“Russia AgainGate”: Phony Accusations of Russian “2020 Election Meddling”.The Big Lie that won’t Die – Global Research

“russia-againgate”:-phony-accusations-of-russian-“2020-election-meddling”.the-big-lie-that-won’t-die-–-global-research

22-02-20 11:46:00,

CIA

The NYT falsely warned of Russian meddling to re-elect Trump that hasn’t occurred.

Nor does any evidence suggest it’s coming ahead. Earlier accusations of Moscow electoral interference to help Trump defeat Hillary in 2016 were bald-faced Big Lies.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russian election meddling occurred in the US or anywhere else — a longstanding CIA/NED specialty in dozens of countries worldwide throughout the post-WW II period.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Politics and Strategy researcher Dov Levin earlier documented 81 times Washington meddled in foreign elections from 1946 – 2000 – since then in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Honduras, Paraguay, Brazil, and elsewhere, unsuccessfully in Venezuela, Iran and Russia.

In his book titled “Demonstration Elections,” the late Edward Herman documented US involvement in orchestrating sham Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Vietnam elections, wanting regimes installed that serve US interests.

The same thing goes on in countless other countries, electoral coups masquerading as democracy in action, an abhorrent notion Washington tolerates nowhere, especially not domestically.

According to a Times report with no credibility, US intelligence officials “warned (that) Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected…”

No evidence was cited because none exists. The anti-Trump Times, still furious over his defeat of media darling Hillary, loves to resurface the Big Lie that won’t die.

Reportedly House Intelligence Committee members were briefed by US intelligence officials on February 13.

According to the Times, lawmakers were told earlier of Russian US election meddling — no evidence presented suggesting it. Without it, accusations are groundless.

So-called “new information” that doesn’t exist about Moscow intending to interfere in primaries and the general election this year indicates lots more of this rubbish to come in the run-up to November.

Last April, Robert Mueller’s witch hunt report exposed the Russiagate hoax by revealing no damning evidence because there was none to find.

Cooked up by Obama’s Russophobic CIA director John Brennan, it was one of the most shameful chapters in US political history.

Mueller’s 19-lawyer team, 40 FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants, and other professional staff spent around $25 million.

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Russia and Turkey, “Allies” Fighting One Another: On Opposite Sides of the War on Syria – Global Research

russia-and-turkey,-“allies”-fighting-one-another:-on-opposite-sides-of-the-war-on-syria-–-global-research

21-02-20 06:26:00,

US forever war in Syria shows no signs of ending because restoration of peace and stability to the country would be a major strategic blow to Washington’s aim for controlling the Middle East — NATO and Israel serving as junior partners in its project.

Turkey’s Erdogan is a significant obstacle to resolving years of war in Syria because of his revanchist aims — what his support for ISIS, al-Nusra, and likeminded jihadists is all about, using them as proxies (earlier and now) in northern Syria.

His aims and Russia’s in the country are world’s apart. Negotiations between his regime and Moscow on the conflict are uneasy at best.

Multiple recent rounds failed to resolve differences, further talks planned, including a possible summit involving Putin, Iranian President Rouhani and Erdogan.

On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed his support for jihadists in Syria, saying:

“We are expressing significant concerns over such support for (these elements) from the Turkish armed forces.”

It “violat(es) the Russian-Turkish agreements on separating armed opposition from terrorists, and creating a demilitarized area, and it may provoke a further escalation in the conflict in this part of the Syrian national territory,” adding:

“On February 20, the Russian center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria reported several mass attacks with the use of a large amount of armored vehicles at the positions of the Syrian army in the Idlib de-escalation zone carried out by terrorist units.”

“At the same time, the actions of (jihadists) were supported by artillery fire by the Turkish forces, which allowed terrorists to breach Syrian army’s defenses” before being repelled with Russian aerial support, a statement by its military saying:

“In order to prevent terrorist groups from advancing deep into Syrian territory, Su-24 aircraft of Russia’s Aerospace Force delivered a strike at the request of the Syrian command against the terrorists’ armed formations that had penetrated the area. This helped the Syrian troops to repel all the attacks successfully.”

A Russian reconnaissance drone filmed Turkish artillery providing support for al-Nusra terrorists near Nayrab village in southern Idlib province.

AMN News reported that Russia’s aerial response was “devastating,” repelling Turkish-supported jihadists,

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Is Russia Doomed? – PaulCraigRoberts.org

is-russia-doomed?-–-paulcraigroberts.org

20-02-20 03:43:00,

Is Russia Doomed?

Paul Craig Roberts

Winston Churchill said that Russia was “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”  Having read two contrasting news reports of attitudes in Russia, I understand what Churchill meant.

General Valery Gerasimov, chairman of the Russian General Staff, has concluded from Washington’s many NATO intensified drills on Russia’s border that Washington and its NATO puppet states are preparing for a major conflict.  In a briefing to foreign military attaches in Moscow, Gerasimov said that the increased number and scale of military exercises conducted by NATO members indicates that the alliance “is purposefully training its troops to be engaged in a major military conflict.”  https://www.rt.com/news/476178-nato-big-war-kremlin/ 

The Kremlim’s spokesperson said that the Russian government trusts the opinion of General Gerasimov.

To be clear, based on analyzed evidence the Russian military sees Washington and its vassals preparing for war with Russia. The Russian government states that it trusts the opinion of the Russian military leadership.

Yet, a contemporaneous poll published by the Levada Center, an independent Russian pollster, reports that 80% of Russians see Washington and its NATO vassals as “friends.” https://tsarizm.com/news/eastern-europe/2020/02/18/poll-4-out-of-5-russians-view-west-as-a-friend/ 

“Only 3% of Russian respondents said they see the West as Russia’s enemy, Levada said. Another 16% said they view the West as a rival.

“Two-thirds of Levada’s respondents (67%) said Russia should treat the West as a “partner,” while 11% said Russia should treat the West as a “friend,” according to the Kommersant business daily’s breakdown of the data.”

The extraordinary difference between the view of the Russian general staff and ordinary Russians is hard to explain. Who is communicating with the Russian people?  Their leaders? Or the Western funded NGOs and media that feed Western propaganda to the Russian people?  Are the Russian people still listening to the Voice of America?

If these  contrasting news reports are correct, then Russia is faced with the fact that the awareness of the government that Washington and its European vassals are an enemy intent on war is not shared by the Russian population. This implies a total failure of communication between the Russian government committed to Russian national sovereignty and the Russian people who apparently see no risk of being colonized by their friends in the West. 

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Russia and New Zealand, the Dialogue Continues | New Eastern Outlook

russia-and-new-zealand,-the-dialogue-continues-|-new-eastern-outlook

10-02-20 07:35:00,

NZL45345
In 2019, the Russian Federation and New Zealand marked the 75th anniversary since diplomatic ties between the two nations had been established. At present, when Oceania and the entire Asia-Pacific region have become the battleground for the political and economic confrontation between China and the West, the Russian Federation is preparing to join the ranks of other powerful regional players. And this may, undoubtedly, signal a new stage of New Zealand–Russia relations.

