July 21, 2014

Putin's Last Latin American Slap

At a time when U.S. President persistently urged European partners to adequate consolidated response to the aggression of Russia against Ukraine, Putin still tends to show the whole world and Europe in particular, that their hopes for the Kremlin's ruler's weakness and pliability are vain.

And the Latin American slap given after the international slap with Snowden, with the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea, with referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and with the unrecognized hybrid remote-controlled war in eastern Ukraine has demanded from B. Obama a symmetrical response. Especially, based on the content of this challenge — new military bases and electronic tracking stations near the USA, GLONASS[1] (alternative transport routes, creating one of the largest international banks of development and the pool of reserve currencies (giving up the dollar), possible accession of Argentina to the BRICS and strategic (in the future), BRICS-Eurasian Economic Union partnership.

“Of course, we must restore presence in this extremely interesting, very promising region of the world”
“Of course, we must restore presence in this extremely interesting, very promising region of the world”, - Putin said, ending his six-day Latin American tour.
http://ria.ru/

July 11, after an evening meeting with the members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, V. Putin went on the Latin American tour on a planned in advance route comprising unexpected for Western leaders points — countries which the Russian leadership tried not to visit before in order not to irritate Washington. But as they say, times have changed: now in the Kremlin the latest fashion is anti-Americanism!

Without going into the protocol descriptive details of the Russian leader's staying in each country, always illuminated by the Kremlin's propaganda by usual clichés (“Putin's victory”, “for the first time in history...”, “...breaking through the American dictatorship” and such like), let's draw our readers' attention to the key moments of foreign contacts of the Russian Federation's president.

1. Cuba. For the sake of the Anti-American demarche and in exchange for the resumption of work of the radio-electronic interception station in Lourdes, which Putin abandoned in 2002, Moscow writes off 90% of the 35 billion debt of the country, the annual turnover of which this year will not exceed 100 million US dollars and for which the Russian Federation is only the tenth trading partner. At the same time, dividends from the agreement on further exploration of oil fields Boca de Haruko count Igor Sechin's (one of Putin's “purses”) “Rosneft”.

Putin denied reports about the return to Russia of the radio-electronic center in Cuba
Putin denied reports about the return to Russia of the radio-electronic center in Cuba
http://www.gosrf.ru/

But do not have high hopes for new promises of the Cuban leadership (R. Castro), geared to normalization of relations with the United States (to break the economic blockade and to refill the state budget with emigrants' money), as well as to rapprochement with China and Vietnam, whose experience of diversification of the economy, with preserving the control of the ruling party, is acceptable for Cuba (July 14, the island was visited by the PRC's leader Xi Jinping — this is his second visit to the region this year!). Russian economy will not be able to benefit from the special economic zone “Marielle”, interest to which has not shown any strong foreign investor. While “Zarubezhneft” should remember about the experience of 20 years ago, when the Cuban side gave away to Mexican companies the received by the Russian company data on oil on the shelf (now Russian oil companies will compete with companies from Spain, Norway, Venezuela, China, and Canada).

Moreover, in political terms, Havana sticks to a very cautious position regarding the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and does not comment on the annexation of the Crimea by Russia. And in military terms, in response to the announced by the Russia's Defense Minister S. Shoigu, possible deployment on the island of a new military base, Cubans made ​​it clear that even the idea of ​​refueling of Russian strategic bombers does not sound too attractive to them. Thus, during V. Putin's second visit, Havana confirmed that it was ready to “take gifts” and live mainly in debt.

Vladimir Putin and President of Nicaragua discussed supplies of wheat and deployment of GLONASS

Vladimir Putin and President of Nicaragua discussed supplies of wheat and deployment of GLONASS
http://telegraf.com.ua/

2. Nicaragua. Because of turmoil in the country of the Kremlin's true anti-American ally N.Maduro, on “hint” of the owner of “Rosneft” (and not of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation), V.Putin “unexpectedly” first visited Nicaragua in order to discuss with D.Ortega a possibility of deepening of the military political cooperation, construction of the transcontinental alternate of the Panama Canal, and to enlist the support of the Nicaraguan authorities to Russia's position towards Ukraine, as it did in the case of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Apart from socially important supplies from the Russian Federation of wheat and agricultural machinery, were discussed important “anti-American” themes: deployment of GLONASS ground stations on the territory of Nicaragua and building of the transatlantic channel (recently the main investor of the project, the Chinese company “HKND” provided the final version of its route).

