Post by DmitrySlavist on Nov 23, 2004 17:32:05 GMT -5
Look people! Just cool down a bit Why so much prejudice for the Soviet symbols? Our grandfathers fought the racist brutal Nazi enemy and died under these symbols Not to mention that their battle cry was never "Za Stalina" or "Za Kommunism", but "Za Rodinu!". My dear Russian friends! Please dont assume that all warriors/generals of WWII were Russian. All peoples of USSR fought, especially other Slavs: Belorusians, Poles, Ukrainians, Czechoslovaks. General Rokossovski was Polish (one of the most brilliant but sadly forgotten generals), Marshal Bagramian was Armenian, etc. For the record, there were no Jewish Generals at all. ( the few that existed were shot in 1937 purges)
JP, I see youre back. Well welcome to our forum.
"As for the symbols, they are there to highlight the glory of defeating nazi-germany, in the world's largest ever offensive. The ruskis won ww2, the largest war ever, the allies joined at the end of it when the outcome was given (and now they try to hog all de glory!). So maybe it's not entirely wrong to use those symbols? At least to remind those bastards who won the war, and what power it was, and what power Russia can still become."
Excellent insight, Tsar. Russians shouldn't just spit on their history, whether Tsarist or Communist.
"We should wash our dirty linen at home" : Napoleon Bonaparte "Russia is not angry, it is simply concentrating" - Prince Alexander Gorchakov to European emissaries, 1859
Post by DmitrySlavist on Nov 23, 2004 17:39:39 GMT -5
As for the Kuril islands, there doesnt seem to be much agreement right now. Looks like Putin will change his mind and keep status quo. And Japanese PM Koizumi has a really annoying habit of taking vacations right beside the islands
But, looking back, we whipped those Japanese good in 1939 and in 1945.
500 000 elite soldiers of the Japanese Kwantung army were smashed in 2 weeks. 3 weeks after the start of war in far east, Soviet army was on the shores of the South China Sea!!
Here's a Soviet military song about Far East war: ÒÐÈ ÒÀÍÊÈÑÒÀ Èç ê/ô "Òðàêòîðèñòû" Ñëîâà Á. Ëàñêèíà<br> Íà ãðàíèöå òó÷è õîäÿò õìóðî, Êðàé ñóðîâûé òèøèíîé îáúÿò. <br>Ó âûñîêèõ áåðåãîâ Àìóðà ×àñîâûå ðîäèíû ñòîÿò.
Òàì âðàãó çàñëîí ïîñòàâëåí ïðî÷íûé, Òàì ñòîèò, îòâàæåí è ñèëåí, Ó ãðàíèö çåìëè äàëüíåâîñòî÷íîé Áðîíåâîé óäàðíûé áàòàëüîí.
Post by Vladimir the Solidarist on Nov 23, 2004 20:07:09 GMT -5
Look people! Just cool down a bit Why so much prejudice for the Soviet symbols? Our grandfathers fought the racist brutal Nazi enemy and died under these symbols Not to mention that their battle cry was never "Za Stalina" or "Za Kommunism", but "Za Rodinu!".
Excellent insight, Tsar. Russians shouldn't just spit on their history, whether Tsarist or Communist.
First of all, the reasons for disliking Soviet symbols are obvious. Ask any Slav why they should despise the swastika. The answer is obvious. Same concerns Soviet symbolism. If you consider these symbols to be representative of a Russian national state, then you are being, pardon me, very naive. Yes, our grandfathers died under those symbols alright - most of them in front of CheKa/OGPU/NKVD/SMERSH execution squads, those people who were the "defenders of the Soviet motherland". The reason they were murdered was because in the overwhelming majority of cases they were guilty of nothing, and in many cases it was because they were guilty of being Russian PATRIOTS.
That is why these symbols are evil. Re-read what I wrote before if you can't understand this.
Second, the most frequent battle cry was "Za Rodinu, Za Stalina!" Those two things, unfortunately, were melded together. This melding was not natural, it was forced very harshly upon the people of my country.
The history of the USSR is the history of the Russian people under Soviet communist domination and enslavement. It wasn't some socialist version of Tsarist Russia, like some pink historical revisionists like to paint it.
Sure, positive things happened during the Soviet occupation, positive things happened in Turkish occupied Serbia and Greece too, in Mongol occupied Russia, and even under German occupied Russia during WWII. What, does that mean I'm going to salute those regimes and allow their symbols to stand for my people?
You want me to go to my Slavic brothers and ask them to accept these symbols, those same symbols that bought the Bulgarians, Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and other Slavic peoples of Europe the torn up command economies, corrupt officials, and repressed state of life that made them want to rush to the west at the first moment of fresh breath? Why are they so pro-western, you ask? Why are we so clinging to symbols that every self respecting Slav (especially a Russian) should hate, I say. Why are we allowing the enemies of Russia to point at us and say, "See, they accept communism as a part of their national legacy - the same communism that bought you misery!"?
I consider it degrading and a shame to my Russian nationality to consider anything communist related to our national historical legacy. We were the first victims of Bolshevism, and we were the first and most active resisters against it. If we do not make this clear to ourselves, let alone the world, we are engauging in a great act of national self-disrespect. You might as well call me a Turk or a Mongol.
The Russian tri-colored flag was the sign of hope for countless Christian civilizations throughout history. It bought with it freedom from Islamic and other invaders/occupants. It also fought against the Bolshevik disease. This is what deserves to be the symbol of our country, not the blood red rag that wrought so much misery to my people and starved our country from achieving its potential in the 20th century. So many of my people still live in third world country conditions, and don't tell me that it's all because of Boris Berezovski, or this idea that "it's better to be poor but happy". Besides, I don't know who was truly deep inside their heart happy during a period when Orthodox christianity was treated like a social disease. That's aside from having to deal with the daily realities of Soviet life, where people stand in line for hours to get what I can pick up at any American supermarket in five minutes.
Post by CHORNYVOLK on Mar 12, 2008 10:17:16 GMT -5
China puts its trust in Putinism By Yu Bin
Perhaps more than any other capital in the world, Beijing has closely observed the change of the guard in the Kremlin. There are many reasons for Beijing's concerns: Russia's revival as a major power, its petro-politics approach to foreign relations, managing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), not to mention the stability of the 4,300-kilometer Sino-Russian border.
It's still Putin ... Russian President Vladimir Putin's arrangement with his successor Dimitry Medvedev last December was a surprise for Beijing. Few, if any, Chinese observers had anticipated that Putin would have his cake and still eat it. What separates Beijing and the West in their respective perceptions of Russia's leadership transition is a matter of substance versus form.