Diplomatic ties between the Soviet Union and New Zealand were established on 13 April 1944, in the midst of World War II. New Zealand joined the fighting together with its former colonial ruler Great Britain, and made a significant contribution to the battle against Hitler’s Germany and its allies, Japan and Italy. Not only did New Zealanders fight in the South Pacific region but also in Europe and North Africa too. In addition, they were among the defenders of Arctic convoys, which, at times of great peril, delivered necessary shipments to the USSR despite taking constant fire from Hitler’s troops. Altogether, approximately 140,000 New Zealanders were part of the war effort and 11,928 of them died as a result. Every year, members of the local Russophone community in Wellington place wreaths at the memorial dedicated to sailors from New Zealand who defended the Arctic convoys in the capital of the nation, on 9 May. It is well known that remembering the Second World War is especially important for Russia and the memory of New Zealanders’ valiant efforts during the conflict cannot but affect the relationship between the two countries.

The USSR actively purchased agricultural products from New Zealand. In fact, at one point in time, the Soviet Union was the biggest importer of its mutton, which has always been one of New Zealand’s most important exports. At present, Russia and New Zealand are also collaborating in the agricultural sphere, and both see room for development in this area.

New Zealand is thriving, but it is a fairly small country and does not have a highly developed military sector. Therefore, this nation clearly comprehends that its security and prosperity depend on the entire Asia-Pacific region as well as the world. It also understands the importance of maintaining law and order all over the world;

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Syria & Russia Publish Evidence Of US Weapons Recovered In Idlib ‘Terrorist Enclave’

syria-&-russia-publish-evidence-of-us-weapons-recovered-in-idlib-‘terrorist-enclave’

09-02-20 09:16:00,

The Syrian Army is making major gains inside Idlib in a military offensive condemned by Turkey and the United States, over the weekend capturing the key town of Saraqib from al-Qaeda linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Amid the military advance, the Syrian and Russian governments say they’ve recovered proof of US support for the anti-Assad al-Qaeda insurgent terrorists, publishing photographs of crates of weapons and supplies to state-run SANA:

Syrian Arab Army units have found US-made weapons and ammunition, and medicines made in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait at the positions and caches of terrorist organizations in the towns of Mardikh and Kafr Amim in Idleb southeastern countryside after crushing terrorism in them.

Syrian reporters say they were recovered in newly liberated areas of southeastern Idlib province, where army units “found weapons, ammunition and US-made shells and Grad missiles left behind by terrorists at their positions in the town of Kafr Amim after they fled from the area after the advancement of the army.”

The Russian Embassy in Syria also circulated the photos on Saturday, saying there were some “interesting findings” in areas that were controlled by terrorists:

#SYRIA | The #Syrian Army is coming across interesting findings as it liberates new areas in #Idlib from terrorists: lots of ammunition and medical supplies from various foreign countries ➡️ https://t.co/YqlSd0GZYZ | #IdlibBattle #سوريا #ادلب #إدلب_تحت_النار #USA #Nusra #grad pic.twitter.com/WyfFbvTfW6

— Russian Embassy, Syria (@RusEmbSyria) February 8, 2020

For years since nearly the start of the war in 2011 and 2012, Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly offered proof of US weaponry in the hands of jihadist terrorist groups, including ISIS. 

Pentagon and even some former CIA officials have since admitted the covert US program ‘Timber Sycamore’ resulted in American arms ‘unintentionally’ making their way to terrorists in Syria; however, many informed commentators have said Washington knew exactly what it was doing in its ‘at all costs’ push to overthrow Assad.

Meanwhile, in the past days the US State Department has issued repeat warnings to Damascus that it must halt its joint offensive with Russia –

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Russia was second-biggest energy exporter to US in Autumn 2019, volumes hit 8-year high

russia-was-second-biggest-energy-exporter-to-us-in-autumn-2019,-volumes-hit-8-year-high

06-02-20 07:34:00,

Given the dire state of Russia-US political relations, and Washington’s steadfast defense of its alliance with Saudi Arabia, it seems almost unbelievable that Moscow sends more energy exports America’s way than Riyadh.

Nevertheless, figures recently published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) say it’s true: Russia is America’s second-biggest source of crude oil and petroleum products.

Despite years of sanctions, the autumn of 2019 saw the amount of Russian ‘black gold’ sold to the US reach levels not seen since before the 2013/14 Ukraine crisis. Last October, imports sharply increased, with the Americans purchasing 20.9 million barrels.

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1

Although volumes sourced from Russia paled in comparison to those from Canada (136.5 million barrels), they managed to overtake both the US’s southern neighbor Mexico and Saudi Arabia – the world’s leading exporter of oil.

Last month, Russian media reported that the US had inadvertently helped Russia boost oil sales through restrictive measures against other countries, such as Iran and Venezuela. This led the Americans to turn to Moscow to make up shortfalls.

Venezuela traditionally ships about 15-20 million barrels of oil to the USA every month, but all imports ceased following sanctions last summer.

Raiffeisenbank analyst Andrey Polishchuk told Moscow daily RBK that another reason for the increase in deliveries may be a fall in prices for Russian Urals oil; in October 2019, the blend cost only $58.5 per barrel – 1.4 times cheaper than the previous year.

The sharp increase in exports beat a record which had stood for over eight years; the last time Russia supplied more oil to the USA was in November 2011, long before the start of tensions over Syria and Ukraine. In November, Russia dropped back into third place, as it delivered 19.2 million barrels compared to Mexico’s 21.2 million.

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Russia praises China for transparent coronavirus updates

russia-praises-china-for-transparent-coronavirus-updates

06-02-20 07:32:00,

Moscow welcomes the prompt and transparent information exchange with China on the new coronavirus outbreak, said Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, Aleksey Volin.

“China is providing transparent updates on developments around the new coronavirus outbreak. Every day they report the number of new cases, deaths and recoveries, detailing their steps to fight the epidemic. There is enough information to gauge the real picture,” Volin said in an interview to Russia-China: Top News

Volin stressed that the transparency and verifiability of the coronavirus-related updates is being ensured, not only through government channels, but also via the Chinese media, which put the outbreak-related measures under public scrutiny. For example, China Media Group’s Yangshipin multimedia platform offers round-the-clock livestreams of the deployment of mobile hospitals in Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak. It’s not just a live broadcast: anyone, Chinese national or not, can comment on it. Many of these online supervisors are qualified engineers and healthcare professionals giving advice that helps to boost construction efficiency.

“We believe this approach is extremely efficient as it ensures a broader involvement of the public in the country’s management. Russia has also started offering livestreams of the deployment of public interest facilities,” Volin said.

The Yangshipin platform has already broadcast a round-the-clock livestream from construction sites of two specialized hospitals for those infected with the new coronavirus. The term ‘online supervisors’ was coined in China for the most active platform users. Their numbers were growing progressively each day, starting from 30 million on Day 1, to 50 million the next day, to 80 million the day after. Not only did they offer advice, but they also supported construction workers any way they could. Some wrote poems and created fanfiction, while others ordered takeout meals and safety masks for them.

The fist specialized hospital, codenamed Loki and with 1,000 beds, was unveiled on February 2. The second, 1,500-bed clinic, Thor, was finished on February 5. Construction workers admitted that the help from those online supervisors played a major role in boosting construction efficiency, since they managed to finish construction in 10 days.

