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Medvedevs new "Diplomatic Kremlin"


Thac0man

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This has been a very interesting few weeks in terms of Russian foreign affairs. While I won't claim that Russias internal affairs, especially in the northern Caucusus, are not a shambles, Medvedev seems to have set the Kremlin firmly on course for a new detente with the West.

In a recent(ish) thread escalating tensions between Armenia (who enjoy Russian patronage) and Azerbaijan, who are backed by Turkey, were discussed at lenght. Much sabre rattling and the huge growth in Azeri armed forces strenght seemed to herald a new war between the two uneasy neighbours. Until now that is. Suprisingly Russia has stepped in to broker the start of a peace process, many including myself, thought impossible.

Link here:
Armenia, Azerbaijan Agree to Swap War Prisoners: Medvedev

A small step, but agreeing to return prisoners held for years and the bodies of war casualties is a big step in terms of Azeri/Armenian relations. Not only that the two leaders met face to face at the same table as Medvedev. The shadow of war has receeded substantially.


This is a vital deal for the EU as it not only safe guards but secures the Nabukoo pipeline that is due top come on stream in 2014. Ironically it is a rival to established Russian energy routes. So what, apart from security on its southern borders is the Kremlin gaining?

In stabilsiing the sourthern Caucusus Russia also puts a hold on prospective Iranian inroads and checks Turkeys new and rapidly evolving diplomatic influence. It also of course helps seal the borders with Ingushetia and Chechnya.

Improved relations with NATO are on the table. There is talk in the ongoing negotations that Russia could become a partner in the proposed missle shield.

Link here from Russia Today, which is the Kremlins mouth piece:
NATO, Russia

The deal will also see Russia increase co-operation with the US in Afghanistan. That it seems has already bourne fruit with a joint Russian/US drugs raid in Afghanistan smashing a large heroin factory:

BBC News - Russia and US collaborate in Afghanistan drug raid

More than a tonne of heroin and opium was seized during the raids, which took place on Thursday close to the border with Pakistan, Viktor Ivanov announced.
Mr Ivanov said the haul had a street value of $250m (£157m) and was believed to have been destined for Central Asia.
So Russia is getting on on the root source of narcotics that are flooding into Russia (and the EU). Recently the Kremlin has criticised NATO for not doing enough to stop trafficing and cultivation, now they are on the ground themselves in Afghanistan (again!). The pay off for Russian access to Afghanistan seems to be increased access to NATO. That of course has huge implications for Pakistan. Pakistans old days of having the US over a barrel could be coming to an end.

A Summit between NATO and Russia is due in November. As a prelude to that Russia and Poland have also signed an oil deal:

Link:
euronews - Poland and Russia sign key gas deal

There may be a few other suprises in store. Recognition of S. Ossetia in exchange for Georgia joining NATO? In the same week Iran loads it first fuel into a nuclear reactor, Russia is also seen to be talking to NATO about the missile shield. It should be noted that Russia already stopped shipment of and cancelled the deal for S300 anti-air missles to Iran. Now its been known for a while that Russia is keen to be under the proposed shields protection. Could a NATO advanced Radar be on the cards for Georgian soil as a compromise?

These recent developments seem to hint at a new era of NATO/Euro-Russia relations. It could also signal that Russia is preparing to look more Westward to secure its interests and find a trust worthy partner to help protect mutual interests.

There are perhaps limits to how much cooperation there can be between the Kremlin and especially Europe, given Russias excessive security operations in the northern Caucusus. But still the November NATO/Russia Summit could be a watershed for east/west relations.

Should we be optimistic?
 


WTTR

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ThacOmen! You have given a wonderful summation of current trends from the northern borders of the Middle East, in one place. Thank you! The Russians are now getting afraid because they have a woeful birth rate. Whereas the fact that Iran are gaining allot of power throughout the Middle East e.g. Lebanon etc. as their natural enemy Saddam’s Iraq is not a power any longer. Iran has many millions of young in their twenties, thirties: they are becoming a threat to ageing countries. The Russians never worried about their demographics until lately; but methinks it is too late! The rise of the Islamist Power brokers in their former southern satellite countries is advancing at an alarming rate and are Oil rich. Russia lining up with NATO, that's one for the books! Was not NATO set up as a shield against possible further Russian advancement in Europe during the Cold War?
 
B

birthday

Any figures available for Russian birth rates and how this will play out over the coming decades?
 

