Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project, covering the latest Russia-related news and analysis from media in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe.
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- Russia And The Arctic
- Ukraine-Russia Relations
- Russia-Estonia Relations
- Venezuela-Russia Relations
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- Corruption In Russia
- News In Brief: Domestic Policy; Terrorism; Russia-Turkey Relations; Russia-Israel Relations; Russia-Moldova Relations; Russia-Poland Relations; Kosovo; Defense; Crimea
Russia And The Arctic
Putin: The Arctic Accounts For Over 10 Percent Of All Investment In The Russian Federation
On April 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent greetings to participants and guests of the Arctic: Territory of Dialogue 5th International Arctic Forum, in St. Petersburg.
Putin said: "… Importantly, Russia invariably seeks to strengthen cooperation with the states of the Arctic region. I am convinced that only if we act together will we be able to turn the Arctic into a territory of peace, stability and partnership. The current meeting's theme – The Arctic: An Ocean of Opportunity – fully reflects our openness to such multifaceted and equitable cooperation."
(Kremlin.ru, April 8, 2019)
On April 9, Putin participated in a plenary session of the 5th International Arctic Forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue.
Putin told the gathering: "… In 2021, Russia will assume the presidency of the Arctic Council. We invite all participants of the Council and other states to cooperate in the Arctic. The priorities of our presidency are vital for the Arctic development: promotion of sustainable technologies in all areas, including industry, transport and energy.
"Today we are carrying out our projects in the Arctic, including global ones, based on the latest environmental standards. It is enough to mention the Yamal LNG project and the development of the Bovanenkovskoye and Kharasaveyskoye gas fields. Today, the Arctic accounts for over 10 percent of all investment in the Russian Federation. I am convinced that the importance of the Arctic factor in the Russian economy will only grow further.
"This year we are going to draft and adopt a new strategy for the development of the Russian Arctic up to 2035… Our goal to significantly boost the freight traffic and bring it up to 80 million tons by 2025 on the Northern Sea Route alone was outlined in the 2018 Address to the Federal Assembly. Just 10 to 15 years ago, this figure looked absolutely out of reach, whereas today it is a realistic, carefully calculated and concrete goal. As of last year, the volume of traffic on the Northern Sea Route already reached 20 million tons. This is three times – I reiterate – three times more than the Soviet record set in 1987, when the Soviet Union transported 6.5 million tons using this route. Now, it is 20 million tons…
"I would like to draw your attention to one more point. As you may know, the powers of the Ministry for the Development of Russia's Far East have been expanded; now, the Arctic is also within its authority and is part of its responsibility. In this connection, it is logical to expand the work of Far Eastern development institutions to the Arctic as well. If necessary, we will expand the capitalization of the Far East Development Fund for selective financing of Arctic projects…
"To conclude, I would like to thank all the participants and guests of our forum. I am certain that our constructive dialogue will help strengthen neighborly relations and trust in the Arctic region, which means the peaceful and sustainable development of the Arctic."
(Kremlin.ru, April 9, 2019)
Lavrov: The United States Believes That It Is Uniquely Entitled To 'Call The Tune' And Create Rules Of Its Own
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov responded to questions from the media at the opening of the ministerial session of the 5th International Arctic Forum The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue.
Lavrov said: "… We are in favor of resuming a full-scale military and political dialogue between the Arctic states as a way to promote confidence and mutual understanding and prevent any type of escalation. Annual meetings of chiefs of general staffs from the Arctic Council countries were an effective mechanism for maintaining regional stability. Regrettably, they have been frozen since 2014. In order to resume joint work, we, as a first step, suggest establishing contacts at the level of military experts from the Arctic states.
"The Arctic Council remains the key venue for a politics-free interaction aimed at reaching concrete practical results. We assess positively the results of Finland's two years as Arctic Council chairman. Our Finnish neighbors' agenda was really pragmatic and directed at dealing with the issues that are common to all states in the region.
- month from now, a new captain, Iceland, will control the bridge of the 'Arctic ship.' I am confident that our Icelandic partners will be able to cope successfully with this responsible mission.
