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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum

Vladimir Putin is taking part in the fourth international forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue.
March 30, 2017
15:40
 At the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum.


At the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum.
The forum’s theme this year is People and the Arctic. The participants are discussing ways to improve the quality of life in the Arctic, maintain its unique environmental potential, boost sustainable socioeconomic development of the Arctic regions and strengthen international cooperation for these purposes.
 * * *
 <…>
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Niinisto, Mr Johannesson,
I wholeheartedly welcome all of you to Russia, to Arkhangelsk.
It is the second time that Arkhangelsk is hosting The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international forum. This is symbolic, because Arkhangelsk is closely connected with the events and individuals that have opened the polar latitudes to the world.
We will mark one of such “polar” events this year. I am referring to the 85th anniversary of the famous Otto Schmidt expedition, which for the first time covered the route from the port of Arkhangelsk to the Pacific Ocean within one navigation season, launching regular navigation along the coast of Siberia, the legendary Northern Sea Route.
The importance of the Arctic has increased manifold. The attention of many nations is focused on the Arctic as a region whose wellbeing determines the global climate, a treasure trove of unique nature and, of course, a region with a huge economic potential and opportunities.
Preserving the Arctic as a territory of constructive dialogue, development and equal cooperation is a matter of fundamental importance. This forum, whose theme this year is People and the Arctic, has a great role to play in this.

Putin Melts Arctic Forum Moderator: 'How Can You Even Talk About Human Rights?'

Putin Melts Arctic Forum Moderator: 'How Can You Even Talk About Human Rights?'

Putin just gave CNBC's Geoff Cutmore a thrashing at the International Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk
bullshit glacier: melted
bullshit glacier: melted
Russia's President just gave Arctic Forum Q&A moderator Geoff Cutmore an earful.
The CNBC journalist asked Putin about "political interference", human rights and the recent protests in Moscow. 
Putin was not impressed:
We keep talking about human rights. All the time we talk about human rights. And you just mentioned those protests in Moscow and other cities in Russia.
But remember: [The West] imposed sanctions on people who had nothing to do with Crimea. They were not even involved. They were not aware of the government’s plans. They found out about this from the media. And then, they imposed sanctions on those people. What about human rights? They seized their accounts, they can no longer use their money to take care of their families.
So: What are you even talking about? How can you talk about human rights? So you want to have human rights in some cases, and then you don’t want human rights for other people.
It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not fair. Unfortunately we see this degradation of international law in practice. We have to fix that. Can we do that? Yes, we can. So let’s work on it together.

Russian General: US Trying to Destroy Syria's Critical Infrastructure




Briefing by Chief of Main Operational Directorate Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy (March 28, 2017)



Ukraine 'Has No Choice but to Pay Back' Debt to Russia After UK Court's Ruling

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    Monument of Independence of Ukraine on Independence Square in Kiev

    Ukraine 'Has No Choice but to Pay Back' Debt to Russia After UK Court's Ruling

    © Sputnik/ Evgenia Novozhenina
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    On Wednesday, the UK High Court in London ruled against holding a full trial on Ukraine’s $3 billion debt to Russia as Kiev had no justifiable defense for failing to pay it back.


    The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow considers the ruling as "final and obligatory."

    "After reviewing the Russian request for quick hearings of the Russian lawsuit, the High Court in London ruled that Ukraine must pay off the nominal sum of the Eurobonds in the amount of $3 billion, as well as the accumulated interest," the Ministry’s statement read.
    The debt was secured by former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's government in late 2013. Russia has repeatedly stated that Ukraine's failure to pay back the debt should be classified as a default.
    In February 2016, Russia filed a lawsuit against Ukraine with London's High Court of Justice, demanding that its neighbor pay back the loan.
    Weak Arguments

    Pavel Nefidov, director of the CIS Financial and Banking Council, said Kiev does not have solid arguments to challenge the ruling.

    "Ukraine has some arguments, but all of them are feeble and related to politics, not to legal norms. Of course, the majority of financial transactions in Ukraine are currently related to politics. Neither the World Bank nor other financial institutions would unveil a loan to such an economically and politically unstable country as Ukraine. This is why the government and the Ukrainian National Bank hope that the argument will work again," Nefidov told Radio Sputnik.
    However, he suggested that this time, the "we don’t have money scenario" will not work out.
    "Ukraine has no choice but to pay it back. Otherwise, this case would undermine prospects for any future loans. Of course, Kiev will drag its heels. But the 'we don’t have money and won’t pay' scenario will not work out. I can’t rule out that some international financial institution may provide Kiev with money to settle the debt. Ukraine always borrows to repay other debts," Nefidov said.
    Fake Excuses

    "[After the lawsuit was launched] the court found itself in a difficult situation because it was expected to issue a concrete ruling while Ukraine explained its rejection to pay back the debt only with political reasons," political observer Rostislav Ishchenko wrote in an analysis for RIA Novosti.

