Daily Archives: February 16, 2007

Russia Considers Unilateral Repudiation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty

As if the crazed, frenzied diatribe of Vladimir Putin in Munich was not enough, now a neo-Soviet general is talking unilateral repudiation of strategic arms treaties. Welcome to Cold War II, the one Russia provoked and can’t possibly survive. The Associated Press reports:

A top Russian general said Thursday that Moscow may unilaterally opt out of a Soviet-era arms reduction treaty with the United States, Russian news agencies reported.

Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky, the chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, was quoted by ITAR-Tass and Interfax as saying that Russia could pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, negotiated between Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1987. He said the decision would depend on the United States’ actions with its proposed missile defense system, parts of which Washington is seeking to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic. The treaty eliminated an entire class of medium-range missiles that had been based in Europe. Baluyevsky’s comments come after President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that the INF treaty no longer serves Russia’s interests.

In the Refrigerator

Reading from left to right:

TOP SHELF: Freedom of Speech. Khodorkovsky (in Solitary). Eggs.
MIDDLE SHELF: Cold War (Expiration Date:). Successor. Polonium.
BOTTOM SHELF: Connie’s Dog Food. 7% Inflation. Milk.

Source: Ellustrator.

NB: These cartoons routinely draw several dozen comments from Russian readers when Ellustrator posts them and they are often worth reading. On the Ellustrator page for this item (linked above), a commenter asks: “What about ‘elections’? What about ‘health care’?” Another commenter answers him: “Don’t forget, a refrigerator also has a freezer compartment, it’s just not shown in the drawing.”

NB: Russia is currently running 9-10% overall inflation according to Kremlin data (which means the real rate is quite possibly higher). However, the inflation rate on the prices of goods in the basic consumer basket that Russian people with an average weekly wage of $100 can afford roughly double the overall rate. The Kremlin expresses aspirations of achieving 7% inflation, a rate that would be deemed a harbinger of economic apocalypse if it were occurring the U.S. In Russia, it’s a distant dreamlike goal.

LR Announces Milestones

La Russophobe is pleased to announce that yesterday this blog recorded its 100,000th page view. This does not mean there have been 100,000 visits to the blog, it means that web pages created by this blog have been viewed 100,000 times. To date, we are pleased to have received 49,500 visits and expect to reach the 50,000 visit milestone within the next few hours. On average, this blog currently receives about 475 visits and 950 page views each day — in other words, an average visitor views 2 different web pages we have generated on each visit. No blog of this kind in the world has more published daily traffic.

This blog will not even celebrate its 11-month anniversary until March 2nd,
and it will not be one year old until April 2nd. Therefore, we view the 100,000 page view milestone as a major achievement, and the same of course goes for
the 50,000 visit mark.

We have said before and will say again: This accomplishment belongs as much to you, the reader, as it does to the publishers and contributors. We again thank all readers, and especially conributing readers, for their continuing support.

Update on Litvinenko

A reader provides the following updates on the Litvineko saga:

As for some interesting new stuff on Litvinenko, not much is out since Scotland Yard turned its dossier over to CPS (the Crown Prosecutorial Services). I doubt this case will see a courtroom. What’s funny is that in mid-January, when British reports first came out blatantly accusing Lugovoi, he even at one point stupidly said that he would, I paraphrase, go to all lengths to defend his reputation aggressively — implying he might sue for slander. I think someone with more than two vodka and polonium soaked brain cells reminded him that that would entail actually going back to Britain to appear in court, and that he can’t do that. He shut up that talk quickly. But for new confirmation of details that were considered speculation, check the BBC Newsnight report on Alexander Litvinenko’s dossier. This report does several things:


