Daily Archives: January 5, 2007

Annals of Cold War II: Merkel and Lukashenko Blast Putin

The International Herald Tribune reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lashed out at the Kremlin’s classic neo-Soviet hypocrisy in closing the Shtokman gas fields to European investors while at the same time expecting full access to European markets. Dream on Russia, a combative Chancellor says:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview published Wednesday that Europe would be entitled to keep out Russian business expansion if Moscow blocks European investors. “I think it’s perfectly legitimate for Russia to seek greater access to western European markets,” Merkel was quoted as saying by the Financial Times newspaper. “Having said that, we must have reciprocity. If obstacles are being erected to protect Russian companies from European investors, nobody should resent it if the Europeans take reciprocal action,” she said.

Merkel did not elaborate in an edited transcript of the interview posted on the newspaper’s Web site. During a visit to Germany in September, Russian President Vladimir Putin lobbied German business leaders to accept more investment from Russian companies. Merkel’s remarks follow differing statements by Russian authorities about to what extent they might include foreign investors in developing the Shtokman gas field. State-controlled Russian gas company Gazprom also has wrested a controlling stake in the Sakhalin-2 gas development from Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. after bureaucratic pressure from Russian officials over purported environmental issues. In October, Russia locked out major international energy companies who had been angling for access to Shtokman — including U.S. giants Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, as well as Norway’s Statoil ASA and Norsk Hydro ASA, and France’s Total SA. Recently officials have said they might permit foreign involvement under certain conditions.

Merkel also expressed concern about the amount of press freedom in Russia and about increased legal burdens placed on nongovernmental organizations. “We have seen some incidents that we ought to be concerned about,” Merkel said, without elaborating. “We always mention such observations (to the Russians).”

Meanwhile, UPI reports that Belarussian “President” Alexander Lukashenko has imposed a duty on all Russian oil crossing the territory of Belarus following the Kremlin’s extortionate price gouging on supplies to Belarus in order to bludgeon that country to hand over control of its energy infrastructure to Russia, a nakedly imperialist gambit:

Belarus said it was imposing a duty on Russian oil crossing its territory in retaliation for Russia’s more than doubling its natural gas price. The $45-per-metric-ton transit duty, imposed Thursday by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, is retroactive to Monday, the day the gas hike to Belarus went into effect, the Russian Information Agency Novosti reported.

The Kremlin said the duty will not threaten oil deliveries. Some analysts said it could cause short-term disruption to German and Polish refiners, the BBC reported. The refiners might also look for cheaper supplies elsewhere. Russia transports 20 percent, or 1 million barrels, of its oil exports through Belarus, largely to Germany and Poland. Belarus agreed to pay $100 per cubic metric ton, up from $46.7, and sold half its Beltransgaz gas pipeline operator for $2.5 billion, half the $5 billion Belarus originally demanded. Moscow says it wants all former Soviet republics pay market prices for energy supplies.

Russia’s Report Card for 2006

La Russophobe has prepared Russia’s report card for the preceding year based on its many evaluations by qualified international organizations and agencies across a broad range of national challenges.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia, the little dunce, has failed every subject which might lead to success and passed every subject which might lead to failure with flying colors.

All these studies have been subjects of posts on La Russophobe in the past nine months, and they only scratch the surface of the deep-seated failures that pervade Russian society (such vital topics as population growth, AIDS infection and crime are left unaddressed as we focus on fundamental issues involving the basic operation of the political and social structure of the nation).

These results can hardly be surprising when the nation chooses as its president not only a proud KGB spy with no significant education or experience in democratic politics but one nominated to his position by a figure they purported to despise.

RUSSIA’S REPORT CARD FOR 2006

Subject……………..GradeClass Rank…………..Instructor

Counterfeiting………A……………2……………….European Union

Bribery……………….A…………..2……………….Transparency International

Sexism………………..B………..13/75(83%)………United Nations

Competitiveness…….F………62/125 (50%)………. World Economic Forum

Humanity…………….F……….65/173 (38%)………United Nations

Stability……………..F…………bottom 30%……..Foreign Policy

Jurisprudence………F………151/208 (28%)………World Bank

Honesty…………….F………. 129/159 (19%)……Transparency International

Press Freedom……..F……….147/168 (12%)……..Reporters Without Borders

Environment………..F……….172/178 (4%)………New Economics Foundation

Development………..O………….off scale…………Center for Development

Teacher Comments: This student lacks a work ethic (indeed, ethics of any kind) and is prone to cheating. Spends most of the time doing drugs and staring blankly out the window. Responds to criticism defensively, resorts easily to violence and receives no correction or support in the home environment. Parents likely to blame the teacher for the student’s poor performance. Child is unlikely to graduate, may well face incarceration before attaining the age of majority.