The Yangshipin platform currently offers livestreams of the deployment of mobile hospitals in Wuhan. They are set up in the stadiums and exhibition centers.

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The West Will Try Again to Blow Up Russia From Within – Year Results | The Vineyard of the Saker

the-west-will-try-again-to-blow-up-russia-from-within-–-year-results-|-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

15-01-20 09:39:00,

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Sasha

Captioned by Leo

The home front is the most complicated for Russia if only because it was by sabotage that our implacable partners destroyed the USSR in the previous century. This is why taking stock for 2019 on the home front is the most complicated.

During the holidays our channel (PolitRussia) subscribers were able to see a series of episodes dedicated to the results of the past year. This episode concludes the aforementioned series and I delayed writing this to the very last moment because it is the most complicated one. If 2018 was marked by the unpopular “pretend” pension reform which dropped the government’s popularity ratings, for 2019 it is rather difficult to name a single event which would characterise the entire year. In the meantime, the opinion polls reveal that the shadow of the pension reform disgrace continued to hover over the year 2019.

Take a look at Russian Public Opinion Research Centre poll: 10% of respondents named the pension “under-reform” the event of the year. To compare, only 4% of responders saw the Crimean Bridge as the event of the year. In the meantime, 74% altogether failed to point out an event that would have been the most important in the past year. And this is despite the possibility of choosing more than one event. What does it tell us? That the society is overall calm. There are no over optimistic expectations, nor there is an impression of a some illustrious victory by Russia in 2019, but neither is there any nagging or pessimism. Which is confirmed by the results of another poll.

Answering the question: “What are your feelings about the passing year and the new year?” 42% of our fellow citizens said they were in a rather good mood and felt optimistic. This is less than a half but just as many – 42% – said they do not feel particularly elated but neither they have negative emotions. If to sum up both groups, it will make 84% of positive or balanced people. As for the whiners, who are seeing the 2020 in a bad mood and bad expectations, they are 14%. This is 7% less than in 2018 but it is still quite a lot.

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Why I Don’t Criticize Russia, China, Or Other Unabsorbed Governments

why-i-don’t-criticize-russia,-china,-or-other-unabsorbed-governments

30-12-19 09:33:00,

Depending on whose political echo chamber I happen to be arguing with on a given day, one common criticism I run into a fair bit which many of my readers have surely also encountered is that I put all my energy into criticizing the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.

“You’re not anti-war, you’re only anti-AMERICAN wars!” they say, as though they’re delivering some kind of devastating slam-dunk point. “If you’re so antiwar, why don’t you criticize Assad’s war in Syria? If you’re such an anti-imperialist, show me where you’ve ever once criticized Russian imperialism, or Chinese imperialism?”

The argument being that someone who opposes US-led warmongering isn’t really motivated by a desire for peace and an opposition to war unless they’re also voicing opposition to all other violent governments in the world. If you’re only criticizing US imperialism and not the imperialism of other nations, you must be motivated by something far more sinister, perhaps a hatred for the United States of America.

I have three responses to this feeble line of argumentation, which I’ll list here for the benefit of anyone else who’d like to make use of them:

1. People making this argument never apply its own logic to themselves.

Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world. If you run into someone making this “you have to criticize all bad governments or your criticisms are invalid” argument on Twitter, just do an advanced search for their Twitter handle plus “Duterte” or “Sisi” or one of the other US-allied tyrants who the mainstream media haven’t spent years demonizing, and you’ll find that they’ve never made a single mention of those leaders the entire time they’ve had that account.

What this proves, of course, is that they don’t actually practice the belief that all misdeeds by all governments are equally worthy of condemnation. What they actually practice is the belief that one ought to criticize the governments they hear their television criticizing: Russia, China, Syria, Iran, etc. The governments the US State Department and the CIA don’t like. The disobedient governments. The governments which have resisted absorption into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

They don’t put the logic of their own argument into practice because it is impossible to put into practice.

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‘We will not be lectured’: Russia stands by Putin calling pro-Hitler Polish WWII envoy ‘bastard & anti-Semitic pig’

‘we-will-not-be-lectured’:-russia-stands-by-putin-calling-pro-hitler-polish-wwii-envoy-‘bastard-&-anti-semitic-pig’

28-12-19 10:14:00,

Poland summoned the Russian ambassador in Warsaw to explain President Vladimir Putin’s remarks about the anti-Semitism of the 1930s Polish ambassador to Germany. Moscow is refusing to budge from historical truth.

In a speech on Tuesday, Putin described Jozef Lipski, the Polish ambassador to Berlin (1934-39), as “a bastard and anti-Semitic pig.” He based this on Lipski’s own words from 1938, when the envoy told Hitler the Poles would “erect him a beautiful monument in Warsaw” if he carried out the plan to expel European Jews to Africa.

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Poland wanted to ‘erect magnificent monument’ to honor Hitler’s plan to send Jews to Africa – Putin cites WWII archives

Warsaw responded on Friday by summoning Russian Ambassador Sergey Andreyev to the Foreign Ministry. After having a “harsh but diplomatic” discussion with the head of the Eastern Department, Andreyev said he stood by the president’s statements as Russia’s official position.

We will not allow anyone to lecture us

“We have something to say ourselves, on the topic of politics of history,” Andreyev told reporters after the meeting. 

Putin had brought up Lipski in the context of Poland’s push for WWII revisionism, including the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers who died in its liberation from Nazi Germany, and a resolution Warsaw pushed in the European Parliament in September, which claimed that the 1939 non-aggression pact between Moscow and Berlin had “paved the way for the outbreak of the Second World War.”

Modern Polish historical narrative argues that the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement was a conspiracy against Warsaw, and that there is no difference between the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 and the Soviet troops coming in from the east 16 days later.

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‘We owe nothing’: Poland brings up reparations from Berlin but says ‘NO’ to Jewish restitution

Russia has rejected this as a falsification of history, often pointing out that neither the government in Warsaw at the time, nor its British and French allies – who had earlier declared war on Germany in support of their security guarantees to Poland – saw fit to declare war on the Soviet Union. 

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Russia–Israel Rapprochement for “Coordination” on Syria? – Global Research

russia–israel-rapprochement-for-“coordination”-on-syria?-–-global-research

10-12-19 03:37:00,

Is Russia changing her position in the Middle East? – Not likely. To the contrary, Russia is ascertaining her role in the Middle East and assuring her allies of Russia’s full and alert presence.

When reading a recent article in the Anadolu Agency (AA) News, Ankara (screenshot below) one would have the impression of witnessing a growing love affair between President Vladimir Putin and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. This is deceiving. And it is important to be pointed out, because of transparency vis-à-vis Russia’s partners and allies in the Middle East.

This rightwing news-outlet, AA, also falsely talks about the Syrian ‘civil war’ – Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.” The article goes on saying, “Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced,” – fraudulently implying that the killing and displacing of the people happened at the hands President Assad’s. When in reality the mass-killing, destroying of infrastructure and entire cities was the result of US, UK, French, Israeli and Saudi air strikes.