"We support the Icelandic chairmanship program which has a justifiable emphasis on marine problems. Russia has a 40,000-kilometre coastline, over a half of which is in the Arctic, and is responsible for the Northern Sea Route under its sovereignty. Given the above, the Icelandic chairmanship plans in such areas as green shipping, marine litter control, including micro plastics, as well as ocean acidification control are most appealing to us.
"In the context of growing marine activities in the Arctic, such as shipping, including cruises, greater potential for a prompt response to possible emergencies is of special importance.
"We underscore the importance of the Paris climate agreement, which is in line with the efforts to adapt the Arctic area and enhance its resistance to global climatic change.
"We are sure that the similarity between the priorities of Iceland and Russia will help ensure the continuity of the Arctic agenda when the Arctic Council chairmanship passes over to our country in 2021…
"Nothing can build up trust between states better than their cooperation in solving common problems. We are for good neighborliness and mutually beneficial partnership remaining an unconditional priority in the Arctic Council's activity.
"Russia is ready to step up joint efforts with the partners in this organization on the basis of international law, and the respect for and consideration of each other's interests in a variety of areas – from scientific research and environmental projects to the use of the Northern Sea Route. We expect that this forum will also contribute to our common cause."
Question: "According to UN regulations, the Arctic countries have a right to own coastal Arctic areas, but they can also claim their rights for the Arctic shelf, and they can claim their rights all the way to the North Pole if they want to. But there are many countries and only one North Pole, and the submissions overlap. How can we prevent countries from arguing over the North Pole?"
Sergey Lavrov: "I would like to clarify the definition. There are only five Arctic states: Russia, Denmark, Canada, Norway and the United States. From the very outset, these five countries have had the right to own 200 nautical miles of the Arctic Ocean shelf under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Special methods and procedures are required for expanding the shelf beyond the 200 miles. The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf is continuing its work. Russia was among the first countries to file an application with this commission, in 2001, and the bid received a positive reply. Work on this has continued since then, and we have responded to the commission's inquiries. Today, we received positive recommendations concerning the Okhotsk, Barents and Bering seas. We hope that our application's most complicated section on the Arctic Ocean will also receive a positive response. There are overlapping submissions for this part of the world's oceans. For example, Russia and Denmark have submitted applications that compete in terms of some geographical parameters. Canada has not yet submitted a bid, but it is possible that it will overlap with certain territories claimed by the Russian and Danish sides.
"Russia and Denmark keep in contact at the expert level and between the foreign ministries, as stipulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. All possible “overlaps” will be resolved through negotiation. We expect the commission to issue recommendations.
"The North Pole itself is a symbolic point. I am convinced that we need to search for a solution that will promote cooperation, rather than conflict, in this region."
Question: "Will the Arctic countries jointly develop new routes and deposits within Russian borders, or would Russia prefer to independently deal with its Arctic projects?"
Sergey Lavrov: "Our position on the Arctic presupposes the closest possible cooperation with our foreign partners, and such examples already exist. Our partners from China and Europe are involved in our Arctic territories. I would like to note once again that, on the whole, we want to develop the Arctic through cooperation. This also concerns the use of the Northern Sea Route for which we are responsible; but we want to develop and use it collectively."
Question: "You have mentioned the Northern Sea Route lying off Russia's Arctic coast. The United States is insisting that it should be internationalized so that ships could pass without restrictions, permissions, and the like. Russia believes that it should control the NSR because it runs through its territorial waters. The same dispute can arise in relation to Canada's North Western Route. The existing rules of the game can be interpreted in very different ways. Is it necessary to develop solutions that are common for everyone?"
Sergey Lavrov: "I am not the one to characterize US actions. In fact, the United States really believes that it is uniquely entitled to 'call the tune' and create rules of its own. This is a separate topic, but it does exist – regrettably. We have to keep it in mind while discussing some or other issues.