WTTR

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By the middle of this century Russia could lose up to half of its people

Any figures available for Russian birth rates and how this will play out over the coming decades?
Check out the series of programmes on more4 and gain insight into 'modern' Russia.
It's frightening viewing and proof that in Russia babarism has won the battle with socialism. Hopefully, the war isn't over

Facts about Russia:

- In the first six months of 2005, the Russian population fell by half a million;

- By the middle of this century Russia could lose up to half of its people, according to Russian government stats;

- Life expectancy for men is 56 years, the same as Bangladesh;

- Ten years ago, the life expectancy for men in Russia was 63;

- The World Health Organisation says that at a conservative estimate more than a million people will have died because of AIDS in Russia by 2020;

- Every other newborn baby is diagnosed with a disease at birth;

- There are more abortions every year in Russia than babies are born;

- Thanks to ill-health, 10 million Russians are infertile;

- A quarter of the population lives below the poverty line;

- Paradoxically, Moscow has more billionaires than any other city in the world;

- Although Russia's population is in freefall, they're still throwing people out. Thirty thousand Meshket Turks have recently had to seek asylum in America, having been forced from their homes in the south of the country by discriminatory laws and racist attacks.
Shrinking Europe
 
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Russia has lots of problems be it the Chinese in the East where since Glasnost many people have left to head to the big cities and pretty much nobody wants to live there.

I believe Russia made a big mistake in the 90's when it could have opened up its country big time using new rail links to the east to develop the country but the population crises is one which many countries are suffering from.
 

Breadan O'Connor

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The Americans with their shock therapy economics, had a lot to do with the huge decline of Russia in the 90s.

Shock therapy caused a big spike in mortality which has been estimated in millions of extra deaths.

Eventually in 1998 the Russian economy collapsed.

Yeltsin in any case , was not a democrat, he shelled the russian parliament and pushed through his policies by decree. Who Lost Russia? - NYTimes.com
 

Thac0man

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Russia has lots of problems be it the Chinese in the East where since Glasnost many people have left to head to the big cities and pretty much nobody wants to live there.
I had not broached Russias relations with China, but a while ago I did hear an analyst on BBC news claim that if Russia did not engage with the West it risked losing everything east of the Urals. It is a huge expanse of territory and CIS nations bordering China have allowed in huge amounts of Chinese commerce and immigants. Given the Stata sponsored Oligarchy China maintains, that infers strong political influence will follow.

The Kremlins response initially was short term, to stop Chinese made imports, especially cars, into Vladivostok. But recently another development I left out from the OP, has been increased cooperation with India. Joint India-Russian excercises only finshed last week:

The Hindu : Front Page : India-Russia joint exercise concludes

.. the excercises had a strong emphasis on counter insurgency and counter terrorism. Less than a week after these excercises with Pakistans main regional rival are over, Russia was engaged in an anti-narcotics excercise inside Afghanistan.

Better link here:
India-Russia joint Army exercise underway

And quote:
Chaubattia (Uttarakhand): With terrorism spreading its tentacles globally, India and Russia are getting ready to wage battles as "allies" against future threats, even as their armies concluded a major joint military exercise in Uttarakhand's Chaubattia on Saturday.
Interesting stuff. Again I reiterate; Pakistan beware. Rather than the Kremlin playing a spoiler role as it did under Putin, Medvedev is moving the entire apparatus of state to realign Russia and affect a myriad of political spheres. Those are spheres it must become involved in and have a secure and sustainable policy within. Putins era at the helm can be seen as productive in terms of Russian stability, but counter productive in terms of Nation building and projecting foreign influence.

Further east lets not forget that the recent upheaval in Kyrgyzstan. Medvedev publically said that that would result in an Islamist insurgency. Whether he was trying to rattle China and warn them off involvement is unclear. But that Medvedev was ignorant of a CIS members internal politics and forces is unlikely to have been the reason behind the statement. The Kremlin none the less stepped aside and allowed the establishment of Asias first Parlimentry democracy there.

We should not also forget the new era of cooperation Russia has called for in the area of arctic exploration. Previous energetic claims are now the subject of cooperation:

Putin Calls for 'Trust' in Developing a Thawing Arctic - NYTimes.com

"Mutual trust" will be the key to developing the vast resources of the Arctic and protecting its fragile ecosystems, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said today.
That statement was on the back of Russia also resolving a decades old dispute with Norway over the border demarcation of the Barnets sea.