For the West, Putin's rule means Russia's departure from democracy. Beijing sees that Putinism works for a nation like Russia. During eight years under Putin, Russia has been transformed from chaos to stability, fragmentation to recentralization, and poverty to prosperity. It is only natural for Russians to continue the current policy, with or without Putin. For Beijing, Moscow seems to have finally figured out its approach to modernity: not the West, nor the East, but somewhere in the middle - the Russian way.
The same charisma and capabilities that brought Russia back from the brink of collapse have been actively applied to dealing with others, including China. In eight years, Putin repositioned Russiaâ€™s relations with the West, institutionalized the SCO with Beijing, and prioritized economics in Russia's foreign policy. All this has been driven, at least partially, by rapidly rising energy prices.
Sustaining the strategic partnership In the past eight years, the Sino-Russian strategic partnership has broadened and deepened, ironically, without much progress on the much-talked-about (initiated by Boris Yeltsin in 1994) oil pipeline from Siberia to China's northeast. The pipeline is still in the pipeline. It remains to be seen what Prime Minister Putin will do in this vital area of Russian-China economic cooperation.
Although both sides claim that the current bilateral relationship is the "best" in history, this state of affairs was achieved at a time of Russia's historic decline and China's historic rise. For the foreseeable future, Beijing will have to adjust to an increasingly strong and self-confident Russia. Already in the past eight years, China has learned, from firsthand experience, that Putinâ€™s ability to defend Russia's national interests should never be discounted.
One key element of the current Sino-Russian strategic partnership has been a high level of trust, which is expected to continue under the Medvedev-Putin team. Harmony among political elites, however, is no guarantee of success in managing a host of dissonant issues such as asymmetrical trade (a rapid decline of Russian equipment exports to China), stagnant military sales, and perceived Chinese immigration into Russiaâ€™s far eastern region. It is unclear if the just finished "China Year in Russia" (2007) and "Russia Year in China" in 2006 will help ordinary Russians and Chinese to develop some mutual chemistry.
Moscow and Beijing also need to invigorate the SCO to turn it into a more efficient regional grouping. It is not easy to interface with all major religious and cultural systems: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. The SCO's future expansion and relations with others, particularly Washington, continue to challenge this diverse group of nations from the East and the West which includes democracies and non-democracies, large and small nations, and relatively developed and less-developed countries. While two US-led "wars on terror" are being fought on the SCO's peripheries (Afghanistan and Iraq), none of the 10 formal and observer members of the SCO want to turn this group into an anti-West or anti-US alliance. Beijing and Moscow will have to figure out how to keep a delicate balance between these diverse interests.
Thirty-year cycle? By the end of Putin's second term as president, Sino-Russian relations have experienced 19 years of stability, which almost doubles the 10-year Sino-Soviet "honeymoon" (1949-1959). It has, nonetheless, yet to pass the 30-year mark of "bad times" from 1960-1989, after Beijing and Moscow switched from allies to adversaries almost overnight. During these three decades, precious resources were diverted, drained, and wasted by both sides.
Russia is heading back to its past glory. And with a strong leader like Putin as both "the Great" (staying in office beyond 2008) and "the Ghost" (working behind the scenes), the dragon now has a new double team of bears to play with in the coming years.
Beijing and Moscow will have to figure out how to keep a delicate balance between these diverse interests. One key element of the current Sino-Russian strategic partnership has been a high level of trust, which is expected to continue under the Medvedev-Putin team.
Yu Bin is senior fellow (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the Shanghai Institute of American Studies and regular contributor to the Pacific Forum's Comparative Connections.
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Post by soldier7799 on Mar 12, 2008 10:30:48 GMT -5
Russia and China are partners only because they have greater enemy...I dont think that friendship between them is something more than trade interests.Remember the border conflict.The red dragon is never to be trust because as all countries China has her own ambitons and interests.
I don't consider Chinese to be Russia's ally. It was hostile towards Russia for many years. Brzezinsky did a great job to spoil these relations more. Soon China will become the only superpower in the world. It's very developed.
Kremlinology is back in vogue. Experts and analysts have come out of the woodwork to run a fine-tooth comb through Kremlin events, searching for clues on the direction of Russian policies under new President Dmitry Medvedev.
Often in the Soviet era, during feverish over-analyses by foreign experts, the obvious would get elbowed out in favor of tantalizing interpretations over men and mice. Could history be repeating itself?
Much has been made of Medvedev's choice of Kazakhstan and China as his first destinations after assuming office from Vladimir Putin on May 7. Was it a deliberate signal to Western capitals? Moscow pooh-poohed the suggestion. A prominent Moscow commentator pointed out, "It would be best to go to the East and West at the same time, but that is impossible."
But the disarming explanation overlooked the fact that Medvedev after all did make a choice in traveling to Beijing via Astana last weekend. Eight years ago, in 2000, when Putin went abroad as Russia's president for the first time, he travelled to London via Belarus. At that time, Moscow let it be known there was rich symbolism in Putin's choice, which was intended to convey that Russia wanted closer ties to the West.
Equally, in May 2003, Chinese President Hu Jintao's first foreign visit took him to Moscow. The government-owned China Daily newspaper aptly commented on the day of Medvedev's arrival in Beijing on Friday: "The first foreign trip of any head of state should be a carefully calculated move. The country he or she visits is supposed to be important to his or her own country's foreign relations. Little wonder that Medvedev's two-day China visit has generated much interest ... Clearly, new leaders of the two countries have put their bilateral relations on top of their foreign policy agenda."
Pragmatic cooperation The Chinese comment stated the obvious to emphasize the bilateral content of Medvedev's visit. In fact, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui told the media at a briefing that Medvedev's visit would have four "goals": one, to establish a "working relationship and personal friendship" at the leadership level; two, to oversee the fulfillment of bilateral cooperation in practical terms; three, to increase political trust and extend mutual support on "issues concerning sovereignty, security and territorial integrity"; and, four, to deepen "pragmatic cooperation".
The fourth "goal" - pragmatic cooperation - captures the quintessence of the so-called strategic partnership between the two countries. China would have no difficulty to know that Russia has been and will remain essentially Western-centric (as distinct from "pro-West"). Over two-thirds of Russia's population live in its European part and the locus of economic and political power lies there.
But that does not detract from Russia's abiding interest in China, which is natural and historical as a neighboring country, and combines pragmatically in the present day with the imperatives of China's phenomenal rise. At the same time, Russia realizes that it is only one among many big players seriously engaging China and cannot hope to claim a privileged partnership with it.
No sooner had Medvedev concluded his two-day China visit on Saturday, South Korea's newly elected "pro-American" President Lee Myung-bak arrived in Beijing on a four-day trip. China followed the United States and Japan in Lee's itinerary. South Korea's trade volume with China is four times that of Russia's.