"The Northern Sea Route is Russia's national transport artery. This is an obvious thing. The Northern Sea Route includes water areas with a different status. There is a landing sea, there are territorial waters, and there are exclusive economic zones of the Russian Federation. International law gives littoral states substantial rights to regulate shipping in these water areas. In particular, special rights are envisaged for ice-covered spaces within the exclusive economic zone. Relevant navigation rules approved by the Ministry of Transport and the Government of the Russian Federation are also in force in the NSR area. For many years, all states using the Northern Sea Route (ships from more than 20 states used it last year) have obeyed these rules. The rules are the same for Russian and foreign ships. There is no distinction. They provide for pilotage and ice escort services.
"The most important thing is that we undertake the responsibility for ensuring security and maximum respect for the region's highly fragile ecosystem. I must say without false modesty that Russia has unique experience in providing for the right kind of work and activities in the high latitudes, and we are ready to extend support to all ships navigating the Northern Sea Route. We are developing port infrastructure, navigational and hydrographic capabilities on this transport artery, as well as our search and rescue potential.
"In essence, the NSR navigation rules are the same as road traffic regulations. You come to a country, use these rules, and must obey them – not because someone wants to impose something on you but because otherwise it would be unsafe to sail by this route that many countries see as increasingly popular.
"I hope we will continue to interact in using the Northern Sea Route and ensure an optimal combination of economic feasibility and environmental safety. The current regulation has proved its efficacy. I have not heard anyone complain about how these rules are implemented in practice."
Question: "Russia may be fairly tough on some issues. But as for Arctic diplomacy, it has been a model of working for consensus and being friendly to its partners. Nevertheless, our US colleagues are always expressing their concern over Russia's military activities in the region. Thus, US Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said the US fleet will be building up its presence in the Arctic. How is it possible to alleviate tensions under the circumstances?"
Sergey Lavrov: "We are doing nothing but taking the necessary measures to ensure our national security. All we are doing in the Arctic and any other region of the Russian Federation is aimed precisely and exclusively at this goal. We do not threaten anyone; we are ensuring the required defense capability with due account of the military-political situation that is taking shape around our borders. Rest assured that we will always be ready to protect our security, interests and territorial integrity.
"As for statements about our militarization of the Arctic, we occupy a diametrically opposite position. As I have said, we don't see a single issue here that would require a military solution, not a single topic that demands NATO's attention. Meanwhile, we hear these kinds of ideas from time to time. I don't think they are good for the cause. As you have said, the Arctic Council unites a group of countries that have developed a compromise culture that is very important and rare in today's conditions. We will promote this culture. I have not heard members of the Arctic Council express ideas that would violate this. I hope we will continue behaving with this attitude in the future as well."
Question: "Today, Russia is developing the Arctic very energetically, spending more funds on it than the other Arctic Council members. Climate change will prompt the others to do more in this process. Will Russia have enough resources to remain the leader in this region or is it not interested in this?"
Sergey Lavrov: "Indeed, we do have the largest Arctic zone. We have drastically stepped up development recently, including our efforts to ensure the security and interests of the indigenous minorities of the north. I don't think we should feel embarrassed by cooperating with other countries. I have already emphasized that we want to develop the north together with due respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and interests of each other. We have much more in common than what divides us.
"Responding to the previous question, we talked about the efforts to militarize the Arctic and we are concerned about this. I am hoping the spirit of the Arctic Council will prevail in the attitude of the Arctic countries to our relations rather than war games like the recent Trident Juncture 2018, which were aggressively anti-Russia.
"Of course, we feel that some NATO countries would like to dispel this spirit and replace it with a militaristic attitude. I am convinced that our northern neighbors understand that such approaches are dangerous and counterproductive and will not allow them to prevail."
(Mid.ru, April 9, 2019)
Russian Expert Kuprikov: Cooperation With Russia On The Arctic Is Inevitable
Nikita Kuprikov, Chairman of the Technical Committee for standardization №187 (TC187) 'Research in the Polar Regions' of the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rosstandart), wrote:
"The policy of 'sanctions' has long ceased to pay for itself, not to mention the notorious 'isolation' of Russia. The explanation is obvious – Russia is a world player which simply cannot be ignored in world politics. If we talk about the Arctic, then Russia is the biggest Arctic state, with the largest and most powerful atomic icebreaking fleet in the world. It is no secret that often the European states 'rent' Russian icebreakers to pursue their interests in the Arctic. For example, there are various international research projects for monitoring climate change.