    Kiev has repeatedly said that it would settle the debt after Moscow returns Crimea and compensates it for losses incurred in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

    RUSSIA INSIDER -- Trump Decided to Block Syrian Army Advance in Preparation For Syria Partition

    Trump Decided to Block Syrian Army Advance in Preparation For Syria Partition




    Visit to Franz Josef Land Archipelago

    Vladimir Putin visited Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago, where he inspected the results of work to clean up environmental damage in the Russian Arctic region.
    March 29, 2017
    21:30
    Vladimir Putin visited Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago. The President was accompanied on the trip by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Environmental Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Special Presidential Representative for Nature Protection, the Environment and Transport Sergei Ivanov.
    Arkhangelsk Region
    Vladimir Putin visited Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago. The President was accompanied on the trip by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Environmental Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Special Presidential Representative for Nature Protection, the Environment and Transport Sergei Ivanov.
    The President visited the museum exhibit at the Russian Arctic National Park, examined the technology for studying permafrost, spoke with specialists studying the Arctic region, and took part in the launch of a weather probe that operates using the GLONASS system.
    The Head of State was accompanied by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Environmental Resources and the Environment Sergei Donskoy, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Special Presidential Representative for Nature Protection, the Environment and Transport Sergei Ivanov.
    The President visited the museum exhibit at the Russian Arctic National Park, examined the technology for studying permafrost, spoke with specialists studying the Arctic region, and took part in the launch of a weather probe that operates using the GLONASS system.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    THE ALLIANCE