A free trade agreement between the two countries is under negotiation. China hopes to collaborate with South Korea in finessing a regional security mechanism for the Asia-Pacific region. Similarly, by Monday, Moscow's attention had already began drifting westerly toward Brussels, where European Union (EU) foreign ministers finally announced plans to commence negotiations with Russia over a new strategic partnership and cooperation agreement.
The talks are expected to begin at the EU-Russia summit meeting in the town of Khanty-Mansiysk in Russia's Siberia on June 26-27. Moscow is keenly listening to the new voice of realism ringing in Brussels, with both Old and New Europe alike advocating a new partnership with Russia. As noted Russia hand Jonathan Steele of the Guardian newspaper of London wrote, "The reality is that interaction between Russia and the EU is bound to develop in all these areas, however they are labeled."
Frictions in cooperation Moscow would have reason to worry that frictions have appeared in two areas of its ties with China, which are critical to sustaining the momentum and verve of the strategic partnership. First is the energy relationship. The implementation of the multi-billion contracts signed in 2006 for Russian energy supplies to China has run into difficulty. Russia's Rosneft oil company is threatening to terminate the contract unless China agrees on a price increase.
This may also complicate the signing of a new agreement for the supply of 50 million tons of Russian oil to China in 2010-2015. In turn, this puts a question mark on the efficacy of the Chinese branch to the East-Siberia Pacific Ocean (ESPO) oil pipeline, which Russia is constructing. In an interview with Chinese journalists in Beijing prior to his departure for Moscow, Medvedev said Russia and China have reached a "basic agreement" on the ESPO and that the negotiations on oil price are "nearly complete". Expressing willingness to set up new oil refineries in China, he said natural gas cooperation with China is also "under discussion". But there was no concrete outcome during the visit.
The root of the problem in energy cooperation lies in Russia's focus on expanding its European market, which is where the money lies. Unlike the Europeans, China constantly seeks discount prices. Also, Russia's deposits are mostly in western Siberia, which is closer to Europe than China. The existing pipeline system is also orientated heavily toward supplying the European market. Russia's priority lies in buying downstream assets in Europe. All in all, China is quite a long way from becoming an alternative market for Russian energy exports, which in turn acts as a disincentive on Russia committing investments on projects geared for China. Medvedev mentioned in China that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should develop "new directions of cooperation" in the field of energy. China and Russia are the lead nations in the SCO, which also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The second fault line in Russia-China cooperation concerns military cooperation. The stark reality is that the Russia-China bilateral commission on military cooperation hasn't even had a meeting during the past two years. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's visit to China has been repeatedly postponed. At present, Russian companies have nothing on their order book from China. Simply put, China has stopped buying weapons from Russia.
Post-Soviet Russia supplied more than 90% of China's imports of weapons and China accounted for 39% of all Russian exports. In 2007, China was the single-biggest recipient of Russian weapons. Yet, as of today, there are no outstanding Chinese orders with Russia for big-ticket items. It seems China is signaling its displeasure. The point is that for a variety of reasons, Russia is reluctant to supply China with state-of-the-art weapons systems such as rocket-launched flame-throwers, long-range bombers, nuclear-powered submarines, etc. China would have noted that Russia has no such misgivings about supplying sophisticated weapons systems to India.
A Russian commentator argued, "Such [Russian] caution is not pleasant for China, which has suggested that Russia think about the future of bilateral military technical cooperation. Bilateral military ties would have been rolled back to zero very quickly, if not for a European ban on the supply of weapons and combat control systems to China."
Curiously, Russia doesn't seem to be unduly perturbed by this decline in deliveries and orders. Arguably, Russia has already begun securing orders from other countries to make up for the "loss" of the Chinese market. The head of Russia's Federal Service for Military and Technical cooperation, Mikhail Dmitriev, was on record last December that Russia had secured orders worth US$32 billion from several countries, including new markets such as Algeria, Indonesia and Venezuela. There are no clear indications of Medvedev's talks in Beijing having resolved the differences impeding Russia-China military cooperation.
Russia woos China By far the most impressive outcome of Medvedev's visit to China concerns a nuclear agreement. Russia secured contracts in excess of $1.5 billion. This includes the construction of two VVER (Vodo-Vodyanoi Energetichesky Reactor) 1,000 reactors and a gas centrifuge plant in China, apart from Russia providing uranium-enrichment services and implementing a high-capacity fast-breeder reactor.
Significantly, Russia agreed to share with China for the first time the high technology behind gas centrifuges produced in secrecy at the Kovrov mechanical plant in the Vladimir region. The contract provides for Russia supplying 6 million SWUs (separation work units) of low-enriched uranium to China, which is very substantial quantity. (The entire uranium-enrichment capacities in the world amount to 36 million SWUs currently.)
Medvedev's visit to China underscores Russia's wooing of China. Moscow extended a strong show of support to China in countering Western pressure on Tibet. Moscow has generously come to the aid of earthquake victims in China. Against the backdrop of the growing chill in Russia's ties with the West, Moscow estimates the need to strengthen its strategic understanding with Beijing. The joint statement issued after Medvedev's visit strongly affirms a common position between the two countries regarding the US's missile defense system, the US's pressure tactics on human rights and related issues, the problem over Iran's nuclear program, the militarization of outer space, etc. In a speech at Beijing University, Medvedev said, "Russian-Chinese cooperation is now becoming a key factor in international security - a factor without which it would be impossible to take fundamental decisions through international cooperation."
All the same, the fact remains that the normative convergence in the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership aims at achieving certain specific objectives and shared interests and is not about values. Attention now turns to the annual meeting of the SCO in August in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
So far so good. But the massive imbalance in bilateral trade (Russia increasingly supplying raw materials and China exporting engineering products); the drop in Russian military sales; and the impasse in energy cooperation - these negative developments have undoubtedly introduced an element of chill in bilateral ties. As the political commentator of Russia's Novosti news agency put it rather sardonically, "It is difficult to understand what to do next - invest more in each other's economies, continue cooperation in space (we have programs to develop the moon, Mars and Phobos), make movies together, or translate more books? Shall we do all of that at the same time?"
M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings including India's ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001).
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Russia stands firm in territorial dispute with Japan 22:00 | 02/ 07/ 2008
MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) - Russian sovereignty over the Southern Kurils is unquestionable, but Russia is ready for talks with Japan on territorial issues, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
In the run up to the July 7-9 G8 summit on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, the Japanese press has been drawing international attention to the long-running territorial dispute, claiming Japan's right to the group of islands it calls the Northern Territories.