"There isn't any isolation, not on paper but in real life. The European countries know that if they refuse to cooperate with Russia, they will lose much more. Systematic work is important, and our Western partners understand this. Russia has always supported a comprehensive dialogue.
"Soon we will observe how the interests of business circles in the development of cooperation between countries in the Arctic will prevail over sometimes-loud political statements, most often aimed to hinder the development of a fruitful economic partnership.
"Recently, the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin promised Vladimir Putin to create an Arctic cluster capable of producing about 100 million tons of oil per year. It should be noted that foreign partners will also take part in this cluster, which will include, for example, BP, which together with Rosneft organized JV Ermak-Neftegaz. Apparently, I would not call this proposal of Rosneft a revolutionary event; rather, we see a continued stabilization of the 'post-sanctions' period, a return to normal work in the oil and gas sector in the Arctic.
"We should remember that cooperation in the Arctic, which was actively developing at the end of the 2000s and at the beginning of the 2010s, was abruptly cut off in 2014. Huge losses were incurred, and not only Russia suffered. It soon became clear that the partners could not forever 'ignore' each other — cooperation and the implementation of joint projects is necessary, because the Arctic is one of the most difficult regions in the world, where no country can be active alone. Therefore, the foreign leaders themselves must be watching with satisfaction the resumption of the development of joint oil and gas projects in the Arctic region.
"In a broader sense, the creation of a regulatory, normative and technical system of human activities in the Arctic comes to the fore, which on the one hand provides for the environmentally friendly and safe handling of the fragile Arctic ecosystem, and on the other hand guarantees human safety. Currently the Rosstandart Technical Committee for standardization №187 'Research in the Polar Regions' deals with these issues. On the basis of the standards pool in the future, it will be possible to create a truly solid regulatory and legal foundation for international cooperation in the Arctic.
"We see how the huge potential of the NSR is realized right before our eyes. By 2024 the projected volume of cargo traffic should reach 80 million tons. This goal is more than real. Russia's nuclear icebreaking fleet is growing at a rate that was not achieved even in the USSR. Considering that the overwhelming share of transit now consists of hydrocarbons supplied to Asian countries, and also bearing in mind that the cooperation of international oil and gas companies in the Arctic region is only gaining momentum, the enormous influence of this transport channel is already noticeable in world trade just now, with more results in the future. Its prospects are very interesting.
"The NSR can change the global traffic of goods. There is a chance that this transport corridor may become the leading world trade route. Moreover, there are proposals to expand the possibilities of the NSR, but it is too early to talk about. For example, it is possible to develop tourism in the northern ports area; there is active cargo-passenger traffic. The international community may have other ideas regarding the use of the NSR – Russia is open to suggestions. Using the example of the NSR, we can say that the Arctic is indeed a real 'territory of dialogue', and I am confident that this dialogue will be peaceful and positive."
(Valdaiclub.com, April 9, 2019)
The State Duma Responded To A Statement Claiming That Russia Is Incapable Of Confronting The US In The Arctic
The state Duma reacted to the statement made by military expert Maxim Klimov about Russia's deficient combat capability in the Arctic region.
Klimov termed the present situation around the Arctic region "intolerable", and requiring decisive corrective measures.
"While the probable enemy, in the person of the United States, is organizing a tough combat training that is as close as possible to real conditions, Russia, for its part, is engaged in 'Arctic fitness'", Klimov declared in an article for Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Andrei Krasnov, member of the state Duma, said that Russia is paying close attention to the protection of the Arctic and that its combat capability is not to be doubted.
"Both the navy and the land forces of the Russian Federation have everything that it's needed for carrying out the task of protecting the Arctic", the parliamentarian told the Federal news agency in an interview, "I think that Russia is paying close attention to the Arctic territory, including the protection of this region from a possible enemy."
"New military facilities are being built in the Arctic, the airfield network is being improved, and new ports are being built. I wouldn't begin to weigh who is better prepared for a war with a likely enemy in the Arctic, we or the United States. However, we are doing everything that is needed to ensure the security of the Arctic”, Krasnov concluded.