  • reveals a claim by Yuri Felshtinsky that Andrei Lugovoi was in London on October 12, 2006 — a time the British authorities reportedly did not know about
  • confirms Litvinenko was employed by Titon (which has a sister company, Erinys) International to perform due diligence background checks on Russian officials, company officers and owners for investors — information reported by Larisa Alexandrovna at At Largely and by Litvinenko’s colleague Yuri Shvets to the BBC’s Tom Mangold (and if Shvets’s previous information of a $100,000 contract with Titon is true, then Litvinenko was hardly “penniless,” as Julia Svetlichnaja-Svetlichnaya claimed, by the way)
  • presents an 8-pp. dossier on Kremlin-connected, Aeroflot chair Victor Ivanov (this is completely new info) which was written by Litvinenko, then reveals that Litvinenko passed this dossier to Lugovoi in late September 2006
It’s also interesting that the British HPA will hold a symposium in late March to discuss with first responders and other pertinant personnel the public health threat presented by the polonium exposure in London, and their response to it:

Also, more on our favorite “honey trap,” Julia Svetlichnaja: According to James Heartfield’s home page, on 30 Jan. at 2 pm, a “seminar” on Litvinenko case and the “New Cold War” for CSD turned surreal when Aftenposten reporter Hilde Harbo apparently turned up to continue her inquiry. LR: Notice that while Heartfield attempts to attack Harbo and her source, he says nothing about the status of Svetlichnaja’s alleged lawsuit against Aftenposten, which has seemingly not progressed at all, nor does he answer any of the pressing questions about Svetlichnaja’s conflict of interest. It’s pure propaganda, and there’s no attempt to give a full report on the proceedings, much less a transcript. Amazingly (or perhaps not so), no reference to Svetlichnaja is made on his home page itself except for the December 2006 press conference.

I found a Russian article which gave more info on her background. I put it through an online translation filter (meat grinder?) to discover this mentions her hometown is Cherepovets and that her father was a “known party functionary” who died (I believe perhaps somewhat mysteriously according to this, but it’s hard to discern) in the early ’90s.

Bankruptcy on Russia’s Horizon

The BBC reports that Russia is awash in bad debt, facing a massive three-fold increase in the past year as banks, flush with oil revenues, too aggressively seek lending outlets. This is more or less what happened in the US in the 1920s, and the stock market crash was the result.

The amount of bad consumer debt in Russia tripled during 2006 from the year before, according to figures from the Central Bank in Moscow. Some analysts suggest the situation is under control, but media reports imply Russia could be heading for a credit crisis. Lenders have announced that stricter checks on potential borrowers will be introduced from 1 March. Russians racked up more than $1bn (£511m) in bad debts in 2006. It is less than 10 years since the banking system in Russia all but collapsed – so warnings of a crisis ring alarm bells. There are plenty of loans on offer in Russia – advertising in the country emphasises the cars and holidays which consumers can pay for if they take out credit. But advertising fails to remind them about whether they can make the repayments. Not everyone agrees there’s a looming disaster. Rusrating – an agency which gives credit ratings to Russian banks – says the bad loans “are not safe, but not a danger”.

Bankruptcy on Russia’s Horizon

The BBC reports that Russia is awash in bad debt, facing a massive three-fold increase in the past year as banks, flush with oil revenues, too aggressively seek lending outlets. This is more or less what happened in the US in the 1920s, and the stock market crash was the result.

The amount of bad consumer debt in Russia tripled during 2006 from the year before, according to figures from the Central Bank in Moscow. Some analysts suggest the situation is under control, but media reports imply Russia could be heading for a credit crisis. Lenders have announced that stricter checks on potential borrowers will be introduced from 1 March. Russians racked up more than $1bn (£511m) in bad debts in 2006. It is less than 10 years since the banking system in Russia all but collapsed – so warnings of a crisis ring alarm bells. There are plenty of loans on offer in Russia – advertising in the country emphasises the cars and holidays which consumers can pay for if they take out credit. But advertising fails to remind them about whether they can make the repayments. Not everyone agrees there’s a looming disaster. Rusrating – an agency which gives credit ratings to Russian banks – says the bad loans “are not safe, but not a danger”.

Bankruptcy on Russia’s Horizon

The BBC reports that Russia is awash in bad debt, facing a massive three-fold increase in the past year as banks, flush with oil revenues, too aggressively seek lending outlets. This is more or less what happened in the US in the 1920s, and the stock market crash was the result.