"The fundamental position of the Russian Federation is that the South Kuril Islands became part of our country as a result of the WWII and Russia's sovereignty over them, which has a corresponding international legalization, is unquestionable," Andrei Nesterenko said.
He said, however, that Russia recognizes the border dispute and is ready to continue "the patient and quiet search for a solution that would be acceptable to the people of Russia and Japan."
The lower part of the chain of Pacific islands stretching from the Kamchatka Peninsula on the Russian mainland to the north-east coast of Japan's Hokkaido island was annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II and the dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace agreement.
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Russia warns Japan against 'inflated hopes' in islands dispute.
Thu May 7, 1:40 pm ET
MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia on Thursday warned Japan not to expect a decades-old territorial row to be resolved ahead of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to Tokyo early next week.
"I would like to stress our readiness for a calm, constructive conversation on this topic and what's more important, without some sort of inflated expectations and therefore without disappointment," Yury Ushakov, a veteran diplomat and deputy head of Putin's staff, told reporters.
"Expectations then cause major disappointments."
Putin is expected in Tokyo for a day of talks Tuesday with a high-powered delegation of top businessmen and officials.
He is scheduled to meet his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso as well as former premiers Junichiro Koizumi and Yoshiro Mori.
Japanese officials planned to raise their "favorite territorial problem", said Ushakov, and while Russia was ready to discuss any hypothetical scenarios it was important to avoid "extreme positions."
A decades-old territorial row over four Russian islands off Japan's northern Hokkaido island, known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kurils, has long cast a shadow over the bilateral ties.
The two countries have never signed a peace treaty because of the dispute over the islands, which were seized by Soviet troops in 1945.
Ahead of Putin's visit, Japan said it expected Russia to answer to Tokyo's call to move towards a solution.
But Ushakov said it was important not to let bilateral issues hamper economic cooperation.
The two government will sign 10 government and commercial agreements during the visit, including on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and an agreement to build a wind power plant on the Russky island off Vladivostok on the Russian Pacific, the scene of an APEC summit in 2014.
Some of the country's top businessmen, including Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Rosneft president Sergei Bogdanchikov and UC Rusal co-owner and CEO Oleg Deripaska, will accompany the premier to Japan.
A judo black belt, Putin would also unveil a Japanese language version of his book on the sport, Ushakov said.
it's kinda odd that one keeps getting surprised by how huge russia is
Post by TsarSamuil on May 27, 2009 23:20:55 GMT -5
Calling Russia an occupier “unacceptable” Moscow tells Japan
russiatoday.com ^ | 05/21/2009
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has called “unacceptable” the recent statement by Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso that “illegal occupation of Southern Kuril Islands is going on.”
“This statement means that the Japanese side is aimed at satisfying its unjustified claims on these territories,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrey Nesterenko.
In his speech at the parliament, Taro Aso called the Southern Kurils “illegally occupied territories” and noted he was expecting Russia to give explanations on the approach to solving the problem.
"The words of the Prime Minister contradict the intention declared by Tokyo to search for mutually acceptable ways to solve the issue with Russia. Judging by Mr Aso’s statement, Japan is aimed not at the search for a mutually agreeable decision, but at satisfying their unlawful claims,” said Nesterenko.
Four islands of the Kurill Archipelago are a major obstacle in the diplomatic relations between Russia and Japan. The islands were captured from Imperial Japan when the Soviet Union joined the other Allied Powers following the defeat of Nazi Germany. Japan has challenged Moscow’s sovereignty over them ever since the end of the war. The two countries have not even signed a peace treaty due to this dispute.
The islands have become the focus of several scandals. During the G8 summit in Hokkaido, Japan in 2008, the Japanese side printed maps for the guests, where the disputed territories were marked as part of Japan. After protests from Russia the maps were hastily replaced with correct ones.
In a separate incident, a British American Tobacco company used an erroneous map of the region in an ad for their Kent cigarette brand.
Proposed solutions to the issue suggesting splitting the island in some way stirred controversy too. In both countries, there are lobbies insisting on an “everything or nothing” resolution and strongly opposing any compromise.
Post by CHORNYVOLK on Jun 14, 2009 11:32:53 GMT -5
Sino-Russian baby comes of age By M K Bhadrakumar
By the yardstick of Jacques, the melancholy philosopher-clown in William Shakespeare's play As You Like It, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has indisputably passed the stage of "Mewing and pucking in the nurse's arms".
Nor is SCO anymore the "whining schoolboy, with his satchel/And shining morning face, creeping like snail/Unwillingly to school". The SCO more and more resembles Jacques' lover, "Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad/Made to his mistress' eyebrow." Indeed, if all the world's a stage and the regional organizations are players who make their exits and entrances, the SCO is doing remarkably well playing many parts. That it has finally reached adulthood is beyond dispute.
But growing up is never easy, especially adolescence, and the past year since the SCO summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, has been particularly transformational. What stands out when the SCO's ninth summit meeting begins in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg in Russia on Monday is that the setting in which the regional organization - comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - is called on to perform has itself unrecognizably shifted since last August's gathering of leaders in Dushanbe. First, the big picture.
The locus shifts east The world economic crisis has descended on the SCO space like a Siberian blast that brings frost and ice and leaves behind a white winter, sparking mild hysteria. The landscape seems uniformly attired, but that can be a highly deceptive appearance. Russia and China, which make up the sum total of the SCO experience, are responding to the economic crisis in vastly different terms.
For Russia, as former prime minister and well-known scholar academician Yevgeniy Primakov observed ruefully in a recent Izvestia interview, "Russia will not come out of the crisis anytime soon ... Russia will most likely come out of the recession in the second echelon - after the developed countries ... The trap of the present crisis is that it is not localized but is worldwide. Russia is dependent on other countries. That lessens the opportunity to get out of the recession in a short period of time." 
Primakov should know. It was he as president Boris Yeltsin's prime minister who steered Russia out of its near-terminal financial crisis 10 years ago that brought the whole post-Soviet edifice in Moscow all but tumbling down.
Russia's economic structure is such that 40% of its gross domestic product (GDP) is created through raw material exports, which engenders a highly vulnerable threshold when the world economy as a whole gets caught up in the grip of recession. But what about China?
This was how Primakov compared the Chinese and Russian economic scenario: In China too, as in Russia, exports make up a significant part of the GDP. The crisis smacked them and us. The difference is that China exports ready-made products, while on our country [Russia] a strong raw material flow was traditional. What are the Chinese doing?
They are moving a large part of the ready-made goods to the domestic market. At the same time, they are trying to raise the population's solvent demand. On this basis, the plants and factories will continue to operate and the economy will work.
