. The country is the fifth-largest importer of Russian wheat this season.

At his farm, Bravkov said he hasn’t received any help from the government in the past. He’s in the process of switching from dairy to grain farming after milk prices stagnated, which will force him to lay off workers to stay profitable. “With such measures our government just helps protect our European competitors,” Bravkov said.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Asiatica, Russia

Russia. Pakistan, Greater Eurasian Partnership ed Eurasian Economic Union.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-12-25.

Kursk 001

Russia e Cina stanno sviluppando un grandioso progetto strategico per l’erezione di una Greater Eurasian Partnership volta a riunire in una comunità di intenti e di reciproci benefici tutte le popolazioni euroasiatiche, ossia più di quattro miliardi di persone. I loro sono diplomatici dilungo corso, passati attraverso dure selezioni, ben diversi dai ministri degli esteri occidentali, che, tra l’altro, stanno in carica per tempo molto limitato, cambiando di volta in volta l’indirizzo politico.

*

Ad oriente prese dapprima campo la Sco, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, nata come meccanismo per favorire la risoluzione di dispute territoriali tra i sei paesi aderenti – Cina, Russia, Kazakistan, Kirghizistan, Tagikistan e Uzbekistan – l’organizzazione è andata progressivamente istituzionalizzandosi, intensificando la cooperazione tra i suoi membri tanto su questioni di sicurezza quanto in ambiti come quello economico, energetico e culturale.

Mesi addietro, senza alcuna tromba trionfante, ha preso corpo il Rcep.

«the RCEP is a Chinese Masterpiece with Chinese characteristics …. a community of sovereign nations»

«China has achieved the almost impossible – a free trade agreement with 14 countries – the ten ASEAN, plus Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, altogether 15 countries, including China»

*

Adesso sta emergendo il progetto strategico russo della Greater Eurasian Partnership ed Eurasian Economic Union. Come dicono i nomi stessi, sono un piano che si articolerà su decenni, ma che saranno decenni di crescita comune.

«The Greater Eurasian Partnership has two broad economic goals. First, it aims to connect Russia and the EAEU to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its second, lesser goal is to move beyond China and connect the EAEU with Iran, India, and Southeast Asia.»

*

Il segreto dei progetti cinesi e russi è semplicissimo:

«a community of sovereign nations».

L’occidente è oramai fuori gioco.

L’ideologia liberal imperante aborrisce anche la sola possibilità di «a community of sovereign nations»: vuole imporsi come credo politico ed economico, come religione atea.

Ma l’occidente è tagliato fuori anche per un motivo estremamente pratico ed organizzativo.

Ogni certo quale numero di anni i governi occidentali si ribaltano, portando al potere Weltanschauung opposte.

Fatto questo che preclude il perseguimento di una politica aggregativa di lungo termine.

*

«In conclusion, the research argues that Pakistan could play a somewhat surprising role (relative to the existing opinion of most Russian experts) in the GEP, though this hasn’t been widely recognized because of an overall lack of interest in the country and an unawareness about CPEC. This is attributable to the fact that Russia and Pakistan only recently began their rapprochement and still have a long way to go before entering into a meaningful partnership that goes beyond diplomatic coordination in bringing peace to Afghanistan and carrying out yearly anti-terrorist drills, both of which are enormous milestones compared to their previous state of relations but which are still insufficient for inspiring a critical mass of proactive research into the other’s long-term potential as a partner. As has been demonstrated through the research, however, Pakistan is poised to play a promising role in the GEP given that it’s indispensable to the success of this vision. It is the last remaining piece of the Eurasian connectivity puzzle which Russia has yet to fully appreciate, though it may only be a matter of time before that realization dawns on its decision makers. As BRI becomes a more influential catalyst for international systemic change, it’s predicted that Russia will naturally become more aware of its flagship project of CPEC, and with that, a new trend of research into Pakistan might commence shortly thereafter.»

*


Pakistan’s Role in Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership.

Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership (GEP) is envisaged to become an important component of its contemporary foreign policy. President V. Putin simplified this grand strategic vision as “[being formed] on the basis of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI)” in an article published before the APEC Summit in November 2017. He added that “this is a flexible modern project open to other participants.” Building upon this concept, the Russian leader observed during the second BRI Forum in April 2019 that this Chinese-led project “rimes with Russia’s idea to establish a Greater Eurasian Partnership” and announced that “The five EAEU member states have unanimously supported the idea of pairing the EAEU development and the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt project”. Seeing as how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is one of BRI’s flagship projects as described by Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi in November 2019, with $13 billion worth of projects completed in January 2020 out of an expected eventual total investment of $60 billion (thus making it China’s largest BRI infrastructure investment anywhere in the world), it’s inevitable that Russia will have to improve its connectivity with Pakistan in order to fulfill V. Putin’s vision of bringing the EAEU and BRI closer together to form the GEP.

Practically nothing has been written about the role that Pakistan is poised to play in the GEP despite it being an extremely important one by virtue of hosting CPEC, which functions as China’s only reliable non-Malacca access route to the Indian Ocean Region, the nearby energy-rich Middle Eastern one, and the rapidly growing continent of Africa where the People’s Republic has recently become its top trade partner in aggregate. It should be pointed out that the official CPEC website of the Pakistani government states that the project has already secured at least $46 billion in “commitment of investment and concessional loans”, thus, making it a promising economic opportunity that Russia certainly can’t ignore. The pivotal geopolitical location of the South Asian host state at the confluence of its home region, West Asia, Central Asia, China, and the Indian Ocean also makes it an extremely strategic gateway to each of them, which complements the connectivity vision that Russia set out to achieve through the GEP. This makes it all the more perplexing that Pakistan and CPEC aren’t included in the academic literature written about this topic, something that the authors aim to rectify through the present research. As such, Pakistan and CPEC are regularly referenced throughout the work in order to highlight their relevant significances to everything being discussed.

The article begins by analyzing the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016 that established the guidelines for conducting the country’s relations with other states. This section serves to explain the policymaking formulations behind the GEP, as well as make the case that Pakistan and CPEC are pertinent to it. The second part then elaborates on the EAEU that’s expected to form the core of this connectivity vision. Once that’s done, the research segues into a discussion of Russia’s trans-regional integration plans while explaining the relevance of Pakistan as appropriate. The reader should by then have a more solid understanding of the role that the country is expected to play in the GEP, after which the work will conclude with several policy recommendations for facilitating its integration into this supercontinental structure. It’s hoped that the research will prove itself useful for other academics to eventually build upon in exploring the opportunities for further improving Russian-Pakistani relations in view of this vision.

The Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016

The practice of Russian foreign policy is determined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ concept paper approved by President Putin at the end of 2016. As can be implied by its name, this document contains the primary guidelines that influence Russian foreign policy, and thus, it also relates to many other issues connected to International Relations in general. Only those that are pertinent to the research topic, however, will be referenced in this article. The first part of the document is about the General Provisions, which concentrate on the need “to create a favorable external environment that would allow Russia’s economy to grow steadily and become more competitive” in parallel with “[consolidating] the Russian Federation’s position as a center of influence in today’s world”. When combined, it can be understood that one of the most important objectives of Russia’s foreign policy is to expand the state’s international influence in order to improve its economic growth. Of topical interest, the expansion of Russian influence in South Asia could lead to Moscow reaping some of the economic benefits of CPEC.

There are some formidable challenges that stand in the way of achieving this general objective, whether in South Asia or elsewhere. The concept paper considers the contemporary international environment to be characterized by worsening tensions and expresses concern at the increasingly popular trend of using force to resolve international disputes. Its authors also believe that “global power and development potential is becoming decentralized, and is shifting towards the Asia-Pacific Region, eroding the global economic and political dominance of the traditional western powers”. This is leading to a new phase in International Relations, which while promising, is also fraught with many risks of conflict unless future threats are adequately managed. They also note how the trend of connectivity is spurring regional integration processes. It’s here where Russia can play a special role since its concept paper says that the country’s foreign policy “is characterized by consistency and continuity and reflects the unique role Russia has played for centuries as a counterbalance in international affairs and the development of global civilization.” From this position, it can be said that the EAEU could eventually fulfill that role, with the GEP taking it a step further throughout the rest of Eurasia with time.

To that end, Russia considers the overarching goal of its foreign policy to be “shaping a fair and sustainable world order”. The concept paper suggests that Russia can do this by “expanding its ties with its partners within the Group of Twenty, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and the Republic of South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), RIC (Russia, India and China) alongside other organizations and dialogue platforms”. Pakistan is one of the two newest members of the SCO alongside India, which makes it an unstated party to this proposed policy. In addition, Pakistan is China’s top BRI partner, and China is a leading player in all four of the aforementioned structures. It therefore follows that improving connectivity with Pakistan would add yet another layer to Russia’s strategic partnership with China, especially considering that President Putin’s proposed pairing of the EAEU and BRI could naturally see the two Great Powers collaborating on joint projects in CPEC as one of its many outcomes.

