But watch this video where Vladimir (I’ll have my pen back) Putin takes Oleg to task, publicly forcing him to sign a contract and re-open one of his (private company) smelters.
This, I think, gives an inkling of how the Mafia was ‘defeated’ in the smelters. And now that debt must be repaid. It’s great watching real power in action.
I’ve said many times that Putin is a very, very, long term strategist.
In the news today, although you’d hardly think so because of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict, is the story that the Ukraine can’t pay their gas bills. I apologise for it being a bit buried amongst the profits’ statements etc, but hey!, I didn’t write it.
However, please read the links. Within the blurb is the crushing realisation, like a deja vu, that the events in Georgia this last year, along with all the dire dependency that the West (especially Europe) has on Russian energy, still have not gone away. I’ve banged on about this for over a year now… It’s a sleeping, really obvious, giant, that we choose to ignore at our peril.
Today, only the four links above mention this news. The rest of the world is asleep, mesmerised by the Israeli weaponry. So lets look at it logically.
Western European gets 45% (and rising) of it’s gas from Russia.
My house is heated by gas and I live in Western Europe.
Russian gas is managed by a “company” called GazProm.
GazProm is very similar to US “companies” (especially now :-?) in that the political leaders (Putin, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paulson) control the companies.
Putin controls GazProm.
GazProm can charge what they like for their gas – it’s a free market and the country (Russia) is well capable of looking after it’s interests defensively, and offensively.
Ukraine can’t pay – they’ve run out of cash.
The Ukraine will get cut off (again!!) in 2009.
The gas for Western Europe goes through a pipeline – across the Ukraine.
Now we are back to square one except GazProm is richer, Putin has more power, the US is bankrupt and a new, unique, US President, has been served a dog’s dinner of an economic and political legacy and been asked to turn it into a banquet to satisfy all tastes.
As an aside, in the research for this article, I came across Pravda again. Each time I go there it gets more and more bizarre…. and I mean, bizarre.
It still has the constant haranguing of capitalism etc from it’s old paper output during the cold war. Some articles are pretty good, almost as good as mine ;-) ,…
But what is odd is two things;
It’s got Google ads plastered everywhere!
Lots of articles look like the National Enquirer or News of the World! I mean, it’s full of “bizarre pics” and provocative tabloid stories like;
An American friend decided to post a present for my family here in the UK. I (and then we) ended up having to pay import tax on the gift of about forty quid! It was only worth two hundred….
This is due to the fact that the USA, land of free enterprise, refuses to abide by WTO free trade rulings so that the EU, quite legally, slaps on a whack of tax to discourage purchasing and importing from the USA!
These are two files detailing the list of items affected.
So behind all the huffing and puffing over Georgia and the stranglehold that Russia can exert on European energy supplies, the EU and the USA have had their own private battle going on for years – and there’s hardly a mention in the press!
It does bring into focus the notion that the USA is a land of free enterprise though. They’ve nationalised the two biggest financial institutions (handling trillions of dollars) and employ trade embargoes to protect their industry. Because of their profligate use of natural resources in the past, the only method of leveraging opinion in the world nowadays is that of swaggering military power. Gunboat diplomacy in the old parlance.
But when this approach is tried on Russia, it falls woefully short of success. To illustrate how the real way to wield power in the world has changed, cast your mind back to March this year (2008), and follow the timeline of events in the Ukraine…
Of course, GazProm isn’t a real company like you or I might own, any more than Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac are in the USA. They are all tools of the state, controlled by very few people indeed. Notionally these people are elected in free and fair elections but neither Bush, Putin or Medvedev can claim any sort of moral high ground on this point, which is why they don’t browbeat each other over the issue.
Instead, we see a tit-for-tat kind of dialogue worthy of a children’s playground over issues, that if history is repeated, could be very serious for us all.
Compare and Contrast:
Era: 1938, Place: Europe
Era: 2008, Place: Europe
Following the break up of a major world power (Austro-Hungarian Empire) and the re-adjustment of boundaries after a war (WW1), various social and ethnic problems remain.
Following the break up of a major world power (USSR) and the readjustment of boundaries after a war (Bosnia, Serbia, Chechnia etc), various social and ethnic problems remain.
A large block of ethnic Germans exist in another country (Czechoslovakia)
A large block of ethnic Russians exist in another country (Georgia)
A Worldwide economic depression has existed for 9 years
A worldwide deepening recession has existed for a year.
15/9/1938: UK prime minister sees Germans for peace (appeasement).
March 2008: Georgian pressure mounts
1/10/1938: Germany enters part of the country to “protect” it’s citizens (Sudetenland)
Aug 2008: Georgia cracks, invades small departments.
Just to make everything crystal clear, Miliband, the new hope of the Labour Party, is now whizzing round various former USSR states and others to check what side they’re on in case of…
…well, “in case of what?” – we should be asking ourselves!
What good can possible come from any of this? Nothing.
Is the world going to be a safer place? No.
Is this a dialogue to remove conflict? No.
Emperors and kings have their foundation in the state and bring peace and order to the age; ministers and commoners hold possession of their fields and gardens and supply the needs of the world. But if marauders come from other regions to invade the nation, or if revolt breaks out within the domain and people’s lands are seized and plundered, how can there be anything but terror and confusion? If the nation is destroyed and people’s homes are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not? – Nichiren Daishonin: On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land – WND1, page 24
(paraphrasing Mandy Rice-Davies) – well they would, wouldn’t they!
Putin, the hand rocking the Russian cradle, must be happy, but not surprised… It was he who set the current format of the Upper House, the Federation Council in 2004 when, following the Beslan School Hostage Crisis he removed the system of regional elections to the Council and replaced it with a system of Direct Presidential Appointments.
Putin was the President in 2004!!
Q. And where is Beslan?
A. Why, in North Ossetia!
Q. And why did Russia invade South Ossetia?
A. To help all the Russian Nationals.
Q. And why are there so many Russian Nationals in South Ossetia?
A. Because since 1991, the USSR breakup, Russia has been dishing out passports faster than a slick blackjack croupier to anyone who had the merest pretension of looking interested in South Ossetia! In fact, the normally, very strict rules on Russian Passport issue which reputably take months of inquest, are relaxed to be non-existent for anyone from the area.
So the building blocks for a new wall were ordered years ago and are now being delivered.
It’s amazing to consider that it was only a few years ago that plans and ideas were still being seriously discussed for Russia to join NATO! See links below as examples.
I still feel that the current situation has been engineered to serve Putin and the right-wing USA forces for the same ends – i.e. To create a local power structure using a “big common enemy” scenario to erect barriers to the exchange of ideas and thus maintain each side’s power base indefinitely.
Ian Bell in the Scottish Sunday Herald has a good take on this. The comments following his article make valuable (and entertaining) reading as well! see: Georgia was tricked, but by Russia or US?
Over the last couple of days the strangest thought has plagued me. Two simple ugly words have kept emerging, only for me to lock them out and ridicule them as bizarre. Simon’s dead. Just to write it down feels like … Continue reading →
If you ever needed confirmation that the UK is not run by a shadowy cabal of sinister plotters but a bunch of chinless fucking idiots then the upcoming Digital Economy Bill is a good place to start. As well as … Continue reading →