Russia’s Report Card for 2006

La Russophobe has prepared Russia’s report card for the preceding year based on its many evaluations by qualified international organizations and agencies across a broad range of national challenges.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia, the little dunce, has failed every subject which might lead to success and passed every subject which might lead to failure with flying colors.

All these studies have been subjects of posts on La Russophobe in the past nine months, and they only scratch the surface of the deep-seated failures that pervade Russian society (such vital topics as population growth, AIDS infection and crime are left unaddressed as we focus on fundamental issues involving the basic operation of the political and social structure of the nation).

These results can hardly be surprising when the nation chooses as its president not only a proud KGB spy with no significant education or experience in democratic politics but one nominated to his position by a figure they purported to despise.

RUSSIA’S REPORT CARD FOR 2006

Subject……………..GradeClass Rank…………..Instructor

Counterfeiting………A……………2……………….European Union

Bribery……………….A…………..2……………….Transparency International

Sexism………………..B………..13/75(83%)………United Nations

Competitiveness…….F………62/125 (50%)………. World Economic Forum

Humanity…………….F……….65/173 (38%)………United Nations

Stability……………..F…………bottom 30%……..Foreign Policy

Jurisprudence………F………151/208 (28%)………World Bank

Honesty…………….F………. 129/159 (19%)……Transparency International

Press Freedom……..F……….147/168 (12%)……..Reporters Without Borders

Environment………..F……….172/178 (4%)………New Economics Foundation

Development………..O………….off scale…………Center for Development

Teacher Comments: This student lacks a work ethic (indeed, ethics of any kind) and is prone to cheating. Spends most of the time doing drugs and staring blankly out the window. Responds to criticism defensively, resorts easily to violence and receives no correction or support in the home environment. Parents likely to blame the teacher for the student’s poor performance. Child is unlikely to graduate, may well face incarceration before attaining the age of majority.

Russia’s Report Card for 2006

La Russophobe has prepared Russia’s report card for the preceding year based on its many evaluations by qualified international organizations and agencies across a broad range of national challenges.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia, the little dunce, has failed every subject which might lead to success and passed every subject which might lead to failure with flying colors.

All these studies have been subjects of posts on La Russophobe in the past nine months, and they only scratch the surface of the deep-seated failures that pervade Russian society (such vital topics as population growth, AIDS infection and crime are left unaddressed as we focus on fundamental issues involving the basic operation of the political and social structure of the nation).

These results can hardly be surprising when the nation chooses as its president not only a proud KGB spy with no significant education or experience in democratic politics but one nominated to his position by a figure they purported to despise.

RUSSIA’S REPORT CARD FOR 2006

Subject……………..GradeClass Rank…………..Instructor

Counterfeiting………A……………2……………….European Union

Bribery……………….A…………..2……………….Transparency International

Sexism………………..B………..13/75(83%)………United Nations

Competitiveness…….F………62/125 (50%)………. World Economic Forum

Humanity…………….F……….65/173 (38%)………United Nations

Stability……………..F…………bottom 30%……..Foreign Policy

Jurisprudence………F………151/208 (28%)………World Bank

Honesty…………….F………. 129/159 (19%)……Transparency International

Press Freedom……..F……….147/168 (12%)……..Reporters Without Borders

Environment………..F……….172/178 (4%)………New Economics Foundation

Development………..O………….off scale…………Center for Development

Teacher Comments: This student lacks a work ethic (indeed, ethics of any kind) and is prone to cheating. Spends most of the time doing drugs and staring blankly out the window. Responds to criticism defensively, resorts easily to violence and receives no correction or support in the home environment. Parents likely to blame the teacher for the student’s poor performance. Child is unlikely to graduate, may well face incarceration before attaining the age of majority.

Russia’s Report Card for 2006

La Russophobe has prepared Russia’s report card for the preceding year based on its many evaluations by qualified international organizations and agencies across a broad range of national challenges.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia, the little dunce, has failed every subject which might lead to success and passed every subject which might lead to failure with flying colors.

All these studies have been subjects of posts on La Russophobe in the past nine months, and they only scratch the surface of the deep-seated failures that pervade Russian society (such vital topics as population growth, AIDS infection and crime are left unaddressed as we focus on fundamental issues involving the basic operation of the political and social structure of the nation).