Recalling what was written earlier, Russia’s foreign policy concept intends to improve the country’s economic standing. Its authors say that Russia “contributes to the efficiency of the multilateral trade system with the WTO at its core, and promotes regional economic integration in line with its priorities”, and also “creates favorable conditions for expanding Russia’s presence on global markets, primarily by diversifying its exports, and specifically by increasing the volume of non-resource-based exports, and expanding the geography of foreign economic ties”. Specific attention should be drawn to the part saying that the state also “provides governmental support to Russian organizations seeking to tap new markets and gain a larger foothold in traditional ones, while countering discrimination against Russian investors and exporters”. With these guidelines in mind, it’s sensible for Russia to economically engage Pakistan.

CPEC is one of BRI’s flagship projects, and Russia’s hitherto lack of participation in it is a conspicuous absence in light of its strategic partnership with China and President Putin’s proposal to pair the EAEU with BRI. The only explanation is that Russia is deferring involvement out of respect for India’s sensitivities since New Delhi is fiercely opposed to CPEC because it regards it as traversing through Pakistani-controlled territory that it claims as its own per its maximalist approach to the Kashmir conflict. Even so, it can be argued that Russia shouldn’t sacrifice its national economic interests just to avoid o ending one of its partners (India), especially when the one that it’s closest to (China) is the chief investor in the said project. It isn’t possible for Russia to accomplish the previously mentioned economic tasks if it doesn’t participate in some capacity or another in CPEC. Nor, for that matter, can it entirely succeed with the concept paper’s plan for Russia to “establish a common, open and non-discriminatory economic partnership and joint development space for ASEAN, SCO and EAEU members with a view to ensuring that integration processes in Asia-Pacific and Eurasia are complementary” since Pakistan is the third most populous member of the SCO.

The Eurasian Economic Union

The GEP has no practical standing without the EAEU as its core, so Russia must first concentrate on succeeding with its regional integration plans through this comparatively smaller structure and then transition to trans-regional integration afterwards. Unlike what some critics have claimed, the EAEU isn’t being created to advance national prestige or out of nostalgia for the Soviet-era past. Instead, the main purpose is to enable Russia to better compete with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to cooperate with them on a more equal footing. Russia needs their assistance for developing the Siberian and Far Eastern regions that have been neglected for decades, though without being seen as somewhat of an economic equal, it fears being taken advantage of. These Asia-directed goals underpinning the EAEU were detailed in the Valdai Club’s 2012 report titled “Towards the Great Ocean, or the New Globalisation of Russia”. The authors hoped that decision makers would focus more on this trend after reading their work. The report was released while Russia was still creating a customs union with its EAEU partners, so it could have been very influential in hindsight.

The Asia-Pacific countries, or more specifically the countries of Northeast Asia, aren’t the only ones that the EAEU aims to compete and cooperate with. Former Secretary of State for European Affairs in Portugal Bruno Maçães wrote in his 2018 article titled “Supercontinent Eurasia ” that Russia “now looks in four directions at once, a marked improvement upon the double-headed eagle of its state emblem. Traditionally, Russian elites tended to see their task as that of bringing about a gradual but complete integration with a more advanced Europe. That vision is now being replaced by a new self-image: as the center and core of the Eurasian supercontinent, Russia can reach in all directions and provide a bridge between Europe and China on both ends. In fact, Moscow is also looking south to the Middle East, and to the north, as global warming transforms the Arctic into the main trade route linking Europe and Asia.” The Middle East isn’t Russia’s only southward interest, however, since it can be argued that Pakistan’s CPEC is much more important when it comes to non-energy, commercial economic activity. This is yet another point that can be made about the importance of Pakistan in the GEP and why it’s so puzzling that practically nothing has been written about its role in Russian grand strategy.

That said, Russia’s future integration with Pakistan or any other country outside the former Soviet Union will have difficulty proceeding without the EAEU, ergo this structure’s premier importance in serving as the core of Moscow’s supercontinental plans. Interestingly, most EAEU member states are also in the SCO, which academic supervisor of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies Timofei Bordachev wrote in 2018 is the “foundation of Greater Eurasia”. Pakistan and India were invited to join it in 2015, and the organization has since begun to take on more of an economic role atop its original security-related one. Still, the EAEU is much more of an economic actor than the SCO is by its very nature, but the two bodies have a lot in common, not only in membership, but also in overall outlook. According to the opinion of Yaroslav Lissovolik, a member of the Government Expert Council, in his 2015 article titled “Russia’s Eurasian Model of Modernization”, the EAEU was strongly influenced by Eurasianist theories. He also believes that it can achieve the objectives of “integration into the world economy”, “Eurasian integration in the ‘near abroad’”, “‘open regionalism’ and prioritizing multilateralism”, following an “Asian industrial policy” and implementing “European stabilization instruments/anchors”, and more effectively utilizing the “oil and gas sector”. In Lissovolik’s opinion, Eurasian integration “will dovetail the Chinese efforts to forge ties with Europe via the Silk Road project”. It’s noteworthy that he expressed this view several years before the Russian government formally did, which shows that his work was truly visionary at the time.

All in all, the cited experts assess Russia’s regional integration plans as proceeding along a positive trajectory. This gives hope to the vision that the EAEU will successfully function as the core of the GEP. It is also the Russian-led structure that can benefit the most from this grand strategy too, especially when it comes to prospectively achieving connectivity with CPEC. The Central Asian member states of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan could obtain a new market of over 200 million potential customers for their products, which would assist their economic diversification efforts and enable them to more confidently balance between Russia and China, thus removing any speculation that one or the other might be trying to undermine their sovereignty through economic means. Instead, both Great Powers would be enhancing their partners’ sovereignty by freeing up their economies to trade with Pakistan, or even just through it along CPEC en route to the Indian Ocean and the rest of the global marketplace beyond.

On an institutional level, improved Russian-Pakistani connectivity with CPEC as its centerpiece could also bring the EAEU closer to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Even though this group has been more or less moribund for the past few years owing to disagreements between Pakistan and India, it might be revived if Russia more directly began economically cooperating with Pakistan, which could in turn attract India’s attention and possibly encourage it to reach a pragmatic compromise with its neighbor for rejuvenating this regional integration bloc. On a grander scale, Pakistan could be the trans-regional gateway state for the EAEU’s further bloc-to-bloc integration with not only SAARC, but also the SCO and even the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) considering that the Gulf countries are investing in CPEC too and could take advantage of its terminal port of Gwadar for conducting trade back and forth with Central Asia. This is a key point that is sorely lacking in the academic literature on this topic, which is due either to of a lack of knowledge about the trans-regional integration opportunities afforded by CPEC and/or a hyper-sensitivity to India’s concerns about its partners participating in that project. Nevertheless, further research should be conducted on this topic.

Russia’s Trans-Regional Integration Strategy

Zachary Paikin, Senior Editor at Global Brief magazine and a Visiting Fellow at the London-based Global Policy Institute, set the backdrop against which Russia’s trans-regional integration plans can be analyzed. His April 2019 article “Orders Within Orders: A New Paradigm For Greater Eurasia” begins with him discussing Moscow’s dilemma, which he characterizes in this way: “As long as relations with the West remain in the doldrums, Moscow has no choice but to make its strategic partnership with Bejing the lynchpin of its plans to maintain great power status. Russia is but a secondary actor in Asia’s regional order, which casts significant doubt on the ability of the EAEU minus Ukraine to become major pole at the global level on its own. But at the same time, failure to mend ties with the West will result in growing dependence on China, thus undermining the very aim that Russia seeks to achieve — preserving its status as an independent great power”. The ideal solution, then, is to apply Paikin’s “order within orders” paradigm that he describes as “conceptualizing EU-Russia relations as forming a regional international order within the broader Greater Eurasian order, operating according to its own principles and initiating its own separate bilateral dialogue on global ordering practices”. This would enable Russia to better balance its relations with China considering President Putin’s plans to pair the EAEU with BRI.

aikin references another expert in his work who he quotes as saying that “the future of global politics will be determined by interactions not between powers but blocs”, and the “order within orders” paradigm can be regarded as a “reframing of the Greater Eurasian partnership designed to maximize the number of partners with which Russia can develop constructive relations.” This is a very useful concept that doesn’t exclusively consider the EU and China as the only “orders” of relevance in principle. Although Pakistan can be described by some as falling within the Chinese order, its massive market size and geostrategic location could change the strategic calculus by making it more of an independent player in the event that Russia is successful with fostering improved economic-connectivity relations with it, which would also bene t all of the EAEU’s member states. Pakistan, and by extrapolation the SAARC bloc of which it’s a part, is but one example of a so-called third order that could revolutionize the strategic balance and thus give Russia more flexibility for interacting with all other poles of economic significance.