It would have been possible to discuss all of these developments in seperate threads. But taken together in one, they illustrate a timeline of increasing Kremlin willingness to cooperate, find new allies and define a new diplomatic dynamic. I think finally we might see Russia being a secure and long term partner for mutual European interests.

I have long been a critic of Putin and do still believe that he squandered years isolating Russia out of self interest and the needless promotion of nationalism. Medvedev is I think the man to steer Russia and a far more capable and responsible president.

In truth I think Russia needs Putin internally. But it certainly needs Medvedev at the top and to secure Russia place in world affairs. Of all the events in this thread, and there are many, I think the genisis of this new Kremlin thinking stems from Medvedevs 2009 "State of the Nation" speech:

Main points of Medvedev's state of the nation address | Russia | RIA Novosti

That was in my opinion the turning point in Krelim thinking. I don't want to speculate too much, but I think Medvedev may be on course to bringing Russia not only back in from the cold, but back to being a real world power and a viable pole in global politics.

That that power and pole should be rooted in European stability and cooperation should be of great comfort to us in the West as we struggle to come to terms with Chinas expanding economic and political influence and our own new vunerability.

The immediate trade off for Russia I think might come in November at the NATO summit. Putins aim of reforming the Russian army has thus far come to nothing. Shrinking and modernising the army is hard for Russia with all its oil wealth? I think Russia will seek NATO cooperation in upgrading its army command structures and training to produce a more flexable force capable of securing the borders of its emerging new foreign policy. France, one of Europes leading powers, has already agreed to sell 4 Mistral class warships to Russia, giving the Kremlin access to the type of flexable military hardware it needs:

Russia, France discuss sale of 4 Mistral warships | Navy News at DefenseTalk

In that deal can be seen the huge advantages for Russia and the West. A Russia armed with modern weaponry, bought from the West with whom they are friendly with. In the initial phase arms and access to them is a good basis for economic interdependance. Europe buys oil and sells hi-tech equipment to Russia. We might expect to see agreement on tariffs soon though that promote the sale of good between Europe and Russia, to counter Chinese market influence. Medvedevs 2009 speech indicated strongly a desire to develop Russian industry away from the "primitive" economic model of natural resource exploitation. Again, cooperation with Europe seems the only way to do that as China has essentially sealed with markets against foreign imports.
 
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I think your point re Russia and Nato is well made as see that as the key because of the mutual defense agreement because having them signed up means Chinese attempts at land grab which will happen gets met by NATO and Allies and that will include US bases ringing them.

It is a classic chess move.

Russian attempts at resource grabbing from major Oil and Gas companies over last few years has been a failure when they realised that Western companies withdrew the technical expertise that Russia requires.

However what i see happening is that Russia will open up quickly in partnership deals where the removal of elected Govenor etc make more power concentrated in Moscow as distinct from regional Governments which means decision making can be made more in line with what is good for Russia rather than the sectional regional interests.

There are a number of studies which have looked at the expanison of trans siberia to make it more of a freight operation from far east, notable point here is a freight operation will require lots of logistic support and protection along the way so making up similar to development of Forts by US during its westward rush in the 19th century in hostile territory. Though in Russia's case its inhospitable territory.
 

Éireann go Brách

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Check out the series of programmes on more4 and gain insight into 'modern' Russia.
It's frightening viewing and proof that in Russia babarism has won the battle with socialism. Hopefully, the war isn't over

Facts about Russia:

- In the first six months of 2005, the Russian population fell by half a million;

- By the middle of this century Russia could lose up to half of its people, according to Russian government stats;

- Life expectancy for men is 56 years, the same as Bangladesh;

- Ten years ago, the life expectancy for men in Russia was 63;

- The World Health Organisation says that at a conservative estimate more than a million people will have died because of AIDS in Russia by 2020;

- Every other newborn baby is diagnosed with a disease at birth;

- There are more abortions every year in Russia than babies are born;

- Thanks to ill-health, 10 million Russians are infertile;

- A quarter of the population lives below the poverty line;

- Paradoxically, Moscow has more billionaires than any other city in the world;

- Although Russia's population is in freefall, they're still throwing people out. Thirty thousand Meshket Turks have recently had to seek asylum in America, having been forced from their homes in the south of the country by discriminatory laws and racist attacks.
The above info is out of date I think
There has been a major improvements in Russia since 2005 AFAIK
on the demographic and economic front.
although they still have a long way to go and many more improvements
to make.
I never heard that story about the Meshket Turks before do you have a link for that?
The big unknown is how many people in Russia have HIV/AIDS now as result
of all that cheap heroin pouring out of Afghanistan.
Its ironic that far far far more people are being killed by cheap Afghan heroin than where ever killed as a result of the AL quaeda training camps in Afghanistan..
not just in russia but across the world.
Bear in mind the Talbian pre 2001 eradactied Afghan heroin growing.