These results can hardly be surprising when the nation chooses as its president not only a proud KGB spy with no significant education or experience in democratic politics but one nominated to his position by a figure they purported to despise.

RUSSIA’S REPORT CARD FOR 2006

Subject……………..GradeClass Rank…………..Instructor

Counterfeiting………A……………2……………….European Union

Bribery……………….A…………..2……………….Transparency International

Sexism………………..B………..13/75(83%)………United Nations

Competitiveness…….F………62/125 (50%)………. World Economic Forum

Humanity…………….F……….65/173 (38%)………United Nations

Stability……………..F…………bottom 30%……..Foreign Policy

Jurisprudence………F………151/208 (28%)………World Bank

Honesty…………….F………. 129/159 (19%)……Transparency International

Press Freedom……..F……….147/168 (12%)……..Reporters Without Borders

Environment………..F……….172/178 (4%)………New Economics Foundation

Development………..O………….off scale…………Center for Development

Teacher Comments: This student lacks a work ethic (indeed, ethics of any kind) and is prone to cheating. Spends most of the time doing drugs and staring blankly out the window. Responds to criticism defensively, resorts easily to violence and receives no correction or support in the home environment. Parents likely to blame the teacher for the student’s poor performance. Child is unlikely to graduate, may well face incarceration before attaining the age of majority.

Russia’s Report Card for 2006

La Russophobe has prepared Russia’s report card for the preceding year based on its many evaluations by qualified international organizations and agencies across a broad range of national challenges.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Russia, the little dunce, has failed every subject which might lead to success and passed every subject which might lead to failure with flying colors.

All these studies have been subjects of posts on La Russophobe in the past nine months, and they only scratch the surface of the deep-seated failures that pervade Russian society (such vital topics as population growth, AIDS infection and crime are left unaddressed as we focus on fundamental issues involving the basic operation of the political and social structure of the nation).

These results can hardly be surprising when the nation chooses as its president not only a proud KGB spy with no significant education or experience in democratic politics but one nominated to his position by a figure they purported to despise.

RUSSIA’S REPORT CARD FOR 2006

Subject……………..GradeClass Rank…………..Instructor

Counterfeiting………A……………2……………….European Union

Bribery……………….A…………..2……………….Transparency International

Sexism………………..B………..13/75(83%)………United Nations

Competitiveness…….F………62/125 (50%)………. World Economic Forum

Humanity…………….F……….65/173 (38%)………United Nations

Stability……………..F…………bottom 30%……..Foreign Policy

Jurisprudence………F………151/208 (28%)………World Bank

Honesty…………….F………. 129/159 (19%)……Transparency International

Press Freedom……..F……….147/168 (12%)……..Reporters Without Borders

Environment………..F……….172/178 (4%)………New Economics Foundation

Development………..O………….off scale…………Center for Development

Teacher Comments: This student lacks a work ethic (indeed, ethics of any kind) and is prone to cheating. Spends most of the time doing drugs and staring blankly out the window. Responds to criticism defensively, resorts easily to violence and receives no correction or support in the home environment. Parents likely to blame the teacher for the student’s poor performance. Child is unlikely to graduate, may well face incarceration before attaining the age of majority.

Putin as Despised in West as Bush, maybe More So

Kommersant reports that Vladimir Putin finds himself in the same category of loathing as does U.S. President George W. Bush (no wonder they are so chummy) in the view of European and American voters. Along with the crazed “president” of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the three are the most despised political leaders. In still worse news for Putin, his firebrand critic the newly elected Chancellor of Germany Angel Merkel won the poll. Kommersant states: “In all of the countries in the poll except the U.S., many more respondents dislike Putin than Ahmadinejad. In France, 73% of respondents dislike Putin (as compared to 60% who dislike Ahmadinejad), in Britain 60% (with 53% against Ahmadinejad) and in Spain 80% (with 70% against Ahmadinejad). While Putin has more supporters in the West than Bush, he trails behind such leaders as Hugo Chavez (except among the Spanish) and Fidel Castro (except among the Spanish and Americans).” So much for the bizarre idea that Russia and Putin somehow stand with a coalition in Europe against the “evil” United States. Remember those images from Slate and the Economist? Here’s more evidence that it’s also a ridiculous lie to suggest that Vladimir Putin is some sort of genius of public relations, winning friends and influencing people in the West. Nice try though, little Volodya. Better luck next time.