Lissovolik has written extensively about his ideas for how Russia can expand its global economic and institutional reach so it’s worthwhile to analyze some of his most pertinent work. The first one that should be covered is his 2017 analysis titled “Re-Thinking the BRICS: On the Concepts of BRICS+ and BRICS++”. This article suggests that “Russia in the Eurasian Economic Union, Brazil in MERCOSUR, South Africa in the South African Development Community (SADC), India in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and China in the Shanghai Organization for Cooperation (SOC)” form the constituent entities integrating with one another through BRICS+, while “these countries and/or regional blocks that have concluded agreements with BRICS countries’ regional blocks” would constitute BRICS++. Of immediate relevance, Pakistan is a member of both SAARC and the SCO, thus making it doubly important in this context although that’s not stated in the article. Still, the takeaway is that the regional integration structures that each BRICS member is in could come together through that platform to form the super-structure of BRICS+, which by implication suggests that Russia should enhance its economic ties with Pakistan in order to take maximum advantage of this idea.

Lissovolik also published an article titled “BRICS Plus: New Technology, New Vision for Economic Integration” later that same year. In it, he wrote that the objective of BRICS+ is “to create a network of alliances that would be comprehensive and representative of all of the major regions/continents across the developing world. In this respect, the BRICS+ paradigm is more about inclusiveness and diversity rather than about selecting the largest heavyweights. By its very nature of being present in all of the key regions and continents of the developing world the BRICS could perform the unique role of a comprehensive platform for economic cooperation across the globe. Accordingly, the BRICS+ concept is first and foremost about a different approach to economic integration and a different technology of how alliances are structured globally”. Another important passage from his article proposes that “BRICS+ could perhaps be termed as semi-globalism” because it “would represent an intermediary layer of coordination and integration between the global level institutions (WTO) and the amalgam of countries and regional blocks.” This focus on regionalism dovetails with the trend in regional integration processes earlier described by the Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016, thus demonstrating strategic continuity with the state’s officially promulgated policy and further making the case that it’s only natural for Russia to seize the opportunity to improve its economic connectivity with Pakistan because of CPEC’s potential to link together the EAEU, SCO, SAARC, and even the GCC.

The next article that Lissovolik wrote about trans-regional integration which will be discussed is “The Mechanics of BRICS+: A Tentative Blueprint”. The author makes the point that BRICS+ can play the role of a “sufficiently strong starting engine” for global integration processes by “creating a new platform for forging regional and bilateral alliances across continents”. According to him, this could include a “platform for trade and investment integration”, “cooperation in international organizations”, “cooperation between the respective development banks and other development institutions formed by BRICS+ economies”, “use of national currencies/ payment systems”, and “cooperation in establishing own reserve currencies/regional and global financial centers”. Of pertinence to the research topic is that Pakistan would inevitably participate in these proposed ideas, yet scant research has been carried out about how this would work, which places both countries in a disadvantageous position because they might not be able to fully exploit these opportunities. From the opposite angle, those said opportunities are plenty, so the incentive is certainly there to motivate other researchers once they become more aware of the mutual benefits.

Writing in his report about “BRICS-Plus: Alternative Globalization in the Making?”, Lissovolik added another major benefit that could be derived from BRICS+. He said that “the new vision of integration in the form of BRICS+ could drag the world economy out of its misery of persistently low growth rates. It appears that new principles and new approaches in advancing openness and integration are required. We need to think about integration, growth and globalization in new and in hitherto abnormal ways to surmount the ‘new normal’. We need to shift gears from the old ‘core-periphery’ paradigm to veritable sustainable development, which in the integration sphere is to be based on greater diversity, equality of opportunity and due care with regard to spillover and trade diversion effects.” Put into topical context, Pakistan is geographically on the periphery of Eurasia, but it’s connected to one of the cores of the global economy, China, through CPEC. This has enabled its economy to grow well over the past few years. Its location can serve as a conduit for Siberia and Central Asia to more easily trade with the global economy through the access that CPEC could provide them to the Indian Ocean and partners further afield. If institutionalized through BRICS+, this could prospectively have a multiplying effect for all stakeholders, thus improving global growth rates and therefore benefitting the world economy.

Lissovolik elaborated more on his ideas that BRICS+ is crucially important for the global economy. In his article titled “On the Paradox of Global Economic Integration”, he observed that “the economies most in need of economic integration are the ones that are the most left out from regional and global economic alliances and ‘clubs’“. Generally speaking, Lissovolik believes that a “new paradigm needs to be based on new types of integration arrangements that focus more on issues of connectivity that in turn are paramount for landlocked developing countries.” All of this holds particularly true for Pakistan, which while being a formal member of SAARC, never really integrated its economy with India’s owing to political reasons on both sides. Its decades of strategic partnership with the US also didn’t yield any lasting economic benefits either. Awareness of this might have contributed to China’s decision to build CPEC and economically integrate with Pakistan instead. That said integration does indeed “focus more on issues of connectivity that in turn are paramount for landlocked developing countries” such as the Central Asian ones that are part of the EAEU, which could then utilize CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar to more easily access the global economy.

More specifically, Lissovolik signaled that BRI and BRICS+ could fulfill this role because they function as platforms for regional integration, pan-continental integration, and trans-continental integration when taken to their maximum extent with time. Pakistan is part of both, BRI (of which CPEC is one of the flagship projects) and BRICS+ (of which it’s included within SAARC and the SCO), so its experience can be extremely useful for helping other countries and is yet another reason why researchers should study it more within this larger context, especially in terms of its relevance to the other countries that are could join the GEP. Bridging BRICS+ and BRICS++, Lissovolik talks about something that he describes as InPEAKS/PEAKS in his article that takes “A Look at BRICS Derivatives and Alter Egos”, which he says are the BRICS’ countries’ “partners in key regional blocks or continental alliances with a substantial size of the financial market/economy and scope for playing catch-up to the BRICS core: Argentina in South America, Kazakhstan in the CIS, Pakistan in South Asia, Egypt in Africa, Indonesia in East Asia. The unifying acronym for this group of countries is InPEAKs — the countries in this group may be viewed as the ‘second generation’ of BRICS countries coming from the same regions as the BRICS themselves. A moderate variation of the composition of this group would involve the selection of the largest economies by GDP in the respective regions: Egypt in Africa, South Korea in East Asia, as well as Pakistan in South Asia, Argentina in South America, and Kazakhstan in the Eurasian Economic Union. The resulting acronym — PEAKS — is suggestive of a strategy of portfolio allocation in EM and frontier markets that targets an optimal derivative set of countries from the main regions/continents of the developing world. The value of deriving a grouping such as PEAKS/InPEAKs lies in the expansion of the BRICS investment domain to include more markets, resulting in superior optionality, longer investment horizons and risk diversification.”

To the best knowledge of the present article’s authors, this is the first time that Lissovolik or any Russian expert for that matter has discussed the role that Pakistan can play in Russia’s trans-regional integration strategy. He unfortunately didn’t elaborate on it and mostly just mentioned its name and that was it, but it’s a starting point from which to justify further research by Russian academics if they were so inclined. Lissovlik, who is well respected in the Russian academic community and whose work can objectively be described as influential, recognizes that Pakistan can be a more active player in trans-regional integration processes than it’s oftentimes portrayed as being by his peers, if even talked about at all in this context. It’s a member of SAARC, the SCO, BRICS+, and what he calls PEAKS/InPEAKs. It’s China’s top BRI partner, too. The case can therefore be made that it’s much too important of a partner for Russia to pass up, and that it’s unfortunate that more research hasn’t already been undertaken along this promising vector. Pakistan’s over 200 million people represent a promising market for the EAEU’s exports, and it would be extremely symbolic for the cause of civilizational cooperation (in contrast with Huntington’s fearmongering thesis about a supposedly inevitable “clash of civilizations” [Huntington 1996] if Russia and its economic partners greatly expanded their trade ties with such a massive Muslim country.