As regarding the OP .
It would be in Russia best interests to become best friends with EU and NATO rather than try and set it self up as a standalone mini-superpower
Russia seems to making friends and doing deals with everyone
Venezuela yesterday, Vietnam today, Ireland tomorrow???
Russia to build Vietnam's first nuclear plant - Yahoo! News
As far the Caucasus go not sure what the endgame there is going to be
the terrorism is never ending.
I think we could yet see some boundary changes here yet.
I suprised that the Chechnyans seem to have largely given up the fight.
I recently came across this image.
The place makes the balkans look like Iceland.
 

WTTR

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The above info is out of date I think
There has been a major improvements in Russia since 2005 AFAIK
on the demographic and economic front.
although they still have a long way to go and many more improvements
to make.
I never heard that story about the Meshket Turks before do you have a link for that?
The big unknown is how many people in Russia have HIV/AIDS now as result
of all that cheap heroin pouring out of Afghanistan.
Its ironic that far far far more people are being killed by cheap Afghan heroin than where ever killed as a result of the AL quaeda training camps in Afghanistan..
not just in russia but across the world.
Bear in mind the Talbian pre 2001 eradactied Afghan heroin growing.

As regarding the OP .
It would be in Russia best interests to become best friends with EU and NATO rather than try and set it self up as a standalone mini-superpower
Russia seems to making friends and doing deals with everyone
Venezuela yesterday, Vietnam today, Ireland tomorrow???
Russia to build Vietnam's first nuclear plant - Yahoo! News
As far the Caucasus go not sure what the endgame there is going to be
the terrorism is never ending.
I think we could yet see some boundary changes here yet.
I suprised that the Chechnyans seem to have largely given up the fight.
I recently came across this image.
The place makes the balkans look like Iceland.
Yea! It's a good while ago since I downloaded the above on Russia; I was trying to warn the Irish Establishment on the precarious EU and World ageing demographics that would be a great threat for youthful Ireland; if we were not aware of the dangers in getting caught in its dangerous eddy. There did not appear to be anybody else in Ireland worried about this aspect for the past 15 years. I failed to wake up the establishment; as now Ireland is in huge debt to the ageing EU countries. :(

I have a few links beside my saved piece on the Meshket Turks, but they now do not work. However Goggle threw up lots of links e.g. Meskhetian Turks - History Forum ~ All Empires - Page 1 This site covers the stats. I printed on Russia half way down the first page! It is a very small world and everything is interactive!

It seem a good discussion site, so happy reading! Oops, it is locked!
 
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Thac0man

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Well Medvedevs expanding policy shift has reached further east. He has visited the disputed Kuril islands despite a diplomatic protest from Japan. And since Japan protested he has stated that he intends to revist the islands:

euronews - Medvedev plans to revisit disputed islands

Sticking two fingers up at Japan does not seem like an actual policy. But given that China is also in dispute with Japan over islands to Japans east, it seems the jesture and pressure may be aimed at appeasing Beijing. Japan is in financial stagnation and being overtaken rapidly by China. So Medvedev, for the cost of a couple of plane tickets scores some brownie points with China. Cheap and effective, but not nice if you are Japanese.

Russia has also signed a nuclear deal with Vietnam, a traditional ally from the communist days and rival to China. It a complex setup but Medvedevs visit to the Kurils comes close to the sealing of the Vietnam nuclear deal. Vietnam also though (coincidence?) has a deal with Japan to build two nuclear power stations:

Russia Eyes Asian Nuclear Projects After Vietnam Deal
 

Éireann go Brách

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It looks like the Russia Bear has turned on us

Also, Russia's two sovereign wealth funds will stop buying Spanish or Irish assets, according to documents posted on the Finance Ministry's website Wednesday.

According to ministry data, Russia's National Welfare Fund had assets of $89.54 billion at the start of October, while the Reserve Fund had assets of $41.39 billion, a combined sum equivalent to more than a quarter of Russia's official reserves.
thanks Ivan

Bond Markets Turn On Smaller Non-Core Euro-Zone Sovereigns - WSJ.com

Looks like the Fianna Failure trade mission two months ago by the pres and Billy Kelleher was a failure.
 