(Riafan.ru, April 10, 2019)
- Putin assures sanctions will not interfere with Russia's plans for Arctic development. (Tass.com, April 9, 2019; read the full article)
- Russia will establish preferential conditions for operations of companies in the Arctic Region, President Vladimir Putin said at the Arctic Forum. (Tass.com, April 9, 2019; read the full article)
- Development of the Russian Arctic zone's regions may benefit from cooperation with China in modern technologies, an expert of the Project Center for Arctic Development (PORA), Associate Professor at the Presidential Academy Alexander Vorotnikov told TASS. (Tass.com, March 29, 2019; read the full article)
- Novatek may launch the first train at its third LNG plant a year after the full launch of Arctic LNG 2 project, company's CEO Leonid Mikhelson said. (Sputniknews.com, April 10, 2019; read the full article)
Ukrainian Former Rada Deputy Farion: 'We Do Not Have A Russian Speaking Population'
Iryna Farion a former Rada deputy, attacked Russian speaking Ukrainians. "We do not have a Russian speaking population they are either occupiers or serfs." She believed that those who did not know Ukrainian should not receive an education or work.
(Vesti.ru, April 8, 2019)
Senator Aleksey Pushkov fired back:
"The racist Farion called the Russians in Ukraine simultaneously slaves and occupiers. Whose slaves, and why occupiers? Everything is messed up in the mind of the crazed supporter of the 'purity of the Ukrainian race. To provide analyses is senseless, hospitalization in a straitjacket is necessary"
(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, April 7, 2019)
Ukraine will decide its President on the second round of the presidential elections on April 21. On the first round, on March 31, Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky won 30.24% of the vote, incumbent President Poroshenko won around 16 percent of the vote. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko got around 13 percent No candidate received an absolute majority. Zelensky and Poroshenko are the two candidates set for the runoff vote.
Billboards in Ukraine appeared depicting incumbent Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko opposite the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Caption: "April 21st. A decisive choice."
Political scientist Sergey Mixeyev on Russia 1 compared the election campaign in Ukraine to a traveling circus, and added that the Ukrainian candidates were political incompetents incapable of solving any problem.
"Ukraine these are fake leaders and polity …They are in no condition to fulfill serious tasks: patch up relations with their neighbors, build an economy and therefore it increasingly morphs into a traveling circus"
(Vesti.ru, April 5, 2019)
Responding to Poroshenko's attacks on Zelensky that Ukraine needed a strong leader and not a wimp who would slip back under imperial Russia, Sergey Tsekov of the Federation Council's International affairs committee said that Poroshenko was attempting via illegal methods and nationalists rhetoric to attract the electorate prior to the second round of the voting:
"Poroshenko's biggest problem is that he is a Ukrainian nationalist and thus this position is nurtured by the growing hatred to Moscow. He in many of his problems and first of all ruling the country, he blames Russia. For him also as president this is most convenient," Tsekov said.
(Gazeta.ru, April 7, 2019)
Ukraine-Russia Friendship Treaty Expired
The Treaty of Friendship between Ukraine and Russia expired on April 1, 2019. Pavel Klimkin, Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs, congratulated his countrymen upon the treaty's termination. Russian expert Pavel Shipilin acidly commented: "Now everything is in the past, and they will never have such wonderful benefits and trade preferences that Ukraine had. Ukraine’s authorities may congratulate each other, but nothing better will emerge out of it for Ukraine… For Ukraine, breaking relations with Russia is like death. No one but Russia can help Ukraine get out of the economic abyss into which it has driven itself and continues to back itself into. It seems, that no matter who becomes president of Ukraine, no progress will be made towards the side of common sense… the country will continue to deteriorate, with territory emptying and people scattering."
(Ria.ru, April 1, 2019)
The German Television Channel ZDF broadcast the scenario of a Russian invasion of Estonia and received irate reaction in Russia especially as Putin is scheduled to meet with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on April 18 in Moscow
Senator Alexey Pushkov tweeted: "Russia did not invade Estonia and will not invade it. When Russia has no aggressive plans, then you need to invent them. Only in that does the information provocation on the ZDF channel make sense. It is to play ball with NATO and demonize Russia. [This is an] attack on the brain in the spirit of the current information campaign."