Given everything that’s been discussed thus far in the present article, the conclusion can be made that the next logical step of Russian foreign policy is to prioritize its connectivity with Pakistan through the GEP. The Russian Foreign Policy Concept of 2016 clearly describes the country’s grand strategic goals, of which the strengthening of the EAEU is one of the most important. This regional integration organization is envisaged to function as the core of the GEP and the broader connectivity initiatives proposed by Lissovolik. In pursuit of the latter, it’s only natural for Russia to expand its economic influence beyond the borders of its “Near Abroad” with both developed and developing economies alike such as Germany, Turkey, Iran, South Korea, and Japan. Pakistan fits into this strategic paradigm by being a nearby country “beyond the Near Abroad” just like the aforementioned five, among others. Although its economy isn’t yet as impressive as them, it has enormous potential because of the $60 billion that China plans to invest into CPEC, which is one of BRI’s flagship projects. China is expected to rely more upon this trade route in the future because of its grand geostrategic significance in connecting the People’s Republic with the Indian Ocean Region, the Mideast, and Africa. It would therefore be an inexplicable neglect of Russia’s foreign policy goals not to explore the potential for strengthening relations with Pakistan, which is why it’s hoped that the present article can inspire others to fulfill that role and make up for lost time. Relations between both continues continue to improve, so now is an advantageous moment to do so. With this in mind, several proposals can be made for taking relations to the next step and fully exploring the future role that Pakistan could play in the GEP.

Policy Proposals

Most immediately, Russian experts need to appreciate the significance that Pakistan holds for the GEP, something that is evidently lacking at present and which explains the dearth of research into this topic. That can prospectively be accomplished by more interactions between each country’s professional communities, whether academic, diplomatic, business, or otherwise. There are already small-scale engagements between the two, but they must be intensified and expanded as soon as possible. This could be brought about by engaging with one another’s existing contacts and expressing a willingness to expand ties. Still, without the proper framing, this might not accomplish much, hence why it’s imperative that Russia becomes better acquainted with CPEC, both in general in the sense that it’s one of the flagship projects of BRI and more specifically with the many projects that comprise it, both current and planned. One effective proposal would be to request the Pakistani Embassy in Moscow to help arrange CPEC tours, or even better, for that said diplomatic office to proactively suggest as much through its contacts with Russia’s leading think tanks. CPEC tours could be separate from, or in parallel with, Russian visits to Pakistani think tanks and government bodies that could directly help take ties to the next level.

Once Russians are more aware of what CPEC is and how it endows Pakistan with an important prospective role in the GEP, the next step is to discuss modalities for tapping into these opportunities. The expert communities of both countries should organize topical conferences on this dealing with the political, economic, and other aspects of bilateral cooperation and the potential for multilateral cooperation. For example, serious discussions could be held about the companies most likely to take advantage of the future establishment of the reliable banking system that the Russian Trade Representative to Pakistan proposed in November 2019 following the settlement of the two sides’ Soviet-era debt around the same time that had hitherto been an obstacle to significant economic cooperation between them. Russia’s state-owned companies might be interested in participating, though Pakistan also has the responsibility to propose relevant projects that they might be best suited for. These could be determined by their expert communities after holding conferences on this topic. In addition, economic ties must broaden to include small-and medium-sized businesses, to which end it’s necessary to figure out the most cost-effective logistical connections between these two connections, which brings to mind the possibility of a trans-Afghan economic corridor in the event that the war in that landlocked country eventually ends. This too could be a subject of intense discussion between both sides.

Impressive progress was recently made on this front in December 2019. RT reported that a 64-member delegation of Russian businessmen led by Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov traveled to Pakistan for a four-day visit and signed several billion dollars’ worth of mostly unspecified agreements. Some of the details that were disclosed revealed that “Russia will provide financial assistance worth $1 billion for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) project” and “the two sides also discussed investments in the much-delayed North-South gas pipeline.” In addition, “Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) planes will be supplied on both wet and dry lease with an option to purchase, according to Pakistani officials”, and “Moscow will also help to construct a railway track from Quetta to Taftan.” The report also went on to remind the reader that “earlier this year, Russia promised a $14 billion investment in Pakistan’s energy sector, including $2.5 billion for the North-South pipeline project”, which is why “a Russian company has developed a project to convert the Muzaffargarh thermal power station to coal and establish a 600-megawatt coal red power plant at Jamshoro.” Importantly, RT also shared some hard data about the current state of trade between Russia and Pakistan. According to the outlet, “the two nations aim to increase bilateral trade which last year stood at $700 million. Pakistan’s exports to Russia reached $150 million while imports from Russia are worth $250 million.” Another RT report released around the same time quoted Alexey Kupriyanov, a research fellow at Moscow’s Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), as “suggest[ing] that Russia will not go to extremes even if Pakistan truly wishes this to come true. When engaging Islamabad, Moscow could rely on ‘some traditional spheres of cooperation,’ namely economy and security, provided that ‘it doesn’t touch upon Pakistani actions and claims regarding Jammu and Kashmir.’”

With a view towards achieving the aforementioned aim of increasing bilateral trade, a post-war trans-Afghan corridor could conceptually function as the northern branch of CPEC, prospectively called N-CPEC+ (with “N” referring to North and the “+” referring to the expanded framework like it does in BRICS+). Russia, both as a state and also some of its state-owned and even private companies, might be reluctant to participate in any CPEC-branded projects owing to their sensitivities about o ending their Indian partners, so bilateral economic cooperation could proceed according to a different conceptual euphemism even if it’s still referred to as N-CPEC+ for simplicity’s sake inside of Pakistan. What’s most important, however, is to create a frame of conceptual reference within which to view their developing trade and integration ties. That said, it’s equally important to be aware of the limitations involved, such as the near-impossibility of formal trade ties between the EAEU and Pakistan owing to Islamabad’s refusal to recognize EAEU member Armenia out of solidarity with Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, just like Russia and other EAEU members have strong bilateral trade ties with Azerbaijan in spite of its disagreements with Armenia, so too can they have the same with Pakistan. In other words, while the national interests of Russia’s Indian and Armenian partners might pose some political challenges to its closer trade ties with Pakistan, they aren’t insurmountable by any means since pragmatic workarounds can easily be devised to overcome them.

If successful, then N-CPEC+ could do more than just improve Pakistan’s trade ties with Russia, but also boost its trade with the Central Asian Republics. Pakistani-Kyrgyzstani trade was practically non-existent at only slightly more than $3.5 million in 2016, which is why both sides agreed in May 2019 to try to raise it to $10 million a year. As for Pakistani-Kazakhstani trade, it fell well short of its potential at less than $25 million a year in 2018, but that didn’t stop the latter’s ambassador in Islamabad from hoping that it could one day grow to $250-500 million as part of his country’s his country’s “Strategy 2050”, to which end he drafted a roadmap for achieving this in early 2019. Pakistani-Turkmenistani trade was slightly better at $29 million in 2016, but has the possibility to greatly increase upon completion of the planned Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistani-India (TAPI) pipeline sometime later this decade. Pakistan’s trade with Tajikistan is more than double that at $62 million a year, though they ambitiously plan to increase it to $500 million a year in the future. Out of all the Central Asian Republics, it’s Pakistan’s trade with Uzbekistan that’s by and far the most impressive, more than doubling from $36 million in 2017 to over $90 million in 2018, with an eye towards tripling its 2019 amount of around $100 million to $300 million “very soon”. The successful completion of N-CPEC+ would therefore greatly contribute to the growth of Pakistan’s trade ties with the Central Asian Republics, especially since the latter could use CPEC’s terminal port of Gwadar to access the vast Indo-Paci c marketplace. Furthermore, Pakistani-Afghanistani trade, which sat at around $1 billion in 2018 (representing a 20% decrease from the year prior after Afghanistan began using India’s Iranian port of Chabahar more frequently for political reasons), would also likely increase as well, to say nothing of Afghanistan’s trade ties with the Central Asian Republics and Russia further a field as the latter two conduct more trade with Pakistan via its territory.

In conclusion, the research argues that Pakistan could play a somewhat surprising role (relative to the existing opinion of most Russian experts) in the GEP, though this hasn’t been widely recognized because of an overall lack of interest in the country and an unawareness about CPEC. This is attributable to the fact that Russia and Pakistan only recently began their rapprochement and still have a long way to go before entering into a meaningful partnership that goes beyond diplomatic coordination in bringing peace to Afghanistan and carrying out yearly anti-terrorist drills, both of which are enormous milestones compared to their previous state of relations but which are still insufficient for inspiring a critical mass of proactive research into the other’s long-term potential as a partner. As has been demonstrated through the research, however, Pakistan is poised to play a promising role in the GEP given that it’s indispensable to the success of this vision. It is the last remaining piece of the Eurasian connectivity puzzle which Russia has yet to fully appreciate, though it may only be a matter of time before that realization dawns on its decision makers. As BRI becomes a more influential catalyst for international systemic change, it’s predicted that Russia will naturally become more aware of its flagship project of CPEC, and with that, a new trend of research into Pakistan might commence shortly thereafter.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Russia

Putin. Russia costruisce base navale in Sudan.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-12-05.