    An Iranian delegation, led by President Hassan Rouhani, arrived in Moscow on Monday for negotiations with their Russian counterparts. Russia and Iran are allies in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and the ongoing negotiations between the Russian and Iranian leadership may be characterized as a peak of their mutual diplomatic activities in the first quarter of 2017.
    Earlier this year, the Russian leadership had held consultations and meetings with almost all external and internal players in the Middle East, clarifying their positions towards the situation in Syria. March developments have shown that the many sides have not reached a seamless consensus over the conflict. Furthermore, some positions and opinions became increasingly divergent.
    Turkey and Israel expanded their support to militant groups and increased their own military involvement in the conflict. This situation forces Moscow and Tehran to adjust their plans for the spring-summer campaign of 2017. Besides this, Russia and Iran have a broad polıtıcal agenda to discuss.
    The main reason behind the Russian-Iranian alliance in Syria is a joint concern over security threats from terrorist groups and geopolitical competitors using terrorist groups and western controlled, surrogate regimes for exerting pressure on their perceived opponents.
    The current Middle Eastern battleground borders Iran, is located approximately 700 km from the borders of the Russian Federation, and only 450 km from the borders of the former USSR. Syria and Iraq are traditional targets of manipulation by the more powerful and influential players of the globalist international establishment.
    Some experts believe that these, once well-known external players, sought to acquire control over the region in several steps, implementing several “controlled chaos” approaches.  New types of quasi-state terrorist structures, like ISIS, appeared because of these experiments, which had been enacted in the region, or as a result of a gross dereliction of duty. Regardless, this growing threat of highly organized and ideologically motivated Sunni terrorism led to the creation of the Iranian-Russian military alliance.
    However, Moscow and Tehran could have different approaches on the operational level. They have different attitudes towards the retention of power by President Bashar al-Assad. Iran stands for maintaining the current status quo while Russia does not rule out a creation of a coalition government representing the interests of different Syrian ethnic and religious groups.
    Moscow and Tehran have different negotiability in the case of working with other regional players, including Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. This situation is determined by a number of ethnic, religious and historical factors. There is a notable difference in the level of pressure that Moscow and Tehran could face from global players.
    Russia is more vulnerable to various types of pressure than Iran, because of its role in world politics, its ample geographic territory, democratic political system, the multi-ethnic and multi-religious structure of its population, and its involvement in other key conflicts.
    Nonetheless, these differences are negotiable and do not influence the general nature of the military and political cooperation between the two powers.
    If we want to understand the Iranian and Russian interests in the region, we should attempt a forecast, characterizing the aims and objectives that each side has in 2017.
    In diplomatic terms, Russia will likely continue to try to align its policy of solving the Syrian conflict with that of the United States. In particular, Moscow will use opportunities opened through their strategic cooperation with the Kurds. Russia will continue to work with Ankara in order to decrease, if not cease, the flow of arms and munitions from Turkey to the various militant groups in the Syrian province of Idlib.
    An important issue is the need to separate pro-Turkish militant groups from al-Qaeda-linked organizations. Concerning the Kurdish issue, Russia will contribute to any efforts that create and strengthen confidence and trust between the Damascus government and the Kurdish leadership. The goal is to get a joint vision of the post-war political order in Syria that includes the interests of the Kurds.
    This must lead to setting up a de-facto alliance between pro-government and Kurdish forces. Russia will also work to expand its role as a mediator in other Middle Eastern conflicts, such as those in Iraq, Palestine and Yemen. This will result in increasing influence on Israel, preventing it from conducting unilateral military actions against Damascus, or at least limiting them.
    In military terms, Russia has the following goals for 2017:
    • decisive defeat of ISIS;
    • developing its own military infrastructure at the facilities in Tartus and the Khmeimim Air Base;
    • strengthening of the Syrian Armed Forces;
    • limiting US expansion in Syria via the expansion of the zone of Syrian government forces’ military operations in the provinces of Raqqah and Deir Ezzor;
    • limiting Turkish military expansion and continued development of relations with the Kurds.
    In turn, Tehran will continue its diplomatic efforts aimed at strengthening of pro-Iranian forces in Syria, including the Assad regime, as a key component of the Shia Crescent. Iran will also focus its efforts on the he stabilization of Iraq, led by the Shia government and defended by the predominantly Shia military forces. Tehran will adopt all possible measures to counteract the actions of the Gulf monarchies, and as a result, those of the United States and Israel, in Yemen, by supporting the Houthis.
    Within the framework of the Arab-Israeli confrontation, Iran will further seek to depict itself as the main frontline power working in the interests of the Palestinians. Tehran will contribute military and diplomatic efforts to strengthening the influence of Hezbollah in the region and to assist Hezbollah in gaining international, legal recognition as a legitimate political and military force in the region.
    Economic isolation is a major obstacle for Tehran. The Trump administration has intensified cooperation with Israel and sees Iran as a key threat to both the US and Israeli interests in the region. This political reality does not bode well for the chances that sanctions on Iran will be wholly lifted in the near future. Meanwhile, Iranian-EU relations pursue another agenda, and here Tehran could expect an economic breakthrough.
    As for Iranian military goals in 2017 in the region, they consist of:
    • decisive defeat of ISIS;
    • disintegration of radical Sunni opposition groups in the regions crucial for the survival of the Damascus regime, especially in the Damascus countryside, in the provinces of Homs and Daraa. At the least, Iran will be striving to push these groups to relocate to the province of Idlib;
    • strengthening of pro-government forces in Syria with special attention to strengthening of Shia and pro-Iranian military formations in the Syrian Armed Forces;
    • development of Hezbollah’s infrastructure in Syria;
    • development of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ facilities in Syria.
    Thus, we can see that Russia and Iran have joint military goals, and at least there are no irreconcilable differences. As to the political and diplomatic agenda in general, the situation is relatively the same; however, there could be some variance.
    These differences could appear as a result of different levels of vision of the situation in the region. Iran is a regional player with its own historical agenda, while Russia is a supra-regional player with some links to the region. Economic and energy factors could also play a role.

    This is why the alliance has to operate in close contact with one another and to respond swiftly to challenges as they materialize. Both sides have to clarify their own vital interests in good faith, to exchange views, and to develop a pragmatic, joint approach in the sphere of regional security.

    Press statements following talks with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani

    Press statements following talks with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani
    Following the Russian-Iranian talks, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani made press statements.
    March 28, 2017
    17:40
    The Kremlin, Moscow
    Following the Russian-Iranian talks, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani made press statements.
    Following the Russian-Iranian talks, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani made press statements.
    President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,
    The talks with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, who is in Russia on an official visit, were held in a businesslike and constructive manner. You have seen us sign a comprehensive Joint Statement and a major package of intergovernmental, interdepartmental and corporate documents. Thus, we can state with confidence that relations between Russia and Iran are truly of a friendly and respectful nature.
    Our states strive in every way to strengthen our multifaceted, mutually beneficial ties, and aim to bring our cooperation, through joint efforts, to the next level of strategic partnership. Mr Rouhani and I have agreed to continue to maintain an intensive political dialogue between our two countries, and to deepen Russian-Iranian cooperation in various areas, primarily the economy.
    We noted with satisfaction that trade between Russia and Iran grew by more than 70 percent in 2016. This is a truly good result, since we managed to achieve it amid an unstable global economy and persisting volatility on the commodity and currency markets.