Experts believe that the parties must have raised the issue of bilateral cooperation in military and military-technical spheres. Earlier it was reported that the leadership of Nicaragua intended to propose to Moscow to address the issue of anti-terrorist security in the construction of the above-mentioned canal, and for this it promised to allow Russian warships to enter the ports, to use their infrastructure on an ongoing basis, to patrol their territorial waters, as well as to build a logistics point of service for the Russian Navy. Deputy Foreign Minister of Nicaragua M. Rubiales stated that Russians can help Managua to modernize its Navy, strengthening its naval power, and thereby increasing the area of protected sea waters. Nicaragua is also counting on Russia's participation in the overall modernization of the Nicaraguan Army. The Russian Federation's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Moscow intended to increase the number of military bases in other countries, particularly in Nicaragua. At the talks was also touched upon the question of possibility of refueling of aircrafts of long-range aviation at airfields of the respective countries.

On the eve of the visit, the Federation Council had ratified the Agreement of January 2012 between the Russian Federation and Nicaragua on cooperation in exploration and use of outer space, which will allow Russia to intensify production activities of enterprises of aerospace industry, to provide additional load for their capacities, to increase their competitiveness at the global markets of space services.

We should point out the sequence of the RF's efforts to transform Nicaragua into one of the bridgeheads of the Russian presence in the region.

Russia - Argentina: the two countries are interested in each other?
Russia - Argentina: the two countries are interested in each other?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/

3. Argentina. During his first visit to this country and talks with President C.F.Kirchner, the Russian leader praised “Argentina's having its own and always independent opinions on key issues on the international agenda, which is extremely important and not often found in today's world”, “joint defending [by Russia and Argentina] of principles of the multi-polar world“, supported Argentina's leader in his expressions against the USA and the UK due to their application of double standards in relation to the referendum in the Crimea and in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (“the position of the insolvency of the referendum in the Crimea and at the same time a positive perception of Falklanders' expression of their will does not stand up to scrutiny”). Moscow and Buenos Aires confirmed the identity of their critical positions in relation to the international financial system, the “Group of Twenty” (G-20)'s activity, and “the responsibility of those who are at the head of the world”.

The parties discussed the prospect of placing GLONASS ground stations in Argentina and the bilateral military-technical cooperation, in particular, the supply of Russian helicopters and military transport aircrafts, including for cooperation in Antarctica.

Within the framework of cooperation and implementation of new projects in the energy sector during the visit was signed an intergovernmental Agreement on cooperation in the use of peaceful nuclear energy, designed to be the basis of Russian-Argentine cooperation in design, construction, maintenance and taking out from operation of the nuclear power plant and research reactors, desalination equipment inclusive. According to the President of the Russian Federation, “Rosatom” will actively participate in the tender for the construction of the third energy block of the NPP “Atucha” this autumn. Besides, Russian companies “Inter RAO” and “Power Machines” hope to participate in construction and modernization of the HPP “Chiuido 1”, “Punta Negra”, the Argentine-Uruguayan HPP “Salto Grande Dam” and the complex of the HPP “Argentina — Patagonia”. Part of the Russian delegation also visited the Argentine field “Vaca Muerta” in the province of Neuquen (the second in the world in terms of shale gas and the fourth — of shale oil (requires significant initial investments).

Аргентина изъявила желание стать шестым членом БРИКС
Argentina expressed a desire to become the sixth member of the BRICS
http://news.ru.msn.com/

Also there were held preliminary discussions on accession of Argentina to BRICS (actively advertised by pro-Kremlin media), but to formally arrange its membership Argentina will be able not sooner than in 2015, when the organizer of the 7th Summit of this association will be Russia (the city of Ufa).

Our sources have so far failed to clarify the “German context” of Putin's visit in the part of completion of negotiations of the Russian corporation “Gazprom” about its possible participation in the implementation at the territory of the Republic of Argentina of gas projects “Wintershall” (a subsidiary of German chemical company “BASF”) and signing of the relevant commercial Agreement in the presence of the Russian Federation's President. Perhaps this question was in the closed part of the agenda of the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel in Brazil.

So, Argentina turns into a special partner of the Russian Federation in Latin America and is in solidarity with the Russian position concerning the annexation of the Crimea. On the promotion of the Russian point of view in this country will work the signed by the Minister of Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation Mikhail Nikiforov with Argentine authorities Agreement on cooperation in the mass communications industry, providing for around the clock broadcast on local cable networks of the Spanish-language version of Goebbels propaganda channel “Russіa Today”.

In turn C.F.Kirchner counts on Russia as a potential source of international investments in the situation of depleted internal capabilities of the country and the actual isolation from the world markets of capital.

Putin in the capital of Brasilia held talks with President Dilma Rousseff
Putin in the capital of Brasilia held talks with President Dilma Rousseff
http://news.sevas.ua/

4. Brazil. At the talks with the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil D.Russeff were voiced ambitious plans for increasing very soon bilateral trade volumes to the level of 10 billion US dollars per year (in 2013 — 5.56 billion US dollars), Russia's creating most favorable conditions for Brazilian companies in the markets of the Russian Federation and the Customs Union, cooperation in exploration and production of oil and gas, development of the national infrastructure — construction of railways, motorways, ports — the last two offers were voiced by the FRB officials.