Sudan 001

«Пункт материально-технического обеспечения Военно-морского флота (ВМФ) РФ в Судане может быть создан за три-четыре месяца, сообщил “Интерфаксу” во вторник бывший начальник Главного штаба ВМФ адмирал в отставке Виктор Кравченко.

“На мой взгляд, месяца три-четыре будет достаточно для того, чтобы создать инфраструктуру, и наши корабли смогут туда заходить, пополнять запасы и осуществлять какой-то ремонт”, – сказал Кравченко.»

*

Per uscire dagli abiti ristretti di superpotenza nucleare, ma di potenza locoregionale marittima, la Russia di Mr Putin inizia a cercarsi basi navali nei diversi oceani, iniziando da quello Indiano.

Ma basterebbe guardare con attenzione la carta geografica per comprendere come una base navale russa in Sudan, sulle coste del Mar Rosso, costituirebbe una prelazione sui traffici marittimi diretti al canale di Suez, e di lì al Mediterraneo.

Più che base navale sarebbe appropriato dire base strategica.

* * * * * * *

«President Vladimir Putin issued a decree authorizing Russia’s Ministry of Defense to sign an agreement with Sudan to create a permanent Russian military base, or “naval supply station” (punkt materialno-tekhnicheskogo snabzenya)»

«The location of the new naval facility will be close to the main Sudanese trading port—Port Sudan—where several patrol boats that comprise the Sudanese Navy are also based»

«The basing agreement will last 25 years, with a possible prolongation for another decade, with mutual consent»

«The Russian naval garrison will be some 300 strong, with armed guards to provide security. All locally stationed Russian personnel will enjoy full diplomatic exterritorial immunity»

«The base will be able to berth up to four warships, “including nuclear-powered vessels»

«Russia will provide anti-aircraft defenses to cover both its own base and the nearby Sudanese naval assets in Port Sudan»

«In recent years, Moscow been extending its influence across Africa; but the base in Sudan is naval, so it is more about projecting force beyond the continent into the maritime shipping lanes of the Red Sea connecting Asia and Europe, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf and the Indian Ocean»

«The United States maintains a strategically important base on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia Island (Indian Ocean)»

«And the 5th US Fleet has its home base in Manama, Bahrain»

«The draft agreement with Sudan mentions the possible presence of nuclear-powered warships, but the only Russian surface nuclear-power ship today is the Pyotr Velikiy (Kirov class), which, apparently, is not fully operational»

«Russia has been expanding its naval forces by constructing different types of corvettes and small missile ships»

«Many of these vessels are equipped with universal vertical 3С-14 launch tubes, allowing them to fire different nuclear-capable anti-ship or long-range Kalibr cruise missiles»

«With a nuclear-tipped missile, a Russian corvette could potentially singlehandedly destroy a US carrier group, or Diego Garcia, or any other strategically important target»

«The facility’s strategic importance outweighs its size, however, as a naval outpost in Sudan would expand maritime Russian influence in northeast Africa, along vital shipping routes in the Red Sea and in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait»

«And if the base in Sudan genuinely proves able to support nuclear-powered vessels, it could become a significant new operational location for Russia’s nuclear submarines»

«Putin told participants, “Today, military personnel from 20 African countries are studying at higher education institutions of the Russian defense ministry. Our military and military technical cooperation [MTC] is aimed at strengthening African armed forces’ combat capabilities. Russia has MTC agreements with over 30 countries, which we supply with a wide range of armaments and equipment”»

«But there may just be enough Middle Eastern states, from Iran to Yemen, dissatisfied with current US and European policies that could provide a sympathetic hearing for Russian initiatives»

* * * * * * *

Ogni azione umana ha i suoi inizi, piccoli e delicati, ma che nel tempo dovrebbero esitare anche in situazioni di largo respiro.

Di certo la Russia di Mr Putin sta guardando con una visione strategica pluridecennale.

*


Адмирал заявил, что создание пункта ВМФ РФ в Судане займет 3-4 месяца

Москва. 17 ноября. INTERFAX.RU – Пункт материально-технического обеспечения Военно-морского флота (ВМФ) РФ в Судане может быть создан за три-четыре месяца, сообщил “Интерфаксу” во вторник бывший начальник Главного штаба ВМФ адмирал в отставке Виктор Кравченко.

“На мой взгляд, месяца три-четыре будет достаточно для того, чтобы создать инфраструктуру, и наши корабли смогут туда заходить, пополнять запасы и осуществлять какой-то ремонт”, – сказал Кравченко.

*


Russia to Build Naval Base in Sudan.

President Vladimir Putin issued a decree authorizing Russia’s Ministry of Defense to sign an agreement with Sudan to create a permanent Russian military base, or “naval supply station” (punkt materialno-tekhnicheskogo snabzenya). The location of the new naval facility will be close to the main Sudanese trading port—Port Sudan—where several patrol boats that comprise the Sudanese Navy are also based. The basing agreement will last 25 years, with a possible prolongation for another decade, with mutual consent. The Russian naval garrison will be some 300 strong, with armed guards to provide security. All locally stationed Russian personnel will enjoy full diplomatic exterritorial immunity. The base will be able to berth up to four warships, “including nuclear-powered vessels.” Russia will not pay the Sudanese authorities any rent, but it has apparently agreed to ship pro bono some military supplies and weapons to Sudan under a separate, additional agreement. Moscow will organize and pay for construction work to establish the base, including living quarters, warehouses, naval maintenance facilities and docks. Moreover, Russia will provide anti-aircraft defenses to cover both its own base and the nearby Sudanese naval assets in Port Sudan. The draft agreement makes no mention of any Russian airbase in Sudan in addition to the announced naval supply station, but Russian aircraft will apparently be allowed to use Sudanese airspace. A large international airport is situated south of Port Sudan, and Moscow might be allowed to utilize it. The number of Russian military personnel in Sudan may be increased above the initial 300, according to the draft agreement (Interfax, November 16).

During the Cold War, the Russian military and navy were present in South Yemen, at the entrance to the Red Sea, when this former British colony was ruled by a Marxist regime. Moreover, Russian troops under the guise of military advisors were deployed in Ethiopia when that country had a Marxist regime. The Russian military in Ethiopia was engaged in fighting anti-government rebels, primarily Tigrayans, and independence-seeking insurgents in Eritrea. Russian naval ships were deployed on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea (then part of Ethiopia) and were involved in fighting the rebels. By 1991, as the Cold War and the Soviet Union were coming to an end, the Ethiopian regime collapsed, Eritrea gained independence, and the Russians withdrew from the region. Russia had withdrawn from South Yemen before, as that country sank into a bloody civil war. Now, Moscow is back, establishing a military foothold in a region it sees as strategically important (Novaya Gazeta, November 19).

In recent years, Moscow been extending its influence across Africa; but the base in Sudan is naval, so it is more about projecting force beyond the continent into the maritime shipping lanes of the Red Sea connecting Asia and Europe, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. The United States maintains a strategically important base on the British overseas territory of Diego Garcia Island (Indian Ocean). And the 5th US Fleet has its home base in Manama, Bahrain. The headquarters of US Central Command (USCC) and US Air Force Central Command (USAFCC) are at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. US carrier strike groups travel in and out of the Suez Canal and through the Red Sea from bases on the United States’ East Coast to the Gulf region and back again. Sometimes US ships launch cruise missiles and aerial attacks against Middle Eastern targets directly from the Red Sea, which has been considered relatively safe up to now. According to Russian military experts, the new base in Sudan will be a welcome extension to the existing Russian naval and air bases in Syria that have now been extended to house “tens of warships, [and] provide maintenance and supplies together with air support,” according to Russia’s defense minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu (Interfax, November 17).

The draft agreement with Sudan mentions the possible presence of nuclear-powered warships, but the only Russian surface nuclear-power ship today is the Pyotr Velikiy (Kirov class), which, apparently, is not fully operational. The vessel has not recently been deployed out of the Barents Sea as it awaits its sister nuclear cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov, to finish a lengthy and costly refurbishment (remont) in Severodvinsk. After the Nakhimov finishes its remont and is operational, the Pyotr Velikiy is apparently scheduled to take its place to undergo a remont in turn. The plan to begin building (before the end of 2020) Lider-class nuclear powered super-destroyers of up to 20,000-ton displacement, armed as heavily as the Kirov-class cruisers, but sleeker and stealthier, has been shelved indefinitely because of lack of money, the low price of oil and the COVID-19 pandemic. No nuclear-powered Russian ships look to be available to be based in Sudan anytime soon (Novaya Gazeta, November 19).