Yes, President Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Israel in January 2020. In addition to attending together with French President Emmanuel Macron the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Jerusalem, there will, for sure, be other items on the Russian – Israeli agenda, including cooperation in Syria. And, who says Syria, must also say Iran and Hezbollah.

Let’s not forget, Russia has vital interests in Syria, not only because of Russia’s involvement in and fight against the Western War on Syria – and that by invitation of President Bashar al-Assad – but also because of Russia’s military bases in Syria, i.e. Russia’s naval facility at Tartus, and the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. Israel’s hundreds if not thousands of Syrian airspace violations present a permanent danger for Russia’s military bases and for thousands of Russian troops stationed in Syria.

Earlier this month Russian war planes intercepted Israeli jets over southern Syria. According to the Russian publication Avia.Pro,

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Russia & China complete their first cross-border mega highway bridge (VIDEO)

russia-&-china-complete-their-first-cross-border-mega-highway-bridge-(video)

29-11-19 10:32:00,

The construction of a bridge over the Amur River to link Russia and neighboring China has been completed in the Far East. The historic road is first of its kind between the two states and is set to boost economic ties.

The bridge links the cities Heihe in northern China and Russia’s far eastern city of Blagoveshchensk located on the opposite banks of the Amur River, also known as Heilongjiang by the Chinese. The bridge is more than 1km long (0.6 miles) and is a part of key 19.9km (12.4 miles) two-lane highway project.

The ambitious $300-million construction project was started in December 2016 and the two parts of the massive cable-braced bridge were joined together at the end of May. The new milestone was reached on Friday, when local authorities announced the end of the construction works paving the way for the opening, scheduled for April 2020.

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Russia's massive bridge construction project aims to end isolation of remote Siberian region

“The bridge has a strategic importance for us. It is a very serious perspective for our region,” the governor of the Amur Region, Vasily Orlov, said during a special ceremony marking completion of the project.

The harsh weather conditions of the frigid region have been hampering cross-border trade for years, but the ambitious project is set to solve this problem. After the route becomes operational, cargo volume could see an 8-fold increase to 4 million tons, according to Alexander Kozlov, the Russian Minister for the Development of the Far East.

The new bridge should also boost tourism, increasing the tourist flow from China to 2 million. However, initially tourists won’t be able to use the road as it will only be available to cargo trucks. It will take another year and a half to build a crossing point allowing passenger transport, including tourist buses, to cross the bridge.

However, tourists could be offered a more convenient and an even cheaper way to get to the other side, according to Kozlov, as Russia is also building a cableway across the Amur River.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia is now far less dependent on US dollar or any other foreign currency – central bank

russia-is-now-far-less-dependent-on-us-dollar-or-any-other-foreign-currency-–-central-bank

28-11-19 10:05:00,

Russia is ready to significantly reduce its dependence on foreign financing, Alexander Morozov, chief of the Research and Forecasting department at the Central Bank of Russia, has told RT.

Moscow has been dumping the US dollar from its international reserves, halving its share to around 24 percent in one year. The diversification could help to mitigate risks, including those linked to sanctions, Morozov said on the sidelines of the 5th Russian-British Business Forum (RBBF) in London.

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Russia dumps half its US dollar holdings, while boosting gold, yuan & euro share of forex reserves

“We have already made significant progress in this,” Morozov told RT. “If we compare the current situation with what we had 10 years ago, now, whatever happens, the Russian financial system is certainly much more stable.”

He pointed out, however, that getting rid of the US dollar has never been the goal. Moscow just wants to control the risks that any currency could pose, such as liquidity or changes in the exchange rate, according to the financial regulator.

“As Russia trades with many countries in different currencies, we are naturally interested in keeping some share of foreign currency in the structure of our assets. So, we haven’t had the goal to get rid of the dollar, the euro or any other currency,” Morozov stressed.

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Golden shield: Russian bullion reserves will protect country against slump in oil prices

Russia’s foreign currency and gold reserves have been steadily growing over recent years and have already exceeded half a trillion dollars, thanks to the budget rule. The rule, designed to shield and stabilize the nation’s economy, implies that if oil prices are higher than $42 per barrel, then extra money from the Russian crude and gas exports is transferred to the Russian National Wealth Fund. Thus if crude prices remain above the threshold stipulated by the budget law, Russia is set to further boost its bullion and forex reserves, according to the central bank official.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia’s national payment system MIR looks to expand to Europe

russia’s-national-payment-system-mir-looks-to-expand-to-europe

27-11-19 12:07:00,

MIR payment system, developed by Russia in response to Western sanctions, is set to hit the European market. It will launch a pilot project at the Russian-British business forum in London on Wednesday.

PayXpert will become the unique acquirer of MIR cards in Europe, and the UK will be the first country where the system will operate, according to one of the organizers of the business event, the Roscongress Foundation.

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Russia, China & India to set up alternative to SWIFT payment system to connect 3 billion people

“The launch of our joint project with PayXpert is the first and foremost step in the development of MIR acquiring in Europe, which will lay the foundation for new promising trends in the foreign expansion of Russian payment cards,” said CEO of the MIR payment system Vladimir Komlev.

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Turkey embraces Russia’s national payment system credit card Mir

The Russian payment system is expected to open up access to the Russian consumer market and boost the turnover between Russia and the UK, as it will simplify payment transactions for customers of different companies. The tourist sector is also set to benefit from the project, since more than 40 million Russian tourists visit Europe annually.

“Demonstrating the potential of Russia’s financial services abroad is extremely important,” Russian Trade Representative in the UK Boris Abramov said, vowing to assist in connecting new organizations in the UK to the payment scheme.

PayXpert says that MIR is “a solid cross border payment system” that can make a company attractive to more than 147 million Russian potential customers and give access to new Eastern European and Asian markets.

Russia started developing its own national payment system when the US targeted it with sanctions in 2014. Back then clients of several Russian banks were temporarily unable to use Visa and Mastercard due to the restrictions. Since the introduction of the new system, Russian banks have already issued more than 69.7 million MIR cards.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Could Russia Floating Nuclear Plants Change World Economy? | New Eastern Outlook

could-russia-floating-nuclear-plants-change-world-economy?-|-new-eastern-outlook

25-11-19 08:34:00,

While the EU and United States have all but abandoned nuclear energy as a future power source, with almost no new reactors being built and existing ones being decommissioned, Russia has quietly emerged as the world’s leading builder of peaceful civilian nuclear power plants. Now the Russian state nuclear company, Rosatom, has completed the first commercial floating nuclear plant and has successfully towed it to its ultimate location in the Russian Far East where access to power is difficult. It could transform the energy demands of much of the developing world, in addition to Russia. An added plus is that nuclear plants emit zero carbon emissions so that political opposition based on CO2 does not apply.

The floating power plant, named Akademik Lomonosov, houses two 35-megawatt reactors, based on the design of the nuclear plants aboard the successful fleet of Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers and capable of providing 70MW electric power to city of 100,000.By comparison a typical on-land nuclear station in the USA or Europe is 1,000 MW in size making them suitable only for densely populated industrialized areas.