(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, April 6, 2019)
Russian journalist Vladimir Solovyev attacked the program's moderator Klaus Kleber, whom he accused of trying to scare the viewers. Solovyev said: "Such moderation on a FRG government channel – that is a provocation taken out Goebel's box."
(Vesti.ru, April 7, 2019)
- German Broadcaster Reports on Russian 'Intrusion' Into Estonia. (Sputniknews.com, April 6, 2019; read the full article)
Military Expert Konovalov: Russian Military And S-300 Are Already In Venezuela The Americans Realize That Russia Will Continue To Develop Its Presence In Latin America
During the program "60 Minutes", military expert Ivan Konovalov said: "The Americans, playing in the Middle East, forgot completely about Latin America ... They remained only in Colombia, there the American military have a significant presence. The watershed happened in Syria ... Russia proved that it was impossible to dictate conditions... Americans made various coups. But the Venezuelan army is the strongest in America; there are Russian tanks, S-300, and they have been deployed there for a long time ... The Americans realized that Russia will continue to develop its presence in Latin America and better get rid of the Russians now."
(60 Minutes, Russia 1 TV channel, March 28, 2019; see the video)
Influential Blogger El-Murid: The Kremlin Intends To Get Deeper Into The Venezuelan Conflict
Russian blogger El-Murid commented on Russia's intention to get more involved into the Venezuelan crisis:
"Western media reported on the creation of a Russian military center in Venezuela. Formally, it is said that this is a training center, but in fact a military base is about to be created, although no one will say this aloud: according to the Venezuelan constitution, all foreign military bases are prohibited in its territory. In Russia, of course, no one will disclose, let alone challenge, this decision. We have no mechanisms to deter the military adventures of the regime. It is also reported that Russia warned Colombia about the inadmissibility of military intervention in Venezuela.
"It is becoming ever more likely that the Kremlin intends to get sucked deeper into this conflict on the other side of the world. The purpose of these exercises from the point of view of national interests is unclear. It is also unclear to what extent the Kremlin is prepared to confront Venezuela's neighbors, in case they decide on an armed intervention and on the creation of buffer zones for accommodating refugees in order to save their own countries. The Kremlin's attempts to dictate Venezuela's neighboring countries are not matched by [Russia's] capabilities and at the same time they will create new enemies, who would certainly be outraged by the attempts to interfere in their internal affairs.
"However, the creation of a hostile environment - near and far - is Putin's forte. He is a person incapable of constructing anything [but who] demonstrates most considerable success in the destruction of everything around him.
"It is a fact that, after the creation of its new government, Russia will have to improve relations with the rest of the world. But it is not certain that things will pan out.."
(El-murid.livejournal.com, April 3, 2019)
- Venezuela's authorities plan to continue developing military-technical cooperation with Russia, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said. (Tass.com, April 9, 2019; read the full article)
- Venezuela and Russia have signed several strategic agreements in the oil and finance sectors, in trade and other fields during the work of the intergovernmental commission, Venezuelan Vice President for Planning Ricardo Menendez wrote on Twitter. (Tass.com, April 5, 2019, read the full article)
- If US lawmakers pass new legislation aimed at countering Russia’s influence in Venezuela, Moscow will have to take tit-for-tat measures, Russian Ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zayemsky told Izvestiya. Washington has not yet clarified what kind of steps are in the works against Moscow, but the US has dropped some hints at restrictions on Russian-Venezuelan cooperation in the oil industry. (Tass.com, April 5, 2019; read the full article)
Political Analyst Markov: Libya Created A Geopolitical Paradox
Political analyst Sergei Markov stated that Libya has created a geopolitical paradox.
"Libya has created a geopolitical absurdity. General Haftar is actively supported by Egypt, Russia, and, paradoxically, by the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And so Russia is in alliance with the Saudis and the Gulf princes. Moreover, France is also in favor of Haftar. So Russia is allied with France. Why so? Just for the oil.
"In Libya, the main enemy of France is Italy. Italy supports the government in Tripoli. Most Western countries, in principle, are in favor of Tripoli, but in a mild way. The US does it in a concrete way. Basically, also the couple Turkey and Qatar is in favor of Tripoli.