Russia has not built any destroyers since the early 1990s, when several Sovremenny-class ships were exported to China. As such, the Russian navy has no operational destroyers left today. Moreover, Russia has had problems equipping new frigates with engines that, prior to 2014, were produced in Ukraine—now a hostile country. Russia has been expanding its naval forces by constructing different types of corvettes and small missile ships. Many of these vessels are equipped with universal vertical 3С-14 launch tubes, allowing them to fire different nuclear-capable anti-ship or long-range Kalibr cruise missiles (see EDM, May 4, 2017, August 1, 2017, July 29, 2020). With a nuclear-tipped missile, a Russian corvette could potentially singlehandedly destroy a US carrier group, or Diego Garcia, or any other strategically important target. Russian admirals are forced to use these small ships as a strategic asset, but in truth, these small ships have limited seaworthiness, weak air defenses, and carry a limited supply of long-range missiles. To pose any credible strategic threat in the Indian Ocean, this Russian mosquito fleet absolutely needs a base in the region to resupply and rearm. It is possible, therefore, that the clause about nuclear-powered ships in the draft basing agreement is actually a cover story to allow Russia to covertly deploy nuclear weapons to the Sudanese base to be put onboard corvettes in a time of crisis (Novaya Gazeta, November 19).

*


Russian Naval Base in Sudan: Extending Moscow’s Influence in Middle East and North Africa.

Russia is determinedly expanding its influence in Africa. On November 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order for the country to build a naval base on Sudan’s Red Sea coast, its first in Africa since the end of the Cold War. According to Putin’s instruction, the Russian navy is to build a base for 300 personnel and dock space for up to four warships, including nuclear-powered vessels (Pravo.gov.ru, November 16; see EDM, November 19). Sudan has leased Russia land for the naval “logistics center” for 25 years, with an option for decade-long extensions. Retired Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, a former chief of staff of the Russian Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Мorskoi Flot—VMF), estimates construction time for the facility to take three to four months (Interfax, November 17). The complex will be located near the Sudanese Navy’s main base at Flamingo Bay and just north of Port Sudan, the country’s main coastal port on the Red Sea.

The base agreement builds upon earlier Russian diplomatic initiatives with Sudan. In November 2017, Sudan’s then-president Omar al-Bashir—facing personal pressure from the United States—discussed the possibility of creating a Russian military base in his country during meetings in Sochi with Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (Izvestia, November 25, 2017; see EDM, November 29, 2017 and December 6, 2017). Despite a 2019 coup that removed al-Bashir from power, discussions continued with his successor, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan. Two years later, on January 9, 2019, then–Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved a draft agreement with Sudan on a simplified procedure for the entry of warships into the ports of both countries as well as on broader bilateral military cooperation (RIA Novosti, January 9, 2019). Under the terms of the agreement, last month (October 2020), Russia transferred a UK-307 training boat from the VMF to Sudan (Vedomosti, November 11).

It is important to note the relatively modest dimensions of the planned new naval facility, at least initially. According to Russian military expert and Middle East specialist Iuri Liamin, “Let us make it clear again: This is not quite a [full-fledged] naval base but a logistics support center. This concerns the numbers, infrastructure and equipment” (Moskovsky Komsomolets, November 12).

The facility’s strategic importance outweighs its size, however, as a naval outpost in Sudan would expand maritime Russian influence in northeast Africa, along vital shipping routes in the Red Sea and in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. An interim stated task for Russian warships deployed there could be to participate in anti-piracy patrols off Somalia, where the European Union’s Naval Force Atalanta (EU NAVFOR) had been operating since December 2008. As the European Council extended the Atalanta mission only until the end of December, Russian Sudan-based warships could assist in filling the imminent power vacuum there (Eunavfor.eu, accessed November 25).

Additionally, Russia’s naval facility at Tartus in Syria, which it has been expanding since intervening in the Syrian conflict, has altered the strategic equation of the Eastern Mediterranean by outflanking the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) control of the Turkish Straits. The new Sudan base will further augment Russia’s proximity to the Suez Canal, through which about 10 percent of all world maritime traffic passes, by providing a new naval stronghold south of that choke point.

Moreover, the Sudanese port will provide a more convenient stop-and-resupply opportunity for Russian VMF surface warships transiting from the Indian Ocean or Gulf of Aden to the Mediterranean—no longer forcing them to first travel all the way up the Red Sea, through the busy Suez Canal, and onward across the Eastern Mediterranean. And if the base in Sudan genuinely proves able to support nuclear-powered vessels, it could become a significant new operational location for Russia’s nuclear submarines. This would permit Moscow to project force eastward, into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, currently reachable most easily by ship from Russia’s distant Pacific bases. A second benefit of Russian naval projections into the Arabian Sea is, of course, to “fly the flag” and support one of its most important regional partners, sanctions-plagued Iran.

The Russian government places its efforts in Sudan within the larger context of restoring influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), lost after the 1991 disintegration of the Soviet Union. In October 2019, the Russian government hosted its first Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, attended by more than 54 African heads of state. A high-priority agenda item was deepening military contacts: Putin told participants, “Today, military personnel from 20 African countries are studying at higher education institutions of the Russian defense ministry. Our military and military technical cooperation [MTC] is aimed at strengthening African armed forces’ combat capabilities. Russia has MTC agreements with over 30 countries, which we supply with a wide range of armaments and equipment” (Kremlin.ru, October 24, 2019). Building on those summit’s initiatives, in February 2020, Russian ambassador to Khartoum Vladimir Zheltov discussed Sudan’s interest in establishing bilateral military-technical cooperation while explaining that Russia’s development of MTC with African states represents “an organic and logical manifestation of our country’s desire to return to this continent, taking into account the considerable backlog created during the Soviet period” (RIA Novosti, February 9).

Moscow’s Sudan initiative should, thus, be understood as part of a larger Russian government agenda to reassert its authority in the MENA region as a counterweight to NATO and the United States. Russian naval efforts are further crowding a congested maritime arena—neighboring Djibouti, the US, Japan, China, France and Italy all already have a military presence in these waters. Whether Putin’s efforts can eventually rebuild the levels of Soviet regional influence remains to be seen. But there may just be enough Middle Eastern states, from Iran to Yemen, dissatisfied with current US and European policies that could provide a sympathetic hearing for Russian initiatives.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Putin, Russia

Putin il Grande. Inaugurazione anno accademico. La ‘Memoria Storica’.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2020-11-06.

Kursk 001

Mr Putin si conferma statista di grande levatura ed anche filosofo della storia.

Un Putin inedito, che parla a degli studenti: un linguaggio sorprendentemente semplice ma altrettanto sorprendentemente chiaro, inequivocabile.

«Vladimir Putin attended, via videoconference, the nationwide Remembering is Knowing open lesson»

«In addition to students, the lesson was attended by cadets at the pre-university academies of the Defence Ministry, including the Tver Suvorov Military Academy, Presidential cadet academies in Kemerovo and Petrozavodsk, and the Nakhimov Naval Academy in Kaliningrad»

Un testo da rileggersi più volte.

* * * * * * *


«The open online lesson is held for high school students and this year is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Year of Memory and Glory»

«First of all, I would like to offer my heartfelt greetings to all the students and schoolchildren who are starting a new academic year and, of course, wish them good luck – especially first-grade pupils who are entering schools for the first time»

«Certainly, I would like to offer my sincere greetings to your parents, mums and dads, as well as grandmothers and grandfathers and your entire families who are supporting you, caring for you and believing in you»

«your grandparents, parents and everybody at school and at home»

Già l’introduzione è tutta un programma.

Il saluto agli studenti è integrato in quello alle loro famiglie. Un padre maschio ed una madre femmina, i quali si integrano con le nonne ed i nonni, con tutti gli altri parenti.

Il concetto russo di famiglia, ben sintetizzato da Mr Putin, è quello che deriva dal retaggio religioso, storico, politico, economico e sociale che la Russia ha elaborato nel corso di un millennio. È un concetto semplicemente opposto a quello espresso dall’ideologia liberal nutrita da una buona parte dell’occidente.