    Lavrov Responds to US Decision to Block Advance of SAA in Syria



     Lavrov Responds to US Decision to Block Advance of SAA in Syria

     


    Published on 28/03/2017
    On March 27, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Moscow with  Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic Angelino Alfano.

    The two ministers discussed in detail the state of Russian-Italian relations in the political sphere, including the schedule of upcoming high- and top-level bilateral contacts, as well as interaction in the economic and scientific and technical areas. Particular attention was paid to intensifying successfully developing cultural and humanitarian cooperation, and expanding contacts between the two country’s civil societies.

    They exchanged views on key international issues including the situation in Syria, Libya and Ukraine, the interaction within the UN Security Council, of which Italy is a non-permanent member in 2017, and the prospects for Russia's relations with the European Union.

    DEMONIZING RUSSIA-THE PSYCHOLOGY AND CONSEQUENCES OF NEO-MCCARTHYISM



    É um erro estratégico assumir que a propaganda anti-russa funcionará sempre a favor da esquerda política. Lembrem-se do Mccarthismo original. Republicanos Neoconservadores como John Mccain e Mike Pence gostariam, sobretudo, ter a oportunidade de cortar as asas a Putin e, no contexto certo, é exactamente o que eles tentariam fazer. Ao ligar a Rússia a Trump (sem dúvida uma das figuras políticas mais odiadas da História americana), a esquerda está, inadvertidamente, a preparar as bases psicológicas para a guerra.



    The American public is being conditioned to fear and hate Russia, but why?
     March 28, 2017
    This article is not intended to alter your position in regard to Donald Trump in any way. Whether you love him or hate him isn’t an issue of global importance, nor is his political survival relevant to this analysis. Some of the tactics being used in the push to take Trump down however, are.
    THE STAKES
    Before we dive into the quagmire that the topic of of Russia, Trump and the 2016 elections has become, it behoves us to anchor to the stakes: Russia is a nuclear power. The demonization of foreign nations is a precursor to war, and even a limited conflict between the United States and Russia would kill millions (if not billions) of people; rendering much of the planet uninhabitable for decades. Using U.S. Russian relations as a political football in this context is foolish and irresponsible.
    THE TRUMP VARIABLE
    Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign made tying Trump to Russia a central pillar of their messaging strategy. This line of attack was predicated on comments made by Trump over the years expressing respect for Putin. For example:
    Look at Putin – what he’s doing with Russia – I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done – whether you like him or don’t like him – he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period,Trump to Larry King on CNN - October 2007
    “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.”Trump - July 31, 2015
    Clinton used these and other statements to weave the narrative that Trump is “Putin’s puppet”. The mainstream media, and left-leaning blogosphere took that narrative and ran with it. Those who didn’t were labeled “fake news”, and attacked as collaborators. The goal was to capitalize on existing anti-Russian sentiment by attaching it to Trump and his supporters (and to pressure those on the fence distance themselves).
    This wasn’t just innuendo. Take this headline from Buzzfeed for example: Trump Supporters Love Russia And Think CNN And The New York Times Are “Fake News”. Or this one from TheWeek: Why are Republicans so blindly backing Trump over Russia?
    This is an age-old political tactic. Guilt by association and honor by association (aka acquired equivalence) may be logical fallacies, but they are highly effective… most of the time.
    Studies have shown that not only does guilt by association transfer negative sentiments from an individual who is disliked to the target in question, but also to anyone associated with them.
    The pairing of a target with a (dis)liked person not only affects the evaluation of the previously neutral person but spreads to other individuals who are (pre)associated with the target (spreading attitude effect).
    This line of attack got plenty of traction on the neoliberal left, and from the old neocon contingent led by the likes of John Mccain (which have long pushed for a confrontation with Russia) but elicited virtually no response from Trump’s base. Why? Because Trump supporters don’t view Putin as the boogie man the corporate media has worked hard to depict him as. They view him as a conservative, a brilliant strategist, and a strong leader. They don’t see him as perfect, but they consider him to be better than Obama (and by a long shot).
    Obviously a lot of “progressives” take issue with that perception, and have found it very frustrating that they were unable to roll over that obstacle as if it wasn’t there. Their response to this, and to other similar failures, has been to declare that we are living in a “Post Truth Era”. That’s a topic in and of itself, but for those who have paid close attention to geopolitical developments over the past eight years, the irony is thick.
    THE RUSSIAN HACKING ALLEGATIONS

    assange



    At midday on Friday 5 February, 2016 Julian Assange, John Jones QC, Melinda Taylor, Jennifer Robinson and Baltasar Garzon will be speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club on the decision made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the Assange case.

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