We [Russia] cannot do that. If raw materials are moved to the domestic market, consumers of such vast volumes will not be found. Raise the population's solvent demand? That merely steps up imports. This is only one part of a complex story, but the short point concerns the vastly different prospects of economic stabilization in the current crisis that China and Russia face. To be sure, its impact on the geopolitics of the SCO space cannot be overlooked. Simply put, China's profile as the "donor" country in the SCO space is shining brighter than ever before. China has given US$25 billion as a loan to Russia and $15 billion as a loan to Kazakhstan, the two big-time players in the SCO, during the April-May period.
Last week, in yet another breathtaking move, China offered a loan of $3 billion to Turkmenistan. The loan for Russia is a vital lifeline for its number one oil major Rosneft and its monopoly pipeline builder Transneft. The loan for Kazakhstan, which goes partly towards acquiring a 50% stake in MangistauMunaiGaz, increases China's share of oil production in Kazakhstan to 22%. Again, the loan for Turkmenistan ensures that China has the inside track on the fabulous Yolotan-Osman, which is reputed to be one of the biggest gas fields in the world.
No heartburn in Moscow In short, if the law of nature is such that gravitation in life is inevitably towards where the money comes from, the locus of the SCO has shifted to Beijing more than ever before. In any other context, this would have straightaway introduced a high state of disequilibrium within the SCO. It took decades for France and Germany to figure out cohabitation within the European Economic Community. The China-Russia equilibrium within the SCO has always been delicate, but it may have prima facie become more so than ever before. But in actuality, it isn't so.
It goes to the credit of the leaderships in Moscow and Beijing that they have steered their relationship in a positive direction by rationally analyzing the imperatives of their strategic partnership in the overall international situation rather than in a limited sphere of who gains access to which gas fields first in the Caspian or who is a lender and who is a borrower in these extraordinary times.
Thus, the frequent tempo of Russia-China high-level exchanges has been kept up. Both sides are sensitive to each other's core concerns and vital interests. Russia's conflict in the Caucasus last August was a litmus test and Beijing passed the test. The Russia-China mutual understanding survived intact without bruises.
Despite China's highly principled position on the issue of political separatism and secessionism, and despite all efforts by Western propaganda, China kept a watchful position on Georgia's breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and silently took note of Moscow's recognition of their unilateral declaration of independence, but on balance remained broadly sympathetic to Russia's concerns and predicaments, which Moscow duly appreciated.
Again, belying all Western expectations that Russian and Chinese priorities in energy security diverge, the two countries have finally begun taking big strides on the ground in energy cooperation. A variety of factors went into it - the fall in demand for energy in the recession-struck European markets; strains in Russia-European Union energy relations; Russia's own search for diversification of its Asian market; Russia's energy rivalries with the European Union and the United States in the Caspian and so on - but the fact remains that Moscow is increasingly overcoming its hesitancy that it might get hooked to the massive Chinese energy market as an "appendage", as a mere provider of raw materials for China's economy.
The 25-year $25 billion China-Russia "loan-for-oil" deal signed in April alone amounts to Russian oil supplies equivalent of 4% of China's current daily needs. Not bad at all. But it is in the sphere of natural gas that we may expect big news in the coming period. This is virgin soil. Russia at present does not figure as a gas exporter to the Chinese market. And natural gas is where the world's - and especially China's - focus is turning in the coming decades.
Powerful Kremlin politician Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin is on record that the Russian leadership will be making some major proposals to Chinese President Hu Jintao during his visit to Russia to attend the SCO summit. ("Whatever amount they [China] ask for, we [Russia] have the gas," Sechin reportedly said.) It cannot be lost on observers that the Kremlin has earmarked the SCO summit event for taking such a strategic step in energy cooperation with China.
Thus, it has become a moot point whether Moscow has or has not yet realized the then president Vladimir Putin's four-year-old idea of forming an "energy club" within the SCO framework. Effectively, a matrix is developing among the SCO countries (involving member countries as well as "observers") in the field of energy cooperation. It has several templates - China on the one hand and Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan on the other; Russia-China; China-Iran; Russia-Iran; Iran-Pakistan; and, of course Russia's traditional ties with the Central Asian states. (If the current Iranian plan for an oil pipeline linking the Caspian Sea and the Gulf of Oman materializes soon, yet another template may be formed involving Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.)
Arguably, so far these vectors have not collided with each other, despite the prognosis of Western experts that Russian and Chinese interests in the Central Asian and the Caspian region will inevitably collide . Moscow seems to be quite comfortable with the idea that the Chinese are accessing the region's surplus energy reserves rather than the US or EU countries. As a commentator put it, "Russia is also doing its damnedest to keep Europe out of Central Asia ... In Central Asia, it's starting to look as if Moscow and, to a lesser extent, Beijing ... may have already outmaneuvered Europe." 
SCO gatecrashes the Hindu Kush Less than three years ago, a leading American expert on the Central Asian region, Dr Martha Brill Olcott of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, described the SCO as "little more than a discussion forum". Olcott said, "Today, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization does not pose any direct threat to US interests in Central Asia or in the region more generally." 
That was a debatable point even three years ago, more so now. What seems to have happened is that the US simply has had no choice but to learn to live with a unique regional organization that insists on keeping it excluded. Any regional body that includes Russia and China cannot but be of interest to Washington. No doubt, SCO has been an object of intense curiosity for US regional policies through the past decade. American diplomats did all they could to debunk it in its formative years. Finally, Washington reconciled. This was evident from the fact that eventually the US began making efforts of its own, vainly though, to gain observer status in the SCO.
The list of participants at the SCO summit in Yekaterinburg testifies to the SCO's steady evolution as an influential regional and international body. Curiously, the list of participants includes Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri Lanka, as a "dialogue partner". In terms of realpolitik, SCO has broadened its reach to the Indian Ocean region. Clearly, it is a matter of time before Nepal, Myanmar Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are associated with the SCO processes one way or another. The SCO already has institutionalized links with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
A stage has come when the SCO's common stances on regional and international issues are widely noted by the international community and discussed threadbare by regional experts. Quite likely, this year's statement will reflect a common SCO position strongly endorsing the Sri Lankan government's policy of rebuffing the Western intrusive approach in terms of humanitarian intervention in the island's current problem affecting displaced Tamils.
For Colombo, the SCO support will come as a much-needed shot in the arm in warding off Western pressure in the period ahead. Already in the United Nations Security Council, Colombo depends on the robust support of Russia and China, both veto-holding powers from the SCO.
Again, the SCO's formulations this year on the North Korean and Iran nuclear problems will be read with interest. Last year's statement on the conflict in the Caucasus was widely discussed by regional experts.