*

«Knowledge Day is always a celebration touched by a special excitement as students are anticipating meeting their classmates and favourite teachers, with whom they will learn, debate and dream about the future together»

«It should be stressed that some restrictions will still be in place and I would like to specifically ask you to observe them»

«These restrictions are necessary to protect your health and the health of others around you – your grandparents, parents and everybody at school and at home»

*

«You are growing up and it is happening in a rapidly changing world with the swift development of technologies, influencing the most diverse areas of our lives, where scientific achievements make it possible for us to do today what seemed sheer fantasy only yesterday»

«And what is important is that the pace of these changes (and this is typical of the contemporary world) is huge and it will keep on increasing, and the world, which is complex enough even now, is becoming still more complex»

«You, just like the adults beside you, we all are following an unbeaten path»

«However, no matter how fast the speed of change, there are things that will remain fundamental and unshakable»

«And I am sure they will be a firm ethical basis and a reliable reference point for you, which will always help you find the right path in life»

«Above all, the history of our country and respect for it»

«Also, our culture that has given us and the entire world a constellation of brilliant personalities and an immense number of masterpieces»

«And finally, our traditions. And of course, our common memory, which ties us inseparably to our ancestors, to many generations of people, our relatives, who lived, studied, started families and dreamed as we are dreaming today, and created»

«And they also defended all this»

«And all this is our Fatherland»

«year we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Great Victory. You are still very young but I am sure that the Great Patriotic War and the victory in that war is not just a page in a textbook for you, but an important part of not only our common history, the country’s history, but also your family history.»

«I mean the stories told by you grandmothers and grandfathers about themselves and their relatives, their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers. Their carefully kept letters, photos and decorations are still preserved in many families»

« ll of us honour the memory of our heroes; we admire them and their courage and staunchness, and the more we learn, the more we become convinced that no trial is more complicated or tragic than a war. Wars deprive people of a future, destroy dreams, ruin lives and have no mercy for anyone.»

«Very young people, agemates of today’s high school pupils, joined the army or partisans. Many of them claimed to be several years older to get a chance to fight the enemy»

«The teenagers who worked on the home front transferred part of their earnings to defence and the front. This is how entire tank columns, planes and complete air squadrons were built and named after them, like the Saratov Student, the Perm Pioneer or the Tatar Komsomolets»

«Our victory was a common achievement. And this sacred heroism of the entire nation must never be forgotten»

*

«We must all realise and feel what is happening today»

«Because after World War II, the world order and the rules that we live by today were created»

«And there are some who believe that after the end of the Cold War …. they turned out to be winners; who believe that they are exceptional and the world order that was built after WWII needs to be changed. Creating conditions for such changes implies tweaking and rewriting actual historical events»

«As we know …. people who cooperate with the enemy during a war are called and have always and everywhere been called collaborationists. Those who agree with the rewriters of history can easily be called the collaborationists of today. These people have always existed and will always exist, everywhere»

«Some of our people were to be killed in concentration camps and gas chambers while some were to be used as slaves in forced labour. Those they did not find useful were supposed to be exiled to the east of the Urals, to East Siberia – basically, to die out»

«Back then, the fighting was terrible on both sides»

«I have already spoken about the Nazis’ plans and their real actions, but we saw some of that on the other side as well: for example, senseless destruction, to a certain degree, such as bombing of the German city of Dresden. The city was completely destroyed, for no military reason at all»

*

«The value of knowledge is high as well today. Knowledge is becoming the main development resource in the sphere of global competition»

«With the guiding hand of your teachers, I would like to wish all of you the possibility to achieve your goals, and I am quite sure that each of you has some specific talent. My wish is that you identify your strong sides and use them, use your hands and brains to become successful in life»

«However, as I mentioned, it depends on you alone, on your diligence and persistence to turn these opportunities into your future achievements in your profession, career, sports and science. As I have said more than once, your success ultimately translates into the success of the country as a whole.»

«I would like to wish you once again to remain inquisitive, seeking answers to thousands upon thousands of questions, and at the same time to remain kind-hearted and willing to extend a helping hand to those who may need it»

«I wish you all every success. Happy Knowledge Day!»

* * * * * * *


C’è ben poco da commentare, ma molto da rimuginare.

Un paese dimentico del proprio passato, ovvero anche indaffarato a distruggerne ricordo e vestigia, si condanna a devolvere, a scomparire, essendo state perse le proprie radici identitarie.

Il confronto con altre realtà attuali è davvero stridente.

*


Kremlin. Remembering is Knowing open lesson

Vladimir Putin attended, via videoconference, the nationwide Remembering is Knowing open lesson.

The open online lesson is held for high school students and this year is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Year of Memory and Glory.

The President talked with students from Crimea, Karelia, Chuvashia, Krasnodar and Kamchatka territories, Novosibirsk, Kursk, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Novgorod, Lipetsk, Ryazan, Vladimir, Kirov and Kemerovo regions, as well as Moscow.

In addition to students, the lesson was attended by cadets at the pre-university academies of the Defence Ministry, including the Tver Suvorov Military Academy, Presidential cadet academies in Kemerovo and Petrozavodsk, and the Nakhimov Naval Academy in Kaliningrad.

The lesson was moderated by Viktoria Skripnikova, teacher of history and social sciences and winner of the Teacher of the Year 2019 nationwide contest, and Yana Churikova, TV host, journalist and Co-Chair of the Russian Movement of School Students.

* * *

Yana Churikova: Good afternoon, friends,

Let’s begin our nationwide open lesson. Today your teachers – well, not exactly teachers but a journalist and a teacher – will be me, Yana Churikova, and Viktoria Skripnikova. I would like to say a few words about her specially, because Viktoria won the Teacher of the Year 2019 contest. I am sure that the entire 9A class, all the pupils you teach history to are watching you from the faraway Kamchatka Territory, the village of Nikolayevka, and sending you their regards. It is an honour for me to hold this open lesson with you today.

Viktoria Skripnikova: Good afternoon, Yana. Thank you very much.

Today we have an excellent opportunity to talk to the entire country, share our impressions of the summer holidays and talk about the future.

Of course, we could not ignore a very important topic today. As you know, this year in Russia is the Year of Memory and Glory. We celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory. It is extremely important to preserve the historical memory, because remembering means knowing. This is the main theme of our online lesson today.

Yana Churikova: Remembering is Knowing is the theme of today’s online lesson.

I would like to note that it is great that on September 1, 2020, we have finally switched from online to offline, and today pupils, as usual, met at school, gave flowers to their teachers and finally sat down behind their desks. Congratulations. Hurray!

And now let’s return to the theme of our open lesson. Eyes on the screen.

(A video is shown.)

Viktoria Skripnikova: Right now we are at the central studio of the National University of Science and Technology MISiS. And today we will talk about a terrible topic, a terrible history of the 20th century: the Great Patriotic War. A war that affected not only adult Russians, but also children of the same age as you.

Yana Churikova: How can we prevent this history from becoming remote but keep it alive in our minds and, most importantly, in our hearts? Let’s test what we remember and know and find out what prevails in the minds of today’s pupils.

Viktoria Skripnikova: Twelve Russian regions have joined us today.

Yana Churikova: Welcome, everyone. We hope that the connection will be good today. And, friends, please welcome our special guest: President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

Good afternoon, Mr President. Welcome.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Yana. Good afternoon, Viktoria.

Good afternoon to everybody who can see and hear us.

First of all, I would like to offer my heartfelt greetings to all the students and schoolchildren who are starting a new academic year and, of course, wish them good luck – especially first-grade pupils who are entering schools for the first time.

Certainly, I would like to offer my sincere greetings to your parents, mums and dads, as well as grandmothers and grandfathers and your entire families who are supporting you, caring for you and believing in you.

Knowledge Day is always a celebration touched by a special excitement as students are anticipating meeting their classmates and favourite teachers, with whom they will learn, debate and dream about the future together. These emotions are particularly strong this year.

They are particularly strong this year because during the spring months, you all, or the majority of you, I hope, realised how much you miss school and ordinary lessons in classrooms. Right now schools and the entire education system are returning to their normal activities, with school bells and breaks, and in-person communication between students and teachers. Of course, this return is a major event and a great joy for everybody.

It should be stressed that some restrictions will still be in place and I would like to specifically ask you to observe them. These restrictions are necessary to protect your health and the health of others around you – your grandparents, parents and everybody at school and at home.

Friends,

You are growing up and it is happening in a rapidly changing world with the swift development of technologies, influencing the most diverse areas of our lives, where scientific achievements make it possible for us to do today what seemed sheer fantasy only yesterday. And what is important is that the pace of these changes (and this is typical of the contemporary world) is huge and it will keep on increasing, and the world, which is complex enough even now, is becoming still more complex. Probably no one today can be 100 percent sure what subjects will be studied by today’s first year schoolchildren, whom we greeted at the beginning, what they will study in high school, which skills and professions will be most in demand in the 2030s.

You, just like the adults beside you, we all are following an unbeaten path. Well, it must have always been so, but I will say it again, the pace of these changes is increasing. However, no matter how fast the speed of change, there are things that will remain fundamental and unshakable. And I am sure they will be a firm ethical basis and a reliable reference point for you, which will always help you find the right path in life.