"So Libya has created some paradoxical geopolitical combinations," Markov summed up.
(News-front.info, April 5, 2019)
Lavrov: 'The Protracted Crisis In Libya Is A Direct Effect Of The NATO's Illegitimate Military Interference'
During an interview with Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:
Question: "What can you say about Russia's interaction with Cairo in settling the conflict in Libya?"
Sergey Lavrov: "The protracted crisis in Libya is a direct effect of the NATO's illegitimate military interference. As a result the country was plunged into chaos and became a source of regional instability and a hotbed of terrorism.
Moscow and Cairo are working closely together to coordinate their steps in Libyan issues. Our task is to help Libyans overcome the existing differences and reach sustainable arrangements on the parameters of national reconciliation. We have a common view of the ways to restore the Libyan statehood through an inclusive dialogue involving leading military and political forces, civil society and the regions. We support the efforts by UN Secretary-General Special Representative Ghassan Salamé to implement the roadmap to bring the Libyan situation back to normal by holding fair general elections and conducting a constitutional reform. Hopefully, the national conference in Ghadames convened by the Special Representative in mid-April will lead to some progress in putting these ideas into practice."
(Mid.ru, April 6, 2019)
Lavrov: What NATO Did To Libya In 2011 Is The Reason For The Libyan Crisis
Lavrov answered media questions at a joint news conference following talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
Lavrov with Sameh Shoukry (Source: Mid.ru)
Question: "Does Russia plan to promote initiatives in support of the UN efforts for de-escalation in Libya and resolution of the conflict by political means?"
Sergey Lavrov: "Today we talked about Libya at length with due consideration of the current events there. We are monitoring the movements of the armed forces, including the Libyan National Army, as well as other groups, including illegal armed groups that control a significant part of the country's capital and other territories.
"We exchanged information about the discussion regarding this situation in the UN Security Council, which met yesterday and is meeting again today. Our position is that there must not be attempts to lay the blame on one of the parties unilaterally.
"What NATO did to that country in 2011 is the reason for the Libyan crisis. It is since then that Libya has turned into a failed state (let's speak plainly), a black hole that serves as a transit area for the terrorists moving south along with illegal smuggling of weapons, as well as illegal migrants moving north. I think it is counterproductive to blame one party while exculpating others. It is very difficult to move forward without understanding the root causes.
"Like Egypt, we believe that Libyans themselves must determine their fate and begin an inclusive and constructive dialogue without artificial deadlines that external parties are trying to impose and without being rushed against their will.
"We welcomed the contacts between the Commander of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar and Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj. We are maintaining contacts with all the Libyan political forces and sending them the same signals over and over. We have never tried to side with any of the parties. I believe that this is the right course of action in this case as well.
"The UNSC will convene again today and receive detailed information on how the events are developing. For example, our concern is that the armed groups in some parts of Libya announced that they will be using military aviation against the Libyan National Army. Those who exert influence on these groups must not allow an escalation to happen. We must urge the Libyans to stop any offensive military action and sit down at the negotiating table."
(Mid.ru, April 6, 2019)
Corruption In Russia
More than 1.6 billion rubles were embezzled in the Roskosmos and Rostekha enterprises. The funds were allocated to modernizing production and the development of promising developments in armaments. This is what the procurator-general Yuriy Chaika said in a report on Monday April 9.
The procurator announced facts about illegal management of funds, raising work costs, missing deadlines and other violations.
(Lenta.ru, April 9, 2019)
Also from Chaika's report:
The number of identified corrupt FSB officials rose twofold (from 17 to 39) in the MVD the rise was minimal (956 to 971) in the investigative committee from 21 to 29.
(Vesti.ru, April 9, 2019)
Chaika claimed that the amount of material damage caused by identified crimes of corruption rose to 65.7 billion rubles. He, however, claimed that property seizures from the criminal compensated for much of the damage.