During the past year, the SCO has virtually gatecrashed into the Afghanistan problem, so much so that it is going to be counter-productive for Washington to shut out the regional body altogether from the Hindu Kush. The SCO has rapidly built on its nascent idea of a "contact group" with Kabul. It has maintained a smooth working relationship with the government led by President Hamid Karzai. If anything, Karzai's recent difficulties with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) capitals have prompted him to reach out to Moscow.
United States pressure on Karzai to keep him away from the SCO is unlikely to work again. Karzai will be present at the Yekaterinburg summit meeting. His vice presidential running mate, Karim Khalili, recently visited Moscow. Karzai's other running mate, Mohammed Fahim, has old links with Russia's security agencies.
The SCO conference on Afghanistan held in Moscow on March 27 was primarily intended to challenge the US's monopoly over conflict resolution in Afghanistan, though its focus was on the problem of drug trafficking. It followed three years of futile efforts by the SCO to forge a partnership with NATO for the stabilization of the Afghan situation, which Washington kept frustrating.
Finally, the US was compelled to attend the Moscow conference lest Russia and China dissociate from similar American-sponsored forums on Afghanistan. The conference has opened a window of opportunity for regional powers to get involved with Afghanistan's stabilization, independent of US strategy. Countries like India, which are being left out of the loop, will find the SCO as a useful framework to work with. (India will be represented at the SCO summit for the first time ever at the level of the prime minister.)
The SCO conference also assumes significance in the context of the Barack Obama administration's AfPak strategy, which envisages "grand bargains" with regional powers. The SCO sized up that Washington's game plan would be to strike "grand bargains" individually and separately with each of the countries in the region, which would effectively ensure that the US retained the monopoly of conflict resolution and enabled the US to give new underpinnings to its regional policies aimed at broadening and deepening its influence in Central Asian and Southwest Asian geopolitics.
Bush's policies continue NATO has officially invited Kazakhstan, a major SCO member country, to take part in its Afghan operations.  This is despite Kazakhstan being an active promoter and a prominent member of the Collective Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the SCO, both of which have repeatedly offered partnerships to the Western alliance for its Afghan mission. 
Robert Simmons, the NATO secretary general's special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, is on record as saying that the Kazakh army has already achieved "interoperability" with NATO forces and could make a good showing in the Afghan mission. Clearly, NATO is sidestepping the CSTO and the SCO and would prefer to deal with Central Asian capitals individually. The US is striking similar "grand bargains" with other Central Asian capitals in terms of gaining access to new military base facilities.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated in April that Russia and China would strengthen their military cooperation through the SCO and engage in several joint military maneuvers. He implied that these plans were aimed at limiting the US's presence in Central Asia. From the Russian and Chinese point of view, it is obvious that the erosion of the US's economic foundations is not preventing Washington from pursuing with renewed vigor its project aimed at regaining lost influence in Central Asia.
The Obama administration's proposed budget for the State Department allocates aid of $41.5 million for Kyrgyzstan and $46.5 million for Tajikistan, whereas the corresponding figures for the current fiscal year are $24.4 million and $25.2 million, respectively. US military aid to the two countries will also similarly be increased under the new budget.
The justification given is that Central Asia's strategic importance has risen of late for US regional policies. According to budget justification documents released by the State Department in Washington on May 7: Central Asia remains alarmingly fragile: a lack of economic opportunity and weak democratic institutions foster conditions where corruption is endemic and Islamic extremism and drug trafficking can thrive. For this region, where good relations play an important role in supporting our [US] military and civilian efforts to stabilize Afghanistan, the [budget] request prioritizes assistance for the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. The political rationale of the aid request makes no bones about the fact that geopolitics is a factor in Washington's decision to step up aid to Central Asia at a time when the Russian capacity to bankroll Central Asian economies is in serious doubt. "The United States rejects the notion that any country has special privileges or a 'sphere of influence' in this region; instead the United States is open to cooperating with all countries in the region and where appropriate providing assistance that helps develop democratic and market institutions and practices."
Curiously, Washington has lately made it clear that it has no intentions of vacating the Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan in August without a last-ditch effort to get Bishkek to reconsider its decision. Apart from sustained US diplomatic efforts to persuade a rethink in Bishkek, Washington has also sought the good offices of Karzai to raise the issue with his Kyrgyz counterpart President Kurmanbek Bakiyev - interestingly enough, on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Yekaterinburg.
Therefore, it is against the backdrop of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, which causes concern among the SCO member countries, as well as the robust US diplomacy in the Central Asian region to expand American influence that the Chinese and Russian decision to step up SCO military cooperation will be viewed. The SCO defense ministers' meeting held on April 29 in Moscow confirmed reports that China and Russia would hold 25 joint maneuvers this year. (In the entire period since 2002, China has held only 21 military exercises with foreign countries.)
Interestingly, all these proposed maneuvers will be focused on the "war on terror". The SCO war games for 2009 began with a joint "anti-terror" exercise in Tajikistan near the Afghan border. The main exercise, codenamed Peace Mission 2009, is planned for July-August. This year's exercises assume the nature of a conventional drill operation insofar as they will involve more than 2,000 Russian and Chinese troops with heavy weapons such as tanks, transport planes, self-propelled artillery and possibly including strategic bombers.
The exercises will be held in three stages inside Russia and in northeastern China. Unmistakably, closer Chinese-Russian military cooperation within the SCO framework has been prompted by their perception that the US is pressing ahead with its strategic plans to bring the energy-rich Eurasian region under its influence.
Can Obama become a heretic? In a remarkably candid interview recently, well-known Russia scholar Professor Stephen Cohen at New York University said he didn't believe "anything substantially or enduringly good" is about to happen in US-Russia relations in the foreseeable future. Nor is a "real partnership" possible between the two countries.
More ominously, he warned that the US-Russia relationship was fast getting "militarized", as it used to be during the Cold War. He said, "NATO expansion has militarized the relationship between the US and Russia, between the United States and the former Soviet republics, and between Russia and the former Soviet republics. Remove NATO expansion, remove the military aspect, and let them compete otherwise." 
More startlingly, Cohen assesses that despite the Obama administration's call to "reset" ties with Russia, the "old thinking" prevails in Washington - "that Russia is a defeated power, it's not a legitimate great power with equal rights to the US, that Russia should make concessions ... that the US can go back on its promises because Russia is imperialistic and evil."
Cohen said Russia hands in the Obama administration - Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Advisor General James Jones, National Security Council member Michael McFaul - are all in one way or another associated with the "old thinking" toward Russia. "So there are no new thinkers in Obama's foreign policy okruzhenie [circles]. There is enormous support in the US for the old thinking. It's the majority view. The American media, the political class, the American bureaucracy - they all support it. Therefore, all hope rides with Obama himself, who is not tied to these old policies. He has to become a heretic and break with orthodoxy."