What do I mean? Above all, the history of our country and respect for it. Also, our culture that has given us and the entire world a constellation of brilliant personalities and an immense number of masterpieces. And finally, our traditions. And of course, our common memory, which ties us inseparably to our ancestors, to many generations of people, our relatives, who lived, studied, started families and dreamed as we are dreaming today, and created. And they also defended all this. And all this is our Fatherland.

This year we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Great Victory. You are still very young but I am sure that the Great Patriotic War and the victory in that war is not just a page in a textbook for you, but an important part of not only our common history, the country’s history, but also your family history.

I mean the stories told by you grandmothers and grandfathers about themselves and their relatives, their parents, grandmothers and grandfathers. Their carefully kept letters, photos and decorations are still preserved in many families.

Practically every family has its own war heroes, and nearly every Russian city, town and village has war memorials where people come to pay their respects to those who fought heroically for our Motherland.

An integral part of our national code and a synergic component of all people in our country are the poignant books and verses devoted to the war, many of which were written by those who fought on the frontline, the heart-breaking films about the Great Patriotic War, which strike a deep cord, and the songs that are the voice of our hearts. I believe you know them as well.

All of us honour the memory of our heroes; we admire them and their courage and staunchness, and the more we learn, the more we become convinced that no trial is more complicated or tragic than a war. Wars deprive people of a future, destroy dreams, ruin lives and have no mercy for anyone.

Very young people, agemates of today’s high school pupils, joined the army or partisans. Many of them claimed to be several years older to get a chance to fight the enemy. Teenagers and mere children worked at the factories and plants, which were moved away from the frontline, without any concessions to age, because they knew that nobody could do it other than them and their mothers. The teenagers who worked on the home front transferred part of their earnings to defence and the front. This is how entire tank columns, planes and complete air squadrons were built and named after them, like the Saratov Student, the Perm Pioneer or the Tatar Komsomolets. Just as those who fought on the frontline, people on the home front worked heroically, which is why we have introduced the honorary title of City of Labour Glory this year. It has already been awarded to 20 cities.

During the war, young people your age worked selflessly to help the country and fought on a par with adults in its defence. The entire nation rose against the horrible Nazi threat, both on the frontline and away from it. Our victory was a common achievement. And this sacred heroism of the entire nation must never be forgotten.

We must all realise and feel what is happening today. It may seem sometimes that it is no longer important because it happened so long ago, 75 years ago; that it has nothing to do with our life today and is not something interesting any more. I assure you that this is absolutely not true. Why? Because after World War II, the world order and the rules that we live by today were created. And there are some who believe that after the end of the Cold War (the heated World War II, a very violent war, was, unfortunately, followed by a cold war, a confrontation between different countries) they turned out to be winners; who believe that they are exceptional and the world order that was built after WWII needs to be changed. Creating conditions for such changes implies tweaking and rewriting actual historical events.

As we know (as a history teacher, Viktoria knows), people who cooperate with the enemy during a war are called and have always and everywhere been called collaborationists. Those who agree with the rewriters of history can easily be called the collaborationists of today. These people have always existed and will always exist, everywhere. They may have different motives which we are not going to discuss now. But it is important to understand that this matter is very topical these days.

We must know and remember the people who defended peace and freedom in our country, and remember those horrible years of war. It is our duty to those who fell, to our family history, the present and future generations. We must remember this, so that the horrors of Nazism and the tragedy of war will never happen again.

And do you know what the problem was? The problem was that the goal of the Nazis was not only clearing our country’s territory, subjugating the people of Russia and the Soviet Union, as they did in Europe, but also to eradicate the peoples of the Russian Federation and other Soviet republics.

What was their plan (that they fulfilled)? Some of our people were to be killed in concentration camps and gas chambers while some were to be used as slaves in forced labour. Those they did not find useful were supposed to be exiled to the east of the Urals, to East Siberia – basically, to die out. That was our enemies’ goal. It was a completely different story from what they were pursuing in Western Europe. If, like some people think today, we had surrendered our cities and towns without a fight, to spare our soldiers’ lives, we would have eventually lost that war, which would have resulted in the total extermination of almost all the peoples in the former Soviet Union and the present-day Russian Federation. This is the cost and value of the victory that our ancestors fought so hard to achieve.

I sincerely believe that you and your families will never have to face such ordeals. I regard this as a task for heads of state, responsible politicians, public activists and everyone who understand how fragile today’s world is.

Let me repeat: I believe that you will never have to live through such a thing. Back then, the fighting was terrible on both sides. I have already spoken about the Nazis’ plans and their real actions, but we saw some of that on the other side as well: for example, senseless destruction, to a certain degree, such as bombing of the German city of Dresden. The city was completely destroyed, for no military reason at all. The same is true about nuclear bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where nuclear weapons were used against a non-nuclear country.

I am absolutely sure that young people today have the same selflessness, love to your home country and the honest ambition to be useful to Russia as those who won this victory for us, as well as the opportunities to show their best qualities today.

Young people who returned from the war fronts – almost the same age as you – practically devoured knowledge and studied hard to make up for the lost time as quickly as possible. They understood the value of knowledge. Among other things, this helped Russia restore its economy and clearly reach top global positions in various areas.

Many outstanding Russian scientists, such as Noble Prize winners Alexander Prokhorov and Nikolai Basov, for example, fought in the Great Patriotic War when they were in their early twenties. Very young scientists, including Igor Kurchatov and Anatoly Aleksandrov worked towards victory on the home front, solving essential front tasks and laying the foundations of the future Russian missile and nuclear shield to ensure its security for many years to come, until today. Today over 100 research institutes are names after brilliant scientists who made their contribution to victory both on the frontline and on the home front and continued their research after.

The value of knowledge is high as well today. Knowledge is becoming the main development resource in the sphere of global competition. The tighter the competition for knowledge and among people and states, the more difficult yet also more interesting will it be for you to acquire knowledge – I have no doubt about this – and, by the way, more will depend on you personally. You can choose any path and take advantage of all the available resources of modern education.

With the guiding hand of your teachers, I would like to wish all of you the possibility to achieve your goals, and I am quite sure that each of you has some specific talent. My wish is that you identify your strong sides and use them, use your hands and brains to become successful in life. We are trying to create all the necessary opportunities for this. However, as I mentioned, it depends on you alone, on your diligence and persistence to turn these opportunities into your future achievements in your profession, career, sports and science. As I have said more than once, your success ultimately translates into the success of the country as a whole.

I would like to wish you once again to remain inquisitive, seeking answers to thousands upon thousands of questions, and at the same time to remain kind-hearted and willing to extend a helping hand to those who may need it.

The active development of the volunteer movement has shown that this is very important and that the people need this. This has always been important, but it is now more important than ever before. No matter what problems we may encounter in life – both you and us – I am sure that you will find a solution thanks to your cleverness, diligence and persistence. Please, do not forget that by joining forces you will always achieve more, especially in the present-day world, as I have said more than once, because collective efforts – and it is very important to learn to work in a team – bring the best results, helping you to overcome any difficulties and find answers to the difficult challenges the world is facing now.

I hope that the new academic year will be full of new discoveries for you. I would like to wish you every success. All of us, that is, the adult part of the nation, all of us believe in you; we are sure that you will be successful, and we are counting on your success.

Thank you.

Let’s start the discussion now, the Q&A session, and let’s hear what information those who are attending this lesson have for us.

<…>

(School pupils told the President how they reinstate and preserve the memory of the participants of the Great Patriotic War, including family histories, their participation in patriotic events, their current life and studies as well as their interests and hobbies. Vladimir Putin replied to a host of questions concerning remote education, cybersports, the goals to pursue and books to read. He praised them for displaying interest in the history of the Great Patriotic War, for devoting time to it and sharing their knowledge of it with their agemates.)

Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank our moderators: Yana and Viktoria. I know that you are not just moderators but took part in the preparations for this major event.

I would also like to thank the participants in our current meeting in different regions of the Russian Federation, in all the schools that have taken part in today’s open lesson in one way or another.

And, of course, I would like to congratulate those that began their studies today, on September 1. I would like to wish all of you every success, both university students and school pupils. I am quite sure that you will succeed in everything you do.

I would like to recall a wonderful proverb we have: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” I am absolutely sure that together with you we will resolve all the tasks facing the country. Why do I say “facing the country?” Because, strange as it may seem but even those who came to school for the first time, crossed over the school step and only started studying in the first class, are already tackling a very important national task by receiving the required knowledge and creating the conditions for the country’s forward movement. If each of us moves forward, the entire country is bound to move forward too.

I wish you all every success. Happy Knowledge Day!