(Vesti.ru, April 9, 2019)
News In Brief:
- Moscow court frees stage director Kirill Serebrennikov from house arrest. (Meduza.io, April 8, 2019; read the full article)
- The Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported the detention of 20 followers of the Hizb ut-Tahrir international terrorist organization in Crimea. (Interfax-religion.com, March 27, 2019; read the full article)
- The deliveries of Russia's S-400 missile systems to Turkey may be carried out by this July or earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters shortly after his visit to Moscow. (Tass.com, April 10, 2019; read the full article)
- Statement for the press and answers to media questions following Russia-Turkey talks. Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a news conference in the Kremlin on the results of the Turkish President's visit to Russia. (Kremlin.ru, April 8, 2019; read the full transcript)
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have adopted a tough stance on the issue of Russian gas prices at Moscow talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to show Washington that Ankara remains an independent player despite purchasing S-400 missile defense systems from Moscow, secretary general of the Russian segment of the Russian-Turkish Public Forum Sergey Markov told TASS. (Tass.com, April 9, 2019; read the full article)
- The United States' decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israel's territory is a violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions, Russia President Vladimir Putin said, after talks with his visiting Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Tass.com April 8, 2019; read the full article)
- The Israeli-Syrian agreement on the disengagement of Syrian and Israeli forces in the Golan Heights is under threat due to the US decision to recognize the region's annexation by Israel, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Egypt's Al Ahram newspaper. (Tass.com, April 6, 2019; read the full article)
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the parliamentary elections in Israel. The two leaders held talks only five days ahead of the polls. Experts point out that a demonstration of good ties with Russia may influence voters, Nezavisimaya Gazeta notes. (Tass.com, April 5, 2019; read the full article)
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked the Defense Ministry of Russia along with Russian President Vladimir Putin for returning the remains of Israeli soldier Zachary Baumel who died 37 years ago. (Tass.com, April 4, 2019; read the full article)
- Moldova's President Igor Dodon has pointed to the importance of strategic partnership with Russia in the country's foreign policy. "Today, Moldova seeks to restore strategic partnership with the Russian Federation. I am certain that our bilateral relations have good prospects for expanding and deepening," the president wrote on Facebook on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Moldova and Russia. (Tass.com, April 6, 2019; read the full article)
- Russian senator Alexei Pushkov called the discussion in Poland about a possible Russian attack a delusion, noting that this is impossible and no one covets Poland. Pushkov said: “In Poland, they are discussing the possibility of a Russian attack. Some kind of mania. There is no such possibility. It’s time for Poland to get used to the idea that no one wants its territories. Of course, then its true weight becomes clear – it is nothing more than an ordinary European country. But you need to get used to it." (Ria.ru, April 4, 2019; read the full article in Russian)
- Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj told the Albanian-language Gazeta Blic: "The Albanian people all in our lands are part of what America is leading. In the whole global plan we are together… I am a soldier of America on the ground. I just carry out the orders." (Rt.com, April 9, 2019; read the full article; Gazetablic.com, April 7, 2019; read the full article in Albanian)
- Alexey Rogozin leaves the post of vice-president of the United Aircraft Building Corporation (UAC) for transport aviation and the position of general director of the Aviation Complex named after S.V. Ilyushin. (Tass.ru, April 4, 2019; read the full article in Russian)
- The Russian super-heavy launch vehicle (STK) "Yenisei" will be assembled according to the principle of a technological designer - each part of this rocket must be an independent flight product. The draft design of the rocket will be defended this year, after which we will proceed to design, but the STK rocket flight tests will begin de facto since 2022, because it is then, when Soyuz-5 will start flying - Roskosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin explained. (Tass.ru, March 25, 2091; read the full article in Russian)
- Sevastopol City Court sentenced Vladimir Dudka and Aleksei Bessarabov to 14 years of imprisonment on charges of plotting sabotage attacks in Crimea. Vladimir Dudka, Dmitry Shtyblikov and Alexei Bessarabov, was detained in Sevastopol on November 9, 2016. All the three, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB), are members of the terrorist sabotage team of the intelligence department of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. According to investigators, they plotted sabotage attacks on military and critical infrastructure in Crimea. (Tass.com, April 4, 2019; read the full article; Tass.ru, April 4, 2019; read the full article in Russian)