Cohen added: Now you and I might say that's impossible, but there is a precedent. Just over twenty years ago, out of the Soviet orthodoxy, the much more rigid Communist Party nomenklatura, came a heretic, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev. It's not a question of whether we like Gorbachev's leadership or we don't. The point is that he came forward with something he called "new thinking", breaking with the old Soviet thinking, and the result was that he and [president Ronald] Reagan ended the Cold War, or came very close to doing so. So the question is whether Obama can break with the old thinking. Thus, the extraordinarily high degree of mutual understanding that the Russian and Chinese leaderships have been able to work out in the recent period within the SCO has a much broader framework than appears at first sight. US policies towards Russia have significantly contributed to these regional compulsions felt by Moscow and Beijing. Chinese commentaries are consistently sympathetic towards Russia apropos the range of issues affecting US-Russia relations in Eurasia.
In an extremely meaningful political gesture on April 28, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guangalle, heading a military delegation and visiting Moscow in connection with the SCO defense ministers' meeting, traveled to Russia's North Caucasus Military District to discuss regional security with Medvedev. This happened just two days ahead of the formalization of the Russian decision to deploy troops for the defense of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
What emerges is that both Russia and China remain skeptical ZAfghanistan. Izvestia wrote recently, "Today, despite their hypocritical talk of 'cooperation' (by which they mean the shipment of NATO military freight across Russia), the [US-led] coalition is keeping Russia away from Afghanistan as much as possible, even though their own policies in Afghanistan are the worst possible example of a murderous neo-colonial regime." 
Izvestia continued the tirade: Mass killings of the civilian population by the American army such as bombing wedding and funeral processions, extending the fighting to Pakistan and dragging it into Afghanistan's internal ethnic and political feud - all these and similar actions, which have been without any social or commercial investment in Afghanistan, threaten the whole world, Russia included.
The Afghans, sick and tired of the pointless presence of foreign military forces, have asked Russia to restore its clear-cut peaceful Afghan policy. A delegation of influential Afghan politicians will arrive in Moscow to attend the May 14 Russian-Afghan forum. The group mainly includes Pashtun leaders, who have shaped the country's political and state backbone for centuries. They are convinced that the way to peace and settlement in Afghanistan will depend on Russia's policy. CSTO to counter NATO Does all this add up to the SCO becoming a military alliance? This is a question that has come up frequently during the past decade. It still refuses to go away. There has been even some degree of characterization of the SCO at times as an "Asian NATO". But the answer is a firm "no'. The plain truth is that neither China nor Russia would be comfortable for the foreseeable future with the idea of a military alliance between them, although both have shared concerns over the US agenda for NATO's eastward expansion.
Besides, we should not overlook that Central Asian countries also have their own so-called "multi-vector" foreign policy, which places primacy on national autonomy and independence that precludes the possibility of their becoming part of a military bloc as such.
At any rate, Uzbekistan, the maverick of them all but a key country all the same in regional security, will forever keep everyone guessing whether its mind is on the same thing that it speaks about at any given time, or whether its actions are going to be in conformity with its own words. Tashkent stayed out of the SCO exercises in April in Tajikistan. It is right now having a slinging match with Kyrgyz border guards about recent incidents of violence in the Ferghana Valley.
However, Moscow has been steadily working on another option. The CSTO - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia Uzbekistan and Tajikistan - is transforming into a full-blooded military alliance. "The National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation Until 2020", which was recently approved by Medvedev, says that Moscow views the CSTO as the key instrument to counter regional challenges, and political and military threats. The document says pointedly that the struggle for energy resources in the Caspian and Central Asia may conceivably lead to armed conflicts.
The special summit meeting of the CSTO held in February in Moscow decided to set up a collective rapid-response force to help bloc members to repulse aggression or to meet any emergency. Moscow has been focusing for some time on the strengthening of the CSTO and recent strides in this direction are a major foreign-policy success for the Kremlin. No doubt, the impetus is to keep "third countries" out of Central Asia. Medvedev has said that the rapid-reaction force "will be just as good or comparable to NATO forces". The CSTO's joint rapid-reaction force will hold military exercises in August-September in Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.
The force will comprise an airborne division and an air assault brigade from Russia, and an air assault brigade from Kazakhstan. The other CSTO members (except Uzbekistan) will contribute a battalion-size force each. To quote a Russian expert, "A collective rapid-reaction force will give CSTO a quick tool, leaving no time for third parties to intervene." 
"The rapid-response force is a major but so far only one of the first steps toward creating a powerful military political organization," he added. Indeed, Kommersant newspaper broke the news on May 29 that Russia was planning to build a strong military contingent in Central Asia within the framework of the CSTO, which will be comparable to NATO forces in Europe. "Work is being conducted in all areas, and a number of documents have been adopted," the report said, quoting Russian Foreign Ministry sources.
The unnamed Russian official said, "It will be a purely military structure, built to ensure security in Central Asia in case of an act of aggression." It will include armored and artillery units and a naval flotilla in the Caspian Sea, according to the CSTO spokesman. The Russian news agency Novosti reported that the new force would comprise large military units from five countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It commented, "The creation of a powerful military contingent in Central Asia reflects Moscow's drive to make the CSTO a pro-Russian military bloc, rivaling NATO forces in Europe."
Interestingly, a summit meeting of the CSTO is scheduled for Moscow on Sunday on the eve of the SCO summit in Yekaterinburg. The million-dollar question is the co-relation, if any, between the CSTO and the SCO summits in the scheme of things in Moscow and Beijing. The political and diplomatic symbolism in the timing of the two summits on successive days cannot be lost on observers. There has been some talk that the CSTO and the SCO would eventually have an institutionalized back-to-back relationship of sorts. (All the SCO member countries except China are also CSTO members.)
Conceivably, Moscow and Beijing have been exchanging views on the CSTO's emergence as a coherent military bloc in Central Asia, with which China shares thousands of kilometers of border. What seems to be happening is that China tacitly welcomes the Russian initiative to build up the CSTO's capabilities as a military setup. At the very least, Beijing isn't doing anything to dampen Russia's enthusiasm, let alone counter the Russian move through countervailing steps. There could be several factors at work here.
One, any strengthening of security in Central Asia also benefits China. Two, to the extent that the CSTO becomes a bulwark against any NATO expansion into Central Asia, it also works to China's advantage. Three, Moscow's determination to stand up to the US's containment strategy serves Beijing's purpose. Four, the CSTO's build-up means the consolidation of Central Asian countries, which precludes opportunities for the US to expand its influence in the region, let alone roll back Russian and Chinese influence.