The smaller reactors are far cheaper to build once they go into multiple-unit production and are far more flexible for locations in developing regions of Asia or Africa where lack of reliable electricity is a major constraint to economic development. The construction and installation cost for the Lomonosov is reportedly $480 million, or about $6.90 per watt, slightly more than an average conventional plant.[i]

It is designed to last 40 years before being towed away to a special location in Russia for decommissioning, similar to the process for nuclear-powered ships. The special vessel is some 140 meters long and 30 meters wide. The design features well-proven Russian-built nuclear reactors used reliably for some five decades to power its nuclear icebreaker fleet, the world’s largest. The vessel itself has been designed to be capable of withstanding a tsunami or even a collision with land or a ship. It is designed to be stationed at a specially fixed site on sea and connected to land via underwater cables.The floating units can act as cogeneration facilities capable of feeding the grid and for desalinating large quantities of seawater making them attractive to the Middle East and other countries with water problems.

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In Russia, Individuals Can Now Be Branded “Foreign Agents” – Activist Post

in-russia,-individuals-can-now-be-branded-“foreign-agents”-–-activist-post

22-11-19 10:22:00,

By RuNet Echo

Today, Russia’s State Duma passed the third and final reading of a new bill expanding the scope of the country’s controversial “foreign agent” law.

The first iteration of the law appeared in 2012, and introduced the term “foreign agent” to refer to NGOs which receive foreign funding. It’s a loaded term in Russian, with strong associations with espionage. In November 2017, mass media organisations could be labelled “foreign agents” if they received funding from overseas; the move came soon after the state-funded news outlet RT was made to register as a “foreign agent” by the United States authorities. Since then, several organisations have been declared “foreign agents” by the Russian authorities, such as the Anti-Corruption Foundation of opposition politician Alexey Navalny in October 2019.

The latest amendments expand the definition of “foreign agent” to individuals, at the discretion of the Ministry of Justice, which already maintains online lists of “foreign agent” media outlets and NGOs. They also oblige any media organisation recognised as a “foreign agent” to first establish a Russian legal entity in order to operate in the country, and require individuals to publicly state this status and submit to intense financial reporting requirements. The punishments for non-compliance are harsh, including prison sentences of up to two years and fines of up to five million rubles (around 80,000 USD). On November 18, 10 international NGOs signed an open letter denouncing the new bill as a serious threat to freedom of expression in Russia.

How do the Russian authorities know a “foreign agent” when they see one?

The text of the new amendments, added to the federal laws on information and telecommunications, do not suggest any consistent criteria. Foreign agents, it reads, are “individuals disseminating printed, audiovisual, or other messages and material (including by use of the internet) intended for a potentially unlimited circle of people, receiving money and (or) other property from foreign states, their institutions, international and foreign organisations, foreign citizens, stateless individuals and their agents, and (or) Russian legal entities who receive money and (or) other property from indicated sources.”

State officials have stressed that the new law is nothing to worry about.

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Russia Slams US Backing For Israeli Settlements As “New Dangerous Escalation”

russia-slams-us-backing-for-israeli-settlements-as-“new-dangerous-escalation”

19-11-19 03:39:00,

Reuters reports that Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday condemned the US move to reverse decades-long official policy which viewed Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal. 

“The Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s approach towards Israeli settlements. U.S. public statements on settlement activities in the West Bank have been inconsistent over decades,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday, effectively overturning the State Department’s 41-year-old legal opinion that Israel’s West Bank settlements are illegal.

Russia condemned the drastic policy reversal as a severe blow to the peace process, saying “We consider this Washington’s decision as another step aimed at ruining an international legal basis of the Middle East settlement that will exacerbate tensions in Palestinian-Israeli relations,” according to the foreign ministry statement.

The West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, via Reuters.

“We are urging all concerned parties to refrain from any steps that could provoke a new dangerous escalation in the region and impede the creation of conditions for resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli talks,” the statement emphasized.

Russia underscored it still sees as valid and binding the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 which states that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State [Palestine-Israel] solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” 

Armed settlers from the hardline Jewish settlement of Yitzhar, via the AFP

Thus Moscow still views such settlements on Palestinian territory as illegal under international law, a Reuters summary of the Russian statement noted.

The historic policy shift of the Trump administration came after the State Department’s legal office was ordered to conduct a year-long review of the official US policy on the expanding settlements in the West Bank, according to The Jerusalem Post

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Russia & China to launch joint venture for constructing metros worldwide

russia-&-china-to-launch-joint-venture-for-constructing-metros-worldwide

13-11-19 02:11:00,

Russian engineering company Mosinzhproekt and the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) plan to set up a joint venture for the construction of subways around the world, said Moscow Deputy Mayor Marat Khusnullin.

He said that several agreements have already been sealed with Chinese partners, particularly on the implementation of a joint project on transfer hubs and the exchange of information technology.

“We have gained expertise and potentially after 2021–2022, when the main number of metros are completed, we can start building in other countries too,” Khusnullin said, adding that a preliminary agreement with the Chinese side has already been signed.

Since August 2017, CRCC has been building a 4.6km section and three stations on the Large Circle Line in Moscow, which will be completed by the end of 2020. In February, CRCC won another metro construction contract and is expected to start tunneling next month.

The Chinese firm may also invest around $1 billion in the construction of the first stage of Russia’s administrative and business center, Kommunarka.

The Moscow metro is one of the busiest in the world and is famous for its efficiency and elegance. It features some of the most beautiful stations, many of which are decorated with frescoes, marble columns and ornate chandeliers. It is one of the cleanest metros, with more than nine million passengers every day.

Opened in 1935 with 13 stations, it was the first underground railway system in the Soviet Union. As of 2019, the Moscow Metro, excluding the Moscow Central Circle and Moscow Monorail, has 232 stations (263 with Moscow Central Circle) and its route length is 397.3km (246.9 miles), making it the fifth longest in the world. The system is mostly underground, with the deepest section at a depth of 84 meters (276ft), one of the world’s deepest.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia, China, & The European Peninsula

russia,-china,-&-the-european-peninsula

07-11-19 12:00:00,

Authored by Godfree Roberts via The Saker blog,

Eurasia has most of the world’s wealth, resources, and population — yet there is very low economic connectivity. A Sino-Russian partnership can collectively create a gravitational pull that allows them to capture the geoeconomic levers of power by creating an alternative to the Western-centric model. This entails developing new global value chains that captures the high-value activities in strategic industries and energy markets, developing new transportation corridors through Eurasia and the Arctic, and constructing new financial instruments such as development banks, trade/reserve currencies, technical standards, and trade regimes. Russia’s comparative advantage derives from its geographical expanse by developing an East-West corridor connecting Northeast Asia with Europe, and a North-South Corridor that links India, Iran and Russia. Moscow sees itself as a stabilising factor in Eurasia by bringing together the entire continent with economic connectivity to ensure that it becomes multipolar and no one state or region can dominate.

The EU stands to lose much from Russia’s Greater Eurasia ambitions. Russia’s original Greater Europe project, which they EU rejected, would have endowed the EU with a powerful ally to collectively project influence deep into the Eurasian continent. In contrast, Russia’s new Greater Eurasia initiative will marginalise the EU’s role across Eurasia as socio-economic and political decisions will be made by BRICS, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Belt and Road Initiative. The EU is faced with a dilemma as it has strong economic incentives to cooperate with the development taking place in Greater Eurasia, yet this would contribute to the shift away from the Western-centric geoeconomic infrastructure. Glenn Diesen. The Global Resurgence of Economic Nationalism.