Squire Allworthy

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It looks like the Russia Bear has turned on us



thanks Ivan

Bond Markets Turn On Smaller Non-Core Euro-Zone Sovereigns - WSJ.com

Looks like the Fianna Failure trade mission two months ago by the pres and Billy Kelleher was a failure.

That is to be expected, would you invest in Ireland at this point in time?

Russia has little alternative, it has to secure cooperation in Europe. The real threat to it is China. It also needs to maintain a relevance in Europe, Its decline in central Europe and the Balkans has been staggering. It is only now coming to terms with the new realities.

Putin was necessary and arrested further decline.

The cooperation suits the interests of both Europe and Russia. As the wealth of Russia increases and spreads its population will increase. The Russian brides will want to stay at home.

The Caucasus are a patchwork quilt, Turkey is key to containing Iranian influence, but presents other problems especially with the Kurds.



Very interesting thread, enjoyed reading it. Thanks!
 

beamish2010

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Putin is the real ruler of Russia.

Forget Medvedev...He is only a puppet and a figurehead...It's Putin who is really running the show in Russia...It's rather like Clowen and Olli Rehn here in Ireland...The former is the figurehead and the latter is the real ruler.
 
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Seems like Far East Russia is losing lots of their North Korean construction workers who have been recalled home.............somehow I see Korea getting hotter rather than cooler in coming weeks.
 

Thac0man

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It seems as good a time as any to cap off this thread, now Putin is back in power and has Medvedev's short, but noteworthy legacy to play with.

In the week leading to Putins election Chechnya was back on the radar with a planned attack against Putin in the offing. In revealing the full details of the plot Russian authorities linked groups in the GCC and Turkey.

In the same region Russia has been dragged into supporting Assad and fighting an increasingly isolated corner Iran occupies. This ontop of stoking Egyptian and Libyan anger.

Even with Medvedevs efforts to reform Russian foreign policy (as listed in this thread), Russia under Medvedev still managed to get itself dangerously tangled in one of the few regions Medvedev did not manage to smooth over. Given the situation the Kremlin is in, how much worse would things be if Putin had sat in the Kremlim for Medvedevs term?

If Putin really screws up we could find out, but since his last tilt Europe has nailed down the supply issue which Putin was using as leverage (well done Frau Merkel). Ukraine with its pro-Russian government could create another problem through its previously pro-Russian leader Yuskenko, who perhaps shows more signs of behaving like the Belarus strongman Lukashenko these days. ie, between Europe and Russia, but the puppet of neither. Since Putins last term at the top alot more may have changed than either we or Putin realises.

Medvedev laided down the gaunlet to his own party over election fraud, and he was ignored. Putins sop to his ally was the observing of his own apparently sure election, but even Putin admits that that was widely flawed.

One wonders if Medvedev, even if he has improved things, but not completely turned Russia around, will still make a lasting mark on Russia through through Putin. Medvedev's appointment to the PM position in the swap deal was not opposed within the party; but Putin honoured his part of any deal and supported Medvedev. For the sake of his own image and party stability, this was the right thing to do. But does it signal parhaps a realisation that Medvedevs achievments are not to be abandoned? Or that there is more to do Medvedevs way?

That could make the next twelve (?) years of Putins rule interesting. What might the price be of an 'about turn' on Iran? It would take a while, but if Iran is to faulter, then its diplomatic defeat must yield concrete gains for the Kremlin - big and irreversable ones. When the US pulls out of Afghanistan, Putin also knows it is Russia along with Iran who will be left carrying the can. Or worse the Kremlin will find itself wedged between Pakistan (the Taliban) and Iran, while trying to prop up Afghanistan with the help of a paniky CIS.

Given his track record it is plain that Putin could not hope to steer any part of that game to a succesful conclusion, wihtout being dragged into war. As long as Medvedev is retained as Primeminister, Russia has hope. Without him (or someone like him), Russias Eastern nightmare may very well come true.

For the future I would predict Medvedev and his office will be European facing in the main, keeping relationships calm. Putin will have his hands full with a very busy near (and far) east. The first indication of things moving in another direction is the offer by Putin (one of his first moves or Medvedevs last?) to reopen diplomatic relations with Georgia. Interesting days ahead.
 

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