The amount of bad consumer debt in Russia tripled during 2006 from the year before, according to figures from the Central Bank in Moscow. Some analysts suggest the situation is under control, but media reports imply Russia could be heading for a credit crisis. Lenders have announced that stricter checks on potential borrowers will be introduced from 1 March. Russians racked up more than $1bn (£511m) in bad debts in 2006. It is less than 10 years since the banking system in Russia all but collapsed – so warnings of a crisis ring alarm bells. There are plenty of loans on offer in Russia – advertising in the country emphasises the cars and holidays which consumers can pay for if they take out credit. But advertising fails to remind them about whether they can make the repayments. Not everyone agrees there’s a looming disaster. Rusrating – an agency which gives credit ratings to Russian banks – says the bad loans “are not safe, but not a danger”.

Bankruptcy on Russia’s Horizon

The BBC reports that Russia is awash in bad debt, facing a massive three-fold increase in the past year as banks, flush with oil revenues, too aggressively seek lending outlets. This is more or less what happened in the US in the 1920s, and the stock market crash was the result.

The amount of bad consumer debt in Russia tripled during 2006 from the year before, according to figures from the Central Bank in Moscow. Some analysts suggest the situation is under control, but media reports imply Russia could be heading for a credit crisis. Lenders have announced that stricter checks on potential borrowers will be introduced from 1 March. Russians racked up more than $1bn (£511m) in bad debts in 2006. It is less than 10 years since the banking system in Russia all but collapsed – so warnings of a crisis ring alarm bells. There are plenty of loans on offer in Russia – advertising in the country emphasises the cars and holidays which consumers can pay for if they take out credit. But advertising fails to remind them about whether they can make the repayments. Not everyone agrees there’s a looming disaster. Rusrating – an agency which gives credit ratings to Russian banks – says the bad loans “are not safe, but not a danger”.

Bankruptcy on Russia’s Horizon

The BBC reports that Russia is awash in bad debt, facing a massive three-fold increase in the past year as banks, flush with oil revenues, too aggressively seek lending outlets. This is more or less what happened in the US in the 1920s, and the stock market crash was the result.

The amount of bad consumer debt in Russia tripled during 2006 from the year before, according to figures from the Central Bank in Moscow. Some analysts suggest the situation is under control, but media reports imply Russia could be heading for a credit crisis. Lenders have announced that stricter checks on potential borrowers will be introduced from 1 March. Russians racked up more than $1bn (£511m) in bad debts in 2006. It is less than 10 years since the banking system in Russia all but collapsed – so warnings of a crisis ring alarm bells. There are plenty of loans on offer in Russia – advertising in the country emphasises the cars and holidays which consumers can pay for if they take out credit. But advertising fails to remind them about whether they can make the repayments. Not everyone agrees there’s a looming disaster. Rusrating – an agency which gives credit ratings to Russian banks – says the bad loans “are not safe, but not a danger”.

Copyright Goes the Way of All Things in Russia

LR is just wondering: Isn’t it improper for the “president” of a country to comment on the desirable outcome of a pending criminal case? If Russia is so flush with oil wealth, why do teaches need to steal software, and if they don’t need to then shouldn’t they be punished if they do? The BBC reports:

The court in Perm, some 1000km (620 miles) east of Moscow, dismissed the case of Alexander Ponosov as “trivial”. The trial was seen as a response by the authorities to international pressure to crack down on piracy in Russia. Industry experts say Russia ranks second only to China in use of illegal computer software and bootlegged music. “We’re off to drink champagne now,” Mr Ponosov told the Associated Press news agency after the court ruling. “Of course, it was trivial,” he said. Mr Ponosov earlier told the BBC that Russian prosecutors had brought the case against him and he was unaware of any Microsoft claim against him. He said the 12 new computers at his school had been delivered with the unlicensed software already installed. The school in the Urals village of Sepych has 380 pupils. Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev had publicly voiced support for Mr Ponosov.