Halford Mackinder said we don’t think of Asia and Europe as a single continent because sailors couldn’t voyage around it. Today the Northeast Passage, NEP, along Russia’s northern coast, links the Pacific and Atlantic coasts while a network of pipelines and air, rail, road and fiber routes are knitting Mackinder’s World Island into ‘Eurasia’ despite Kissinger’s warning, “Domination by a single power of either of Eurasia’s two principal spheres–Europe or Asia–remains a good definition of strategic danger for America. For such a grouping would have the capacity to outstrip America economically and,

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Is Russia Right About US Shale Energy? | New Eastern Outlook

is-russia-right-about-us-shale-energy?-|-new-eastern-outlook

06-11-19 05:38:00,

SHAL3423

In recent remarks to a Pennsylvania shale oil producers’ convention, US President Donald Trump, noting the spectacular growth in shale gas as well as shale oil over the past decade, remarked that unconventional shale energy had made “America the greatest energy superpower in the history of the world.” On first look the achievement has indeed been impressive. Since 2011 the USA surpassed Russia to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas. By 2018 USA had passed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world leading oil producer. It is all because of US unconventional shale oil and gas. But the success may be short-lived.

The rise of shale energy and the favorable geological conditions in West Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere have given the US a clear geopolitical lever in world politics, not only in the Middle East or Venezuela policies. Also in the EU, where Russian gas remains the major supplier. Can the US continue to base policy on its leading role in gas and oil, or is this merely a blip due to end as suddenly as it appeared?

Just as a triumphant Trump was speaking in Pittsburg to the shale industry, Russian Energy Minister Novak pointed to recent slowing of shale oil output growth in key areas of the USA: “In the near future, if forecasts turn out correct, we will see a plateau in production.” He pointed to the significant reduction in shale oil drilling in recent months and predictions by Wall Street of a significant slowing of oil increases from shale in 2020. Prospects for US shale gas are far from positive as well, despite a current supply glut domestically. The LNG gas export terminal infrastructure, while it is increasing, is far from adequate to make the US a major supplier to the EU in competition to Russian gas. And money from Wall Street is drying up as well.

EU Defeat for Trump

The Trump Administration has staked much political effort on trying to convince the EU and other parts of the world to buy US shale gas instead of Russian conventional natural gas, arguing diversity of supply. That now looks unlikely to happen. Despite strong US pressure to cancel Europe’s NordStream2 gas pipeline from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany,

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Russia and Turkey Struck a Game-Changing Deal on Syria and Beyond | New Eastern Outlook

russia-and-turkey-struck-a-game-changing-deal-on-syria-and-beyond-|-new-eastern-outlook

24-10-19 12:14:00,

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On Tuesday in Sochi, Russia, a game-changing meeting between the Russian and Turkish presidents ended after six hours of negotiations. This was the eighth face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since the beginning of the year, and it’s been reported that Syria wasn’t the only topic discussed, as a number of regional issues also required the attention of Presidents Putin and Erdogan, together with the discussion of the future of strengthening bilateral ties between Turkey and Russia. This meeting was a logical continuation of  attempts to promote a political settlement in Syria, which were presented at a recent meeting in Ankara by the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran.

The overall complexity of the ongoing Syrian settlement became even more challenging after Turkish began new military operations in northern Syria. Some political figures would even claim that the events in Syria “took an undesirable turn”, which left little to no room for optimism. On top of Syria, Russia, Turkey and the United States being concerned about the overall deterioration of security in the region, both Iran and Iraq would also express their concerns. However, the parties had conflicting opinions about how this issue should be addressed.

One must not forget that the settlement of the Syrian conflict complicated by the launch of Turkey’s most recent military operation, was closely linked with the need to find a solution to the “Kurdish problem.” According to Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Moscow’s goal is to achieve a situation where all armed Kurdish units within Syrian territory are integrated into the legal framework of the Syrian Arab Republic, per the Syrian constitution. This would ensure there would be no illegal armed groups operating across Syria that could represent a threat to the security of the Turkish Republic.

Earlier, American officials would claim it was impossible to push Kurdish units away from the so-called “security zone” in northern Syria. Thus, US Special Representative for Syria James Franklin Jeffrey at a hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee argued that it was unlikely that Moscow could drive the Kurds out of this area. However, Moscow’s step-by-step approach toward negotiations with the Kurds resulted in the Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) informing the Pentagon that they fulfilled all their obligations to the US and,

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FULL INTERVIEW: Russia will never be friends ‘with one country against another’ in the Middle East – Putin

full-interview:-russia-will-never-be-friends-‘with-one-country-against-another’-in-the-middle-east-–-putin

13-10-19 05:53:00,

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sat down with three Arab-language media, including RT Arabic, to discuss Russia’s policies and ties in the Middle East and beyond, as well as a looming arms race with the US and NATO’s expansion.

In advance of his visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Vladimir Putin answered questions from Al Arabiya senior presenter Mohammed Tomaihi, Sky News Arabia senior presenter Mohannad Khatib and RT Arabic Public and Political Programmes Department Head Salam Musafir.

This is the full video and transcript of the interview. Key excerpts are available here, here and here.

Mohammed Tomaihi, Al Arabiya: (retranslated): Dear viewers, welcome to this unique interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which we are recording in Sochi.

With me here today are Mr. Mohannad Khatib, a reporter at Sky News Arabia and Salam Musafir, a reporter at RT Arabic.

Thank you very much for this unique opportunity, considering your upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.

‘There’s a lot to be done, but we’ve set a good pace’

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: It is my pleasure. I think it is a good tradition to meet with a country’s media before visiting it.

As for the visit to Saudi Arabia, we attach great importance to it. It is, in a sense, a return visit after the visit by King of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to Russia. It was the first, historic visit. We consider it historic, and it really is.

There is one more thing that I believe is important to note. In Soviet times, relations between Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union were at a rather low level. In recent years, the quality of our relations has changed dramatically. We consider Saudi Arabia a friendly nation.

Read more

Russia’s sovereign fund eyes multi-billion dollar projects with Saudi Arabia

I have very good relations with both the King and the Crown Prince. We have been making good headway practically in all fields.

I will start with the economy. There is still a lot to be done, but we have set a good pace.

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Russia creating rival to Wikipedia to protect knowledge from ‘erosion’ & fake news

russia-creating-rival-to-wikipedia-to-protect-knowledge-from-‘erosion’-&-fake-news

10-10-19 07:23:00,

The Russian equivalent of Wikipedia will become a reliable source for “safe,” verified, data without any ideological or political agenda, and could be accessed by 15 million people a day, its creators said.

The ambitious undertaking, which is powered by the Great Russian Encyclopedia (GRE) publishing house, is going to receive 2 billion rubles ($31 million) in state funding between 2020 and 2022.

The nationwide interactive encyclopedic portal is aimed at protecting contemporary knowledge from “erosion” and sheltering online users from misleading information, GRE communications chief, Anna Sinitsyna, said.

