Daily Archives: August 17, 2007

August 17, 2007 — Contents


(1) International Team Says Russia Attacked Georgia

(2) Annals of Russian Insanity: Biting the British Hand that Feeds Them

(3) Now This: Russia Court Approves Piracy

(4) What kind of Country has to Bribe it Citizens to Procreate?

International Team Says Russia Attacked Georgia

Reuters reports:

A plane from Russia dropped the missile which landed in Georgia last week, experts from the United States, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania said on Wednesday after conducting an investigation at Tbilisi’s request. Their report was issued a day before a Russian team was to start its own investigation into the incident, in which the missile landed in a field near a Georgian farming village but did not explode. There were no casualties. The incident reignited feuding between Russia and its pro-Western neighbor. Last year, Russia cut transport, diplomatic and some trade links after a spying row but relations had been improving.

“An unidentified aircraft flew from Russian airspace into Georgian airspace and back again into Russian airspace three times,” the eight experts said in their report. “The first in Georgian airspace lasted less than a minute. The final two passes into Georgian airspace lasted significantly longer and the unidentified aircraft went deeper into Georgian airspace.” The experts, ranging from independent military analysts to defense ministry employees, identified the missile as the Russian designed KH-58. “The Georgian air force does not possess aircraft equipped with or able to launch KH-58 missiles,” their report said.

Georgia wants to join NATO but the alliance’s constitution says a country cannot become a member if there are conflicts within its borders, and Tbilisi has two. [LR: In other words, by its actions, Russia is fanning the flames of those conflicts, seeking to keep Georgia out of NATO. This must not stand!] The breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions fought wars against Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Their declarations of independence have not been internationally recognized but Moscow gives them moral and financial support. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow was sending its own investigators, including the head of the Russian air force, to work with Georgian counterparts. “The Russian Foreign Ministry hopes that the upcoming Russian-Georgian cooperation will objectively clear up the circumstances surrounding the incident,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Associated Press also has a report. Now, Russia has blocked any action by the U.N. Security Council, in the scum-sucking, cowardly manner of the USSR. Why does Russia fear the truth? Because it’s guilty! The world must rally to Georgia’s side. It must not treat Putin as it did Hitler, or it will face the same consequences. Georgia is the new Poland!

blocked a U.S. attempt Thursday to have the U.N. Security Council issue a statement on last week’s incident involving an unidentified aircraft that flew over Georgian air space and dropped a missile near a village. Georgia has accused Russia of “an act of aggression,” saying it has “incontrovertible evidence” that Russian jets launched a missile near the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia’s air force flatly denied its planes crossed into Georgia’s air space. But on Wednesday, eight international military experts determined the plane, which flew over Georgian territory on Aug. 6, had come from Russian air space and released the missile.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the council should not take a stand because a high-level Russian military delegation had just arrived in the Georgian capital, Tblisi, for talks with Georgian experts on the incident. “It would be premature for the council to take any kind of stand on this matter,” he said.

U.S. deputy ambassador Jackie Sanders said the United States deplores the attack and supports Georgia’s call for an emergency meeting of the council. “We thought it was really important that the Security Council make a statement on this issue,” she said. “Russia was not prepared today to have a formal statement or press statement. This is an ongoing situation. We intend to pursue it.”

The missile incident raised tensions between Georgia and Russia, which have been especially high over the past year. The two countries have long been at odds over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another pro-Russian separatist region, and over Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s repeatedly stated determination to bring Georgia into NATO and the European Union. The international experts agreed with Georgian conclusions that the missile that landed was a Russian-made, anti-radar Raduga Kh-58. Churkin appeared to dismiss this and other investigations. “The Georgian side has gone out of its way to create all sorts of noise around it, and as a result of it all there is a lot of conflicting information, a lot of conflicting evidence and assertions surrounding this incident,” he said.

Sanders said the United States will continue to push for closure of the investigation.

“Any of us in the U.N., if we had a missile coming over our borders and planes from unknown places coming over our borders, we would surely hope that the Security Council, which has a responsibility for international peace and security, would address it,” she said. She indicated that if Russia continues to block a council meeting, the U.S. will call for a vote to get the incident on the council’s agenda.

South Ossetia broke free from Tbilisi in fighting in the mid-1990s. Since then, it has been de-facto independent, led by an internationally unrecognized separatist government. Small clashes sporadically continue to break out, more than a decade after the end of the war. Georgia accuses Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia of backing the separatists, and Saakashvili has vowed to bring the region back under central government control.

Annals of Russian Insanity: Biting the Hand that Feeds You

Showing just how truly crazy Russian foreign policy really is, the Moscow Times reveals that when Russia pathologically attacks Britain it’s attacking it’s biggest investor. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! This is neo-Soviet self-destruction, pure and simple.