Five, the emergence of the CSTO in Central Asia virtually forecloses any future US attempts to place elements of its missile defense system in the border regions of China close to the Xinjiang autonomous region, where China has located important missile sites. Finally, the CSTO harbors no animus against China insofar as all the CSTO members except Armenia and Belarus are in any case SCO members. China's rapidly expanding influence in Central Asia ensures that the bulk of the CSTO countries will have high stakes in friendly relations with Beijing.
Thus, an intriguing security paradigm is developing in Central Asia. Quintessentially, the SCO will keep shying away from becoming a military bloc. This is not feigned posturing. It is real. At the same time, in political terms, the SCO is the facilitator of a regional security understanding that is leading to the full-blooded evolution of the CSTO as an anti-NATO military bloc.
Arguably, in the absence of the SCO, Moscow and Beijing would have to invent such a body. For, without the SCO, any such formation under Moscow's leadership of a NATO-like military bloc shaping up right on China's sensitive border regions would have been simply unthinkable.
Notes 1. Marina Zavada and Yuriy Kulikov, "Yevgeniy Primakov", Autopilot Does Not Work in a Crisis, Izvestia, May, 8, 2009. 2. According to the data from the US Energy Information Administration, the three “Stans” of Central Asia - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - have more than 7 trillion cbm of proven gas reserves, or around 4% of the global share, and much of the has hasn’t yet been harvested. The "Stans" have committed much of their harvestable gas to Russia and China through the next decade. 3. S Adam Cardais, "Central Asian Gas Not a Panacea for Europe", Business Week, February 3, 2009. 4. Dr Martha Brill Olcott, "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Changing the Playing Field in Central Asia", testimony before the Helsinki Commission, September 26, 2006. 5. "NATO invites Kazakhstan to join Afghan peacekeeping operation", Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May, 14, 2009. 6. Significantly, the next round of the SCO joint military exercises will be held in 2010 in southern Kazakhstan. 7. "Interview with Stephen F Cohen on US-Russia Relations", Washington Profile, April 2009. 8. "Afghanistan: Russia’s chance to influence global politics again", Izvestia, May 13, 2009. 9. Ilya Kramnik, "CSTO: joining forces in a crisis", RIA Novosti, February 5, 2009.
Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey. www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page.html
"SURRENDER LIFE TO MOTHERLAND, SOUL TO GOD, AND HONOUR TO NOBODY!"
Russia and China sign 100-billion-dollar deal of the century.
Pravda.ru ^ | June 18, 2009 | Pravda
A new deal between Russia and China in the sum of about $100 billion became the largest deal that has ever been signed between the two countries, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said as a result of the meeting with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao.
The two presidents signed a large package of documents, including those in the oil and gas industry, in Moscow.
“It became possible owing to the use of the mechanism that we invented with the leader of the People’s Republic of China a year ago,” Medvedev said.
Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao conducted negotiations about the shipments of Russia’s natural gas to China. The presidents signed the Memorandum About Mutual Understanding on the Cooperation in the Field of Natural Gas.”
It is an open secret that China suffers from the shortage of natural gas. The talks between the two countries about the deliveries of Russian gas to China last for several years already. Moscow was not satisfied with the conditions, which Beijing proposed for cooperation: the prices in question are a lot lower than those, which Russia has with its gas contracts in Europe.
If China is willing to purchase large quantities of Russian gas, it will be necessary to build a new gas pipeline. A senior official of Russia’s gas monopolist, Gazprom, said that it did not go about the deliveries of natural gas to China in 2011. The two countries still negotiate the prices.
Russia currently runs the Eastern Gas Program in the Far East and in Siberia. The program was developed with an intention to supply oil and gas to the Asian-Pacific region, including China , RIA Novosti news agency reports.
Russia and China are working on a possibility to use rubles and yuans in their mutual settlements, Vice Prime Minister of the Russian government, Igor Sechin said.
Following heated discussion in the Duma, Russia’s parliament has condemned Japanese claims to part of Russia's territory in the Far East.
The move is connected to the latest development in a long-lasting dispute between the countries. On June 11, the Japanese parliament officially proclaimed the southernmost Kuril Islands to be part of Japan.
Japanese politicians adopted amendments to a law on the so-called Northern Territories, which include the islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, the Khabamai Rocks and Iturup, aiming to intensify work on returning the territories to Japan.
TsarSamuil: Medicines aren't allowed to be sold on the market without a 15 year trial period, to determine short n long term effects. Sputnik just turned 1 year, others not even that, just months, how can we determine long term effects without the data from long term
Aug 24, 2021 11:22:20 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: exposure? Does anyone have a time machine to go 14 years or so into the future n come back n say whether we have good vaccines? Fear makes world abandon its own standards..Besides, vaccines for other illnesses that have been developed for YEARS actually
Aug 24, 2021 11:23:40 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: help. These covid vaccines are literally SHIT, why else do they demand you take 1, 2 n now 3 shots? The problem is also a disease becomes resilient if u administer a weak vaccine that doesn't do the job proper. Allow illness to survive just makes it strong
Aug 24, 2021 11:25:04 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: instead if we go by the book, we should all wait for a really good vaccine to take out the illness for good. Now...we may never get rid of it..but understandably the world economy has a hard time dealing with lock downs, but that is just needless panic
Aug 24, 2021 11:27:06 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: why Swe had fared well with country not being locked down? Because they are cold people, keeping distance was the thing before covid-19 was ever heard of, I hope world doesn't become like that, but some could use a little common sense n change in behavior.
Aug 24, 2021 11:29:12 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: It's no wonder covid hits so many Arabs in the country, stupid bastards..
Aug 24, 2021 11:29:38 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: If I go to H&M a new shirt, if an Arab wants to buy a pair of pants, not only is his whole family along, his friends, even his freaking grandmother is along n all chattering along in a big dumb group of ignorance..
Aug 24, 2021 11:33:05 GMT -5
Boro: Thx for the response. I'm not sure... It seems the vaccines work, at least people aren't dying of Covid. Those who get ill have a problem, it's not "just a flu". Maybe it's from a chinese laboratory, who knows...
Aug 24, 2021 13:46:55 GMT -5
Boro: I agree regarding Arabs..
Aug 24, 2021 13:50:39 GMT -5
Boro: Be glad, Sweden isn't overpopulated.
Aug 24, 2021 14:11:49 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: true, vaccines do help somewhat, maybe better than nothing..I hope in 2022 we can come out of this nightmare..
Aug 24, 2021 15:38:24 GMT -5
Boro: Horrible times, indeed.
Aug 24, 2021 15:47:41 GMT -5