With the avalanche-like growth of all kinds of falsifications (including those in scientific, historical, statistical and demographic data) and fake news, generated by some media and private users online, we see it as a particularly urgent task to create a database of safe information (verified by the scientific community).

All the entries on the portal will be of purely scientific and educational nature, “free of any political or ideological agenda.”

The authors of the project plant to attract an audience of at least 10 million people, which would include students, researchers, civil servants, media people and all those interested in reliable data.

But the site should be capable of handling 15 million unique users on a daily basis. For reference, the stats by Mediascope reveal that the Russian version of Wikipedia was accessed by some 2.9 million people per day this July.

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At launch, the 80,000 articles from the Great Russian Encyclopedia, which was published by GRE between 2004 and 2017, will make the bulk of the portal’s content. But it will then be regularly expanded with information from other sources.

Registered users would have a chance to submit articles, but they would only be included on the website after approval by the “expert community” of GRE staff and scientists from other organizations.

With it being a national portal, the articles will be presented in the Russian language, but “the translation of the whole database into some other languages is possible on the initiative of foreign partners.”

BRICS nations (Brazil,

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Russia offers to set up ‘grain OPEC’ to ensure stability & solve problem of world hunger

russia-offers-to-set-up-‘grain-opec’-to-ensure-stability-&-solve-problem-of-world-hunger

07-10-19 12:00:00,

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksey Gordeyev has suggested creating an organization of grain exporters similar to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The offer to create an OPEC-type organization for grain exporters aims to ensure “the stability of the grain market, coordinate grain prices, and solve the problem of world hunger,” according to a statement from Gordeyev’s press service.

The idea was raised during Gordeyev’s meeting with German Minister of Food and Agriculture Julia Klockner and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet. They met on the sidelines of ANUGA-2019, the international trade fair for food and beverages, in Cologne.

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Russia seeks to ‘feed the whole planet’ – PM

According to Gordeyev, the future organization could “include Russia, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Argentina, [and] other nations.” He suggested discussing coordination among the world’s biggest grain exporters during the Green Week exhibition in Berlin.

Russian agricultural production has surged by 20 percent over the past five years. Grain harvests are projected to grow by five percent this year to 118 million tons, including around 78 million tons of wheat.

Russia has managed to capture more than half of the global wheat market in recent years, becoming the world’s biggest exporter of grain, thanks to bumper harvests and attractive pricing. Since the early 2000s, Moscow’s share of the global wheat market has quadrupled.

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Give non-GMO a go: Putin urges Russia’s agricultural expansion on international markets

President Vladimir Putin said recently that the country has ensured its independence on the global wheat market. Russia’s enormous natural resources should serve as a guarantee for high-quality food production and should be used specifically to increase the production of organic, non-GMO food products, Putin said.

The president predicted Russia’s agriculture exports will double by 2024 to reach $45 billion.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Nuclear War With Russia “Winnable” Said Trump’s Incoming National Security Advisor

nuclear-war-with-russia-“winnable”-said-trump’s-incoming-national-security-advisor

15-09-19 07:48:00,

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,

Questioning “mutual assured destruction,” Charles Kupperman called nuclear conflict “in large part a physics problem.”

Incoming National Security Advisor, Charles Kupperman, made the claim Nuclear War With USSR Was Winnable.

He made those statements in the 1980s. I do not know his views today, but let’s review what he said then.

President Donald Trump’s acting national security adviser, former Reagan administration official Charles Kupperman, made an extraordinary and controversial claim in the early 1980s: nuclear conflict with the USSR was winnable and that “nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem.”

Kupperman, appointed to his new post on Tuesday after Trump fired his John Bolton from the job, argued it was possible to win a nuclear war “in the classical sense,” and that the notion of total destruction stemming from such a superpower conflict was inaccurate. He said that in a scenario in which 20 million people died in the U.S. as opposed to 150 million, the nation could then emerge as the stronger side and prevail in its objectives.

His argument was that with enough planning and civil defense measures, such as “a certain layer of dirt and some reinforced construction materials,” the effects of a nuclear war could be limited and that U.S. would be able to fairly quickly rebuild itself after an all-out conflict with the then-Soviet Union.

At the time, Kupperman was executive director of President Ronald Reagan’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. He made the comments during an interview with Robert Scheer for the journalist’s 1982 book, “With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War.”

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to questions on whether Kupperman, 68, still holds the same views of nuclear conflict as he did in the early 1980s. Kupperman’s seemingly cavalier attitude toward the potential death of millions of people was criticized at the time both by Democratic politicians and arms control experts.

The article posts excerpts so let’s look at a couple of precise statements.

Kupperman Statements

  • If the objective in a war is to try to destroy as many Soviet civilians and as many American civilians as is feasible,

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Are Russia and India Global Partners? The Brahmos Supersonic Missiles, The Russia-China Relationship – Global Research

are-russia-and-india-global-partners?-the-brahmos-supersonic-missiles,-the-russia-china-relationship-–-global-research

30-08-19 07:32:00,

The announcement that the Brahmos supersonic missiles jointly produced by Russia and India will soon be exported to third countries that are on friendly relations with both increases the odds that their historic Vietnamese partners might receive these game-changing weapons.

New Delhi’s Man In Moscow Is Right, Russia & India Are Global Partners“, and no sooner had the Indian Ambassador to Russia said that in a recent interview earlier this week than the announcement was made that the Brahmos supersonic missiles that they jointly produced will be exported to third countries that are on friendly relations with both of them. Although Sputnik reported at the beginning of the month that Thailand would probably be the first country apart from those two to take possession of these weapons, the outlet also reported a few months back that Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore were interested in them too, as well as the Gulf countries (in clear reference to the GCC). There wouldn’t be anything controversial about any of those aforementioned nations receiving these game-changing arms, except perhaps the GCC ones that would obviously intend to use them against Iran in the event of a conflict (per Russia’s strategy of “balancing” the Islamic Republic all throughout the region), but it would be extremely significant if Moscow and New Delhi’s historic Vietnamese partners were to one day receive them as well.

That’s not too far-fetched of a prediction to make either after rumors have been floating around for the past couple of years that Hanoi is in the market for these missiles in order to defend its claims in the disputed waters of the South China Sea from Beijing. There’s a solid reasoning behind this possibility too, and it’s that a subsidiary of Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft is drilling in the Lan Do oilfield that narrowly sits within the southwestern border of China’s nine-dash line but is apparently regarded by the company as being under Vietnam’s de-facto sovereignty, which thus gives Russia a natural interest in arming Vietnam in order to secure this “national champion’s” energy deposits by proxy. The precedent established by Russian Ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev’s claim earlier this week that India’s unilateral moves in disputed Kashmir are an “internal matter” suggests that it would also regard Vietnam’s sale of oil blocks in the disputed waters of the South China Sea as similarly being an “internal matter” in the interests of consistency.

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Big Tech, Russia and U.S. Under Fire for A.I. Weapons Programs; Campaign to Stop Killer Robots Coalition Doubles in Size

big-tech,-russia-and-us-under-fire-for-ai.-weapons-programs;-campaign-to-stop-killer-robots-coalition-doubles-in-size

26-08-19 08:23:00,

By Nicholas West

Renewed attention over artificial intelligence for use in warfare (“killer robots”) is being brought to the forefront with the recent Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) held this past week in Geneva, Switzerland.

The meeting coincidentally comes just one day after a Dutch NGO, Pax for Peace, released a report about Big Tech’s involvement with supplying A.I. systems to the military.  Their report, “Don’t be evil?” (PDF), examined 50 companies across the world that are involved. They ranked 21 of these companies as “high concern” with Microsoft and Amazon leading the way. Given the title of the document, they concluded that Google had done enough to warrant a lower ranking of “Best Practice” after they responded to public and employee outcry over the Project Maven A.I. drone program and subsequent refusal to be involved with the JEDI military cloud program.

Microsoft, however, has made it quite clear in the past that they unapologetically support the U.S. military. In December last year I reported that “Microsoft Declares Intent To Provide Military All Of Its Technology Because of the Military’s ‘Ethical and Honorable Tradition.’”

Microsoft is “going to provide the U.S. military with access to the best technology … all the technology we create. Full stop,” Brad Smith said Saturday during a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. – LA Times

Ethics and honor are exactly at the heart of the warnings that I and others have been raising since the public became aware of the existence of lethal autonomous weapons systems. The Convention has been gathering since 2014 to specifically discuss this type of warfare. Over the ensuing years, many more countries are seeing the dangers that the world faces and 29 have now joined an effort to ban these systems outright.  The U.S. and Russia, however, have been staunchly resistant to making any firm declarations, preferring a “wait and see” attitude.

Russia and United States repeatedly rejected any references in the meeting’s final report on the need for “human control” over the use of force.

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Lost forests: Russia considers banning lumber exports to China over concerns about illegal logging

lost-forests:-russia-considers-banning-lumber-exports-to-china-over-concerns-about-illegal-logging

15-08-19 10:10:00,

Moscow may impose a full embargo on lumber exports to its largest trade partner, China, if Beijing fails to deal with illegal logging, Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has warned.

“China should have a clear understanding that if it fails to engage in solving this problem, we will have no other choice but to ban the export of  lumber completely,” minister Dmitry Kobylkin told Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper.

“They come, buy up the [illegal] timber and leave us to clear up the debris,” Kobylkin said of Chinese loggers.

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The minister has already asked Chinese law enforcement to take on the illegal loggers, and says the problem can be solved only if the Chinese take concrete steps. As an example, he suggested the building of special seed-growing facilities and replant trees to restore the lost forests “for our children and grandchildren.”

In July, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that illegal logging increases the risk of floods, after rising water devastated the Russian Siberian region of Irkutsk, leaving more than 10 people dead and driving thousands from their homes.

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‘Rains will fall’: Shamans to hold massive ritual to save Siberia from raging wildfires

Shortly after the severe flooding, wildfires started to rage in Irkutsk, Yakutia, Krasnoyarsk and some other regions, burning more than 2,5 million hectares of forest. Russian prosecutors suspect the fires were deliberately set to cover up illegal logging.

Russia is the leading supplier of lumber to China and accounts for around 30 percent of the country’s imports of the material, according to Forbes. In 2017, year-on-year exports rose 23 percent and reached $4.8 billion.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia enters super-fast communication era with launch of first 5G zone in Moscow

russia-enters-super-fast-communication-era-with-launch-of-first-5g-zone-in-moscow

08-08-19 05:29:00,

A pilot 5G zone, the first of its kind, has been launched in the heart of the Russian capital on Thursday. Swedish telecom company Ericsson provided the equipment for the network, which is run by Russian mobile operator Tele2.

“Today’s event means that the 5G era in Russia has already begun, after tests we are moving to use the technology via a commercial network,” Tele2 CEO Sergei Edmin said, announcing the launch.

The pilot zone for the super-fast network fully covers Moscow’s landmark Tverskaya street, from the Kremlin to the busy Garden Ring highway, the company said in a statement.

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“We are happy to launch the first 5G zone in Moscow,” the head of Ericsson’s division in Russia, Sebastian Tolstoy, stated.

Tele2 added that the special zone was created under Russia’s government-funded national program for the development of the digital economy. The project will be expanded to other Russian cities. 5G networks are set to be launched commercially in five cities with populations over a million by 2022, and will be deployed in 10 more cities by 2024.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Russia urges BRICS states to take part in rebuilding Syria – Lavrov

russia-urges-brics-states-to-take-part-in-rebuilding-syria-–-lavrov

26-07-19 05:46:00,

Moscow is urging its partners in the BRICS group of nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to take part in work towards the post-war restoration of Syria, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

“It is crucially important to support the processes of Syria’s post-conflict restoration,” he told a BRICS foreign ministerial session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“We urge participation in this activity and note in this connection efforts taken by our Chinese and Indian friends,” TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.

The main tasks ahead are the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity, extermination of remaining terrorists, [and] assistance in the return of refugees with an advance of the political process led by the Syrians themselves, Lavrov said. “The launch of a constitutional committee that is expected shortly will be a crucial stage on this path.”

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Russia Won’t Leave Iran to the Wolves! New Bilateral Cooperation Measures Approved By Kremlin! | The Vineyard of the Saker

russia-won’t-leave-iran-to-the-wolves!-new-bilateral-cooperation-measures-approved-by-kremlin!-|-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

20-06-19 04:44:00,

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‘It was to blame Russia from the beginning’: Malaysia PM fires back at MH17 probe

‘it-was-to-blame-russia-from-the-beginning’:-malaysia-pm-fires-back-at-mh17-probe

20-06-19 08:36:00,

Malaysia is “unhappy” about the findings of the Dutch-led inquiry into the MH17 crash, which pointed the finger at Russia even before the probe began, the country’s PM said, noting that there was more politics than fact-finding.

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s prime minister, voiced his unease after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) revealed the latest results of the investigation. The group was quick to implicate Moscow – and this is why, according to the PM, Malaysia isn’t convinced of the probe’s integrity.

We are very unhappy. From the very beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing.

“Even before they examined the case, they have already claimed it [the shooting down of MH17] was done by Russia,” the prime minister said as cited by the local media.

On Wednesday, the JIT flagged four individuals – three Russians and one Ukrainian – as key suspects in the tragedy.

The investigators accuse them of playing a significant role in shooting down the MH17, by receiving a surface-to-air Buk missile, allegedly from Russia. Both Moscow and the international investigators agree that the Malaysian Boeing, with 298 people on board, was taken down by a Buk missile.

Also on rt.com
We regret ‘baseless’ accusations by intl probe Russian military complicit in MH17 crash – Moscow

Moscow, however, insists the Buk belonged to the Ukrainian military, and was a type of missile not in service in the armed forces of Russia anymore.

Malaysia, which has kept an eye on the investigation since its inception, wants “proof of guilt [that Russia did it].”

So far, “there is no proof, only hearsay,” Mahathir insisted.

The crash was also investigated by the Dutch Safety Board, which focused on the technical part of the tragedy. Notably, it criticized Ukraine for not closing the airspace during the 2014 armed conflict in the east which also contributed to the fatal incident. However, their final report contained many “inconsistencies” and “unsubstantiated claims,” Moscow has said.

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