Britain has become the top foreign investor in Russia in the first half of 2007, statistical data showed Wednesday, despite political tensions over former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko’s murder in London. The data showed Britain invested over $15 billion in the first half of 2007, toppling Cyprus on the list of foreign investors. Britain’s investment soared in the second quarter, when VTB Group held an initial public offering in London. It was not clear from the data whether the money came as direct or portfolio investment, but analysts suggested that in the absence of large business deals the increase was due to portfolio investments. “London is a large financial center and portfolio investment is less vulnerable to political jitters,” said Yaroslav Lissovolik, analyst at Deutsche UFG. Cyprus-registered firms led foreign investment growth in the country in 2006, investing $9.8 billion, almost 23 percent of the total foreign investment. Many companies, which hold large assets in Russia, are registered in Cyprus. “Russia has now exhausted the potential of the capital repatriation,” said Lissovolik, referring to the capital flight out of Russia in the 1990s and suggesting that authentic foreign capital will now phase it out. Russia saw a major reversal of capital movement trends after the country liberalized its currency regime and exposed its appreciating currency to investors. Net private capital inflows are expected to hit $70 billion this year.

Now this: Russian Court Approves Piracy

To nobody’s surprise, piracy has been given the official okie-dokie in Russia, as reported by the Times of Malta:

A Russian court found the former boss of music download website www.allofmp3.com not guilty of breaching copyright yesterday in a case considered a crucial test of Russia’s commitment to fighting piracy. The allofmp3.com website angered Western music companies by undercutting the price of downloads in deals they said breached copyright law.

Denis Kvasov, head of Media Services which owned the site, was put on trial after entertainment companies EMI Group Plc, NBC Universal and Time Warner Inc. pressed for a prosecution. “The prosecution did not succeed in presenting persuasive evidence of his involvement in infringing copyright law,” said Judge Yekaterina Sharapova. A local official with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which is representing copyright holders in the case, said it would appeal the decision. “We are disappointed with the verdict and will appeal,” IFPI regional director Igor Pozhitkov told reporters. The site has been a thorny issue in negotiations between Russia and the US over Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation, a key aim of President Vladimir Putin. At the beginning of the year global credit card companies stopped allowing customers to pay allofmp3.com for music downloads and by July the web-site had quietly closed down. Mr Kvasov always said he was within the law because the site paid part of its income to ROMS, a Russian organisation which collects and distributes fees for copyright holders. The Judge agreed with his defence. “Everybody who uses soundtracks has to pay a certain amount of their income to the rights holders and this company has done that,” she said. “Media Services has paid a certain amount of money to ROMS.”

At the height of its popularity allofmp3.com attracted millions of bargain-hunting music lovers across the world. It would typically sell the world’s most popular tracks at a huge discount to US competitors. Russian marketplaces and underground passes are full of cheap copies of music and film on DVDs and Russia’s government has been accused of being too lax on protecting intellectual property rights, a basic principle of WTO membership. But in July Russia’s top negotiator on WTO entry said he thought a deal would be ready by the end of the year.

A rich, powerful country with bright prospects protects copyright. A poor country that knows it can’t support a “real” economy and wants to bribe its citizens with illegal favors ignore copyright. Guess which category Russia falls into?

What Kind of Country has to Bribe its Citizens to be Patriots?

The Boston Herald reports that the only way Russia can get people to be patriots or women to have babies is to bribe them silly. What kind of country needs to follow such a policy? What kind of people would respond to it?

The baby-poor Russian region of Ulyanovsk wants to its people to procreate, and has come up with a holiday and prizes to encourage them to their duty for Mother Russia. Ulyanovsk has declared Sept. 12 the “Day of Conception” and for the third year in a row will give couples the day off from work . . . so they canwork on making babies. Couples who “give birth to a patriot” nine months later during “Russia Day” festivities – June 12 celebrations marking the end of the Soviet Union – will win money, cars, refrigerators and other prizes.Everyone who has a baby on Russia Day, June 12, gets a prize, but the grand prize goes to the couple who are judged most fit to be parents. The 2007 grand prize went to Irina and Andrei Kartuzov, who received a brand new UAZ-Patriot . . . a Russian-made SUV. Other contestants won video cameras, televisions, refrigerators and washing machines.

Russia, with one-seventh of Earth’s land surface, has just 141.4 million citizens. That makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The former Soviet Union’s low birth rate and a high death rate – exacerbated by alcoholism problems, inadequate health care and other social ills – have been shrinking the population since the early 1990s. Last year, President Vladimir Putin identified the demographic crisis as the most acute problem facing the former communist nation and encouraged Russians to get busy and boost the birth rate. Putin has also offered cash incentives to families with more than one child.