Daily Archives: February 5, 2010

EDITORIAL: Vladimir Putin, Surrounded

EDITORIAL

Vladimir Putin, Surrounded

Last week, we must say, was an exceedingly delightful one if you are a Russophobe.  Vladimir Putin got his from every direction, left, right and center.

On the left, he was besieged by a group of incensed OMON officers — you read that right, OMON — who turned out to have written to Russian “president” Dima Medvedev begging him to take action to curb corruption run amok within their ranks.

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EDITORIAL: The Slaughter at Rechnik

EDITORIAL

The Slaughter at Rechnik

We previously reported on the Russian Kremlin’s barbaric actions, flouting a promise made in court, to eject dozens of homeowoners onto frozen Moscow streets in order to raze their allegedly illegal riverfront homes.  Now, 12 elderly residents of the homes have perished according to Other Russia “since city-ordered demolitions of their houses began in late January.”

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EDITORIAL: Russia and Mickey D

EDITORIAL

Russia and Mickey D

There are 235 McDonald’s restaurants in Russia.  Before this year is out, that number will increase by a whopping 20% as the company spends $150 million on the Russian business.

Russian McDonald’s outlets are twice as busy on average in Russia as one of the chain’s locations in the United States, seeing an average 850,000 customers compared to just 400,000 in the USA.

Over 125,000 Russian workers owe their income to McDonalds.  That number, of course, is increasing just as rapidly as the number of restaurant locations.  Whole industries previously unknown in Russia have been created to supply the burger chain with the 300 different ingredients it needs to produce its daily menu of American cuisine.

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Ukraine looks West as Russia fails Again

Bloomberg reports:

When Yuri Davydov needed investors to expand his Ukrainian food company, he looked west to the European Union, not east to Russia, even though his VAT Creativ Industrial Group is in the Russian-speaking part of the country.

“We have good connections with Russia, but we prefer to trade with non-Russian companies,” Davydov said after a Jan. 19 presentation to potential investors in Vienna. “If the European Union removes barriers, we can find a niche.”

His attitude may explain why both contenders in the Feb. 7 runoff presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Timoshenko, have vowed to sign a trade accord with the EU. They favor it even though Yanukovych had Russian backing for his first run in 2004 and Timoshenko accused President Viktor Yushchenko of being too confrontational toward Russia.

The EU is looking more attractive to executives from Ukraine’s eastern industrial centers of Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk, as well as in Kiev and Lviv farther west. The need to diversify from Russia, Ukraine’s largest single trading partner, has business leaders pushing politicians for easier access to the 27-nation EU. Its market of 449 million people is more than triple the population of Russia.

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Kasparov on Russia and Europe

The Other Russia translates an interview from Yezhedevny Zhurnal with Garry Kasparov:

The idea of European integration set out by opposition leader Garry Kasparov in a recent interview with Yezhednevny Zhurnal was met by an overwhelmingly positive reaction from its readers. Seeing the idea as a genuine and strategic alternative to current Russian foreign policy, many were left wondering if such integration could realistically be achieved.

Therefore, Yezhednevny Zhurnal sat down with Kasparov for another interview, in order to extend the discussion of why European integration is necessary for Russia and how current political posturing on economic and political reforms will inevitably come to naught.

Garry Kimovich, in your opinion, do the nationalist and leftist wings of the National Assembly support the idea of European integration?

The strategic vector of Russia’s future development is, of course, a question for national discussion. At a time when a new global consensus is developing, Russia’s own interests force it to determine who its strategic partners are. It is possible that, as before, part of the left will look towards China. They think that the ruling Chinese Communist Party will implement the correct scenario for the country’s development.

However, in my opinion, if Russia focuses so recklessly on the East, it will inevitably cause our country to lose geopolitical subjectivity. Nothing will come of Russia’s own role, most likely becoming a purely raw-exports role for its active eastern neighbor. China is a very strong player, constantly driving economic expansion. By steadily expanding the limits of its influence, it has already established hegemony over practically the entire Asian expanse.

It is possible that there are some nationalists who, believing in Russia’s divine destiny, will say: “But we don’t need anyone – we’ll handle it ourselves.” I think that all of these utopian theories will come to be rejected as a result of discussion. I do not doubt that in the end, both the nationalists and the leftists will choose the vector of European integration.

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