The signed memorandum of intents provides for the construction of two calibration stations of the GLONASS system on the territory of the Federal University of Santa Maria in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, and the Institute of Technology in the state of Pernambuco in the north east of the country (the first such station was located on the territory of the University of Brasilia in 2013 during a visit to the FRB of Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev).

As part of the expansion of military-technical cooperation D. Rousseff confirmed that her country was interested in acquiring Russian air defense systems (three batteries of the latest ZRPK (Portable antiaircraft missile system) “Pantsir-S1” (“Armor”), as well as in construction of an assembly plant with total cost over 1 billion US dollars). In this regard, Russia has offered the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Federal Republic of Brazil to take part, as an observer, in the military training exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation from August 28 to September 2, where the planned use of the above-mentioned Air Defense Systems will take place. [Brazilian military hardly need to spend their extra money and time as the confirmation of the “effectiveness” of “Pantsir-S1” can serve the attack from the Russian Federation's territory at the Ukrainian military aircraft An-26 14 July this year near Krasnodon].

5. Summit of the BRICS. Even before the start of his tour Vladimir Putin had been calling on to countries of Latin American region, especially of the Commonwealth of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, created in February 2010, brings together 33 States, is a counterweight to the Organization of American States, with headquarters in Washington which has 35 country-members) to work more closely with the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, the volume of the overall market of which can serve as a “protection from attempts of international and economic isolation of any of the allies”.

As part of the Kremlin's plans for the formation of new transcontinental, including anti-American, integration groupings, at the 6th Summit of the BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) was adopted a number of important decisions on creation, as opposed to IMF, controlled by Washington, of New Development Bank (with a capital of 100 billion US dollars) and formation of the so-called conditional pool of foreign exchange reserves, aiming to weaken the “dollar leash” for member-states and their allies among the developing countries. According to the RF President's Assistant Yu. Ushakov, new institutions of BRICS will allow to “significantly strengthen the global financial system, which is especially important against the background of the deadlocked reform of the IMF”.

Putin also kept actively offering his initiatives for creation of an international economic bank for BRICS (to strengthen the energy independence of the participating countries), development of the satellite industry, expansion of cooperation in the mining industry (part of countries- members of the Association represent 36% of world reserves of raw materials); expansion of the zone of visa-free regime with the countries of South and Central America.

Despite the Kremlin's attempts, in paragraph 44 of the joint (“Fortaleza”) Declaration of the BRICS' 6th Summit regarding Ukraine was expressed a “deep concern about the situation in Ukraine”, and there are calls for “...a comprehensive dialogue, conflict de-escalation and restraint of all the countries involved in order to find a peaceful political solution in full accordance with the UN Charter, universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

The USA did not hesitate to answer. On the last day of the Latin American tour of the Russian head, Barack Obama gave the answer, for which V. Putin had been asking for a long time: according to the Ministry of Finance of the United States, have been imposed sectoral sanctions against the Russian military-industrial, oil and gas and banking sectors — corporation “Almaz-Antey”, concerns “Kalashnikov”, “Radio-electronic technologies” and “Sozvezdiye”, SDPC “Izhmash”, “Basalt”, “Uralvagonzavod” and “Mashinostroyenie” (Reutovo), Tula Design Bureau “Priborostroyenie”, OAOs “Novatek” and “Rosneft”; the state “Vnesheconombank” and OAO “Gazprombank”. Sanctions have been imposed against the vice-speaker of the State Duma S.Neverov, Assistant to President of the Russian Federation I.Schegolev, Minister for Crimea A. Saveliev. The U.S. President called on European countries to also move to sector sanctions.

July 17 trading Russian stocks opened with the predictable collapse — MICEX index fell by 2.07%, the RTS index — by 3.23%; shares of “Gasport” on July 16-17 fell by 3.59 and 2.22%, respectively; ruble fell to a minimum of 4 weeks against the bi-currency basket and its components.

P.S. After Putin's mercenaries, using a rocket, attacked the airliner of “Malaysian Airlines” the talk will be not about the scale of sanctions against Russia, but about the international isolation of the Kremlin regime. And Putin will have to give up any “slaps”. Both, literally and figuratively. Since he will have to constantly hide his hands in his pockets: we believe in the civilized world no one, even the vast majority of conscientious citizens of the Russian Federation, will not want to shake hands with the political and military sponsor of killers.

 



[1] As of today, ground stations of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), except for the 14 on the territory of Russia, are in Antarctica and Brazil. Moscow plans to deploy similar stations in Cuba, Iran, Vietnam, Spain, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Australia, Brazil (+2), Antarctica (+1). GLONASS was developed in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR in 1976. 29 satellites are operating. The RF uses the system for military and commercial purposes. Competes with the other global navigation system - the U.S. NAVSTAR GPS.