WHAT THE USA GOT FROM RUSSIA?
- 1) They got what's most important for the USA: Russia agreed to "freeze" the construction of the Busher AES and to support international sanctions against Iran. The arms delivery to Iran on the "Arctic Sea" failed, and Russia hastily stepped back. Iran, in its turn, angrily remarked that Russia got under "Sionist influence" and refused to bring nuclear waste out to Russia, at the last moment; besides, Iran threatened to sue Russia in case it didn't deliver rocket systems C-300: i.e. Russia lost a profitable partner (as in case with Iraq, when "LUKOIL" had to leave the oil field "West Kurna-2") and had to follow the USA's order.
- 2) Russia continued to invest currency in the USA's economy.
- 3) Americans refused to sell "OPEL's" stocks package to "Sberbank": spare parts for OPEL are produced by "General Motors" which overcame recession, practically, simply switched to modern technologies.
- 4) Solution of the problem with gas prices for the Ukraine: end of "gas war".
- 5) Russia didn't sell gas to China; truly, China here outplayed both the USA, and Russia. After the gas prices went low and its sale from Russia to Europe was reduced, "Gasprom" couldn't agree with Turkmenistan about the price, and these negotiations between partners broke in April. China used this worsening relations between Russia and Ashkhabad and promptly put into action the gas line via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, leaving Russia aside: on December 14, the gas line was officially opened. Vladimir Putin made a hasty statement that this event wouldn't affect Russia's relations with China and wouldn't undermine the agreements concluded. Putin's visit to China in October seemingly even activated negotiations on a gas line construction, but introduction of this line — TUKC (Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China) satisfied China's needs in gas. Besides this gas from Central Asia, China also receives big volumes of liquefied natural gas: four terminals to accept such gas from Australia and Qatar were built in the provinces of Guandong and Futsian; their number will be increased to ten by 2013. So, Russian gas isn't needed.
Why did China prefer Turkmenistan? One might suppose that Russia hadn't given to China all they wanted. Supposedly, China insisted on some very profitable contracts to explore Siberia and Far East and failed. Supposedly, there was a discussion about supporting China's initiative on gradual transition from American currency to some "international one". There might have been many versions. So why did the Russian Federation (RF) follow the USA's line and didn't sell gas to a "hungry" developing monster of China?
So, of all wide-scale cooperation between RF and China there're only declarations left -, of cooperation and joint exploration of natural resources of Eastern Siberia, intention to give China for lease of a part of Vladivostok, and also, an oil line ESPO (Eastern Siberia — Pacific Ocean), with its branch to China from Skovorodino. But just ESPO will play an important role in strengthening integration of Russia with Euro-Asia. By this agreement, China gives credits to Russian companies "Transneft" and "Rosneft" of total amount of $25 billion dollars . The construction is to be finished by the end of 2010, and oil deliveries — to start in 2011. The fact of Igor Sechin's supervising of this Chinese project proves that Vladimