– How would you assess the results of the last NATO Summit? The results give some hope for the reduction of military tension in the world, including in the Baltic region?
In my opinion, the summit was absolutely not to reduce international and regional tensions. His main topic was a discussion of a very interesting, not afraid of the word intimate, question – who in the big Atlantic family live at the expense of others, and what to do with it. What it's all actually spun. The initiator of the conversation on this subject was Donald, our indefatigable trump, who shocked the audience requirement finally begin to pay for their membership in NATO and the security assurances that flow from it. That, of course, frapponevano part of the ruling elites and the "euromosaic". They're, you know, solve global issues is the promotion of multiculturalism, tolerance and other "values," soar into the lofty heights of reasoning about postgaduate, suddenly there is a "barbarian", who says: "Exalted you are our why, in fact, how to pay, and to protect such utter your existence needs the U.S. out of its budget? And the money that you're supposed to be paid to the needs obscheatlanticheskogo security you spend on continuing their long failed social experiments. How long?"
That is, trump did what for a long time, from the point of view of traditional elites, American and European, had to do a Washington to the NATO chief. And, accordingly, to pull up all the "commissioners" who have lost touch with the realities of international relations. Without solving these problems, the Alliance may not be effective, therefore, trump is now more important than particular problems like the Baltic States, Ukraine or something else, and the decision of fundamental issues in relations with Europe, including both in NATO.
It's not too fast process, but, apparently, trump, and those who support it on both sides of the ocean are not going to retreat.
– Trump's meeting with Putin ended without much of a stir. Parties were, each in his or her opinion on all contentious issues. The only result is their recognition that the dialogue between Moscow and Washington should continue. That, by and large, is nothing more than a tribute to diplomatic etiquette. Do you agree with this assessment?
– In General – Yes, I agree. Because about this meeting exhaustively can be said in two words – "it was". As to some sensations, which implied some kind of agreement – they could expect only those who are not quite clearly realize the place of Moscow in the list of priorities of the current White house administration. Well, not met in this format trump with Putin two years – and nothing critical in this, the us side not seen.
I suspect that if not for the fact that the opponents of the American President continue to play up the theme of "Russian interference in the presidential election in the United States" – counting due to this dump trump or paralyze the activities of its administration, as in his time did the Democrats during Reagan's second term – this meeting would not have taken place. Because, whatever it said, Washington has not yet developed projects for implementation of which he would need some sort of special partnership with Russia. Maybe for someone this will sound shocking, but the current level of us-Russian relations Washington quite happy. Accordingly, to change something into a positive for Moscow side there are not going.
– On the Ukrainian question, the parties also failed to reach any agreements. In this regard, how do you think Putin's warning that they "will not leave unanswered the accession of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO" will be able to stop the expansion of NATO to the East?
– You know, from my point of view, for Russia it is absolutely indifferent, will take Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. In fact, the ruling elites of these States have a significant proportion of these societies is the level of hostility to the Russian leadership (stress – it is first and foremost to the leadership of the Russian Federation) is that in any scenario in the near future at least a decade, and Kiev, and Tbilisi will be natural allies of any anti-Russian actions of the Alliance. And their join/not join, I think, will be decided in Brussels, not with an eye to Moscow, and on the basis, primarily, for reasons of expediency for NATO.
– Do you think that sanctions against Russia will be tightened?
– Without any doubt. Americans accurately reflect the points that are most painful to tolerate the pressure of the sanctions – the oil and gas sector, arms exports and foreign assets of the Russian elite. They will build up pressure. In addition, Americans do not hide that they really want to press Russia on the European gas market. No sooner had the trump return from Helsinki – his party in the Senate, John Barrasso, Cory Gardner and Steve Danes introduce a bill to provide for the mandatory imposition of U.S. sanctions against the participants of the project of construction of gas pipeline "Nord stream-2".
Moreover, in the cover letter to this document explicitly States, I don't apologize for the long quote, it's worth it: "the President of Russia Vladimir Putin is using the Russian natural gas as a tool for extortion and threats to our partners. The proposed bill will take away from Russia is a geopolitical weapon through the imposition of sanctions against the pipeline "Nord stream-2" and to promote increased us exports of natural gas to our allies. Given the abundance of natural gas in the United States, we need to use American energy resources to provide reliable long-term energy security of our allies." Comments, I think, unnecessary.
– Then what awaits the Russian economy, which will increasingly deteriorate?
– How wonderful one well-known Russian expert, "in the phrase of the Russian economy – one word too much". So much to discuss the prospects makes no sense. Just as there is absolutely no point in discussing the statements of the Russian officials waiting the country in the near future, any "jerks", "growth", "entry to the top ten leading economies of the world." It's a series of “fooling the people” . Therefore, in the short term – the stagnation and the concomitant further reduction in income of the General population, increased spending on law enforcement and the reduction of social spending.
– Once again back to your argument that Russia has made concessions to the West in the Iranian issue. But coming to Moscow Velayati – and there is information that the Russian side intends to invest in oil and gas Iran $ 50 billion. The other day in the influential Russian newspaper "Kommersant" published an interview of the Russian Ambassador in Tehran Mr. Jagarana, in which he said that Russian-Iranian "economic and trade relations are developing actively, we have a number of large projects... today, despite threats from the US, I see no obstacles to the implementation of these projects. Work is ongoing in the regular mode". How do you explain these statements, which, in fact, devalue your conclusions?
– You know, always very critical of statements and declarations. Not negatively, but it is critical – that is, comparing them with what is already known in this matter. For example, if, after the meeting of Putin and Ali Akbar Velayati stated that the same LUKOIL has a change of heart and stops the folding of its projects in Iran – it would be a serious signal and a topic for discussion. Look. Published an interview of Mr. Jagarana, where he says that "despite US threats", "are actively developing" and so on, and literally on the same day it became known that the Russian Severstal and MMK will stop because of the threat of us sanctions on the supply of steel products to Iran.
I will say more. In the 2010-2011 Iranian-Russian trade turnover amounted to about USD 3.5 billion. Then five years of failure, because – sanctions. But sanctions the end of 2015, gradually begin to take in the Tehran rush European businessmen, two years of hype, on top of which, in the first quarter of 2018, the trade turnover of Iran with a number of European countries amounted to 3.2-3.4 billion euros. I repeat it in three months. But the Iranian-Russian trade turnover in 2016 and 2017 and continued to hang out in the region of one billion dollars. That is never recovered.
And here's what's important to understand. Business at any level in Russia is now under the control of the authorities. The days when from the same Krasnoyarsk region it was possible to conclude a trade agreement with the Iranian businessmen and to implement it, is long over. That is, in order to enter the Iranian market – Russian business needs the sanction of the Russian authorities. Well, state support, of course. Neither one nor the other is not. And is not expected.
Besides, Iran will not support any Russian Bank. How much was a few months ago to talk about the fact that the payment system "Mir" will support the operation, now do not even remember.
There is a lot to say on this topic, to bring more facts and figures, but I think, already clear that statements by officials and realities in Iran-Russia economic cooperation – the abyss. The bottom line is there are two projects – the construction of four power units of TPP Sirik Hormozgan province and electrification of the railway section of Garmsar—Inche-Burun – which intend to implement at the expense of the Russian loan, in the amount of €1.2 billion and €1 billion respectively. All the rest – from area of good wishes and dreams.
– Well, let's say that in relation to trade and economic relations you are right. But there is another sensitive issue in relations of Moscow and Teheran in military-technical cooperation. Some experts believe that Iran is one of the largest buyers of Russian arms. Unless the actual Moscow's support for sanctions against him will result in serious losses for Russian defense enterprises?
– If someone thinks so, apparently, it has no texture on the subject. Here is the situation. The annual volume of Iranian-Russian PTS in the first half of the 90s was about $ 500 million. Then, in June 1995 there is a notorious Memorandum Gore-Chernomyrdin, according to which Moscow pledged not to enter into new contracts on deliveries of conventional arms to Iran, and the execution of already signed contracts to be completed by the end of 1999.
In 2001 Iran begins to implement a 25-year rearmament programme, and it provided the orientation for the purchase of Russian technology. Total cost of program was $ 25 billion, defense industry of Russia could get at least half that amount, i.e., about 12-13 billion. However, on 22 September 2010 the then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, who is now Prime Minister, signed a decree "On measures to implement UN security Council resolution N 1929 of 9 June 2010", after which, for the second time, Iranian-Russian PTS is almost completely minimized. The only officially confirmed supply from this point to the present day are transfer to Iran in October 2011 of the electronic intelligence station 1L222 "Avtobaza" and in early 2017 – after almost a decade long of trials and scandals – complex With-300. Well, maybe something, most likely – spare parts for helicopters that were delivered during this period in Iran according to the "closed codes" VED. According to my calculations – about at $ 9 to $ 11 million.
Actually, this is everything you need to know on the subject of "Iran as a buyer of Russian weapons". In addition, the reputation of Russia as a partner in this issue for Iranians now "below the bottom". In addition, the part of arms and military equipment Iran already produces its own, and another part – can purchase from China, who does not hide his interest in the subject.
– Then I can't help asking one more question. As a cooling in relations between Moscow and Tehran will affect the situation in Syria, where the Assad regime was able to first hold and then to regain control over much of the country, solely because of joint actions of Russia and Iran? How, in your opinion, the deterioration in Iranian-Russian relations may lead to failure of the entire Syrian campaign of the Kremlin?
– Let's start with the second part of your question. The failure or the success of a company is determined by, was achieved the goals that were set during its planning. Specific goals of the Russian "campaign in Syria," we have not heard. Moscow is so often "change to the hop" calling all new and new reasons for intervention in the conflict that all was confused. The bottom line is that we can say, there is only one thing – Assad retained control over part of Syrian territory and Russia thus had the opportunity for a continuing presence in this country.
The success of this, or a serious military-political and financial burden? Rather, the second. Whether the property necessary to equip, to invest in its reconstruction, to defend and to contain the local administration. At whose expense? What will Russia gain?
Yes, the active phase of the conflict is almost over. But then a new problem arose, which is quite clearly expressed the same trump – Iranian presence in Syria, insist on what the US and Israel. "Knock out" Iran from the country will not work – this is possible only starting a war with him, and to go for it no one is ready. So – will "squeeze". Where in this process the place of Russia, which she will receive for their direct participation, or "mediation" – is not entirely clear.
In short, to achieve some success on the field of battle does not mean winning the conflict. Sometimes the world for the winner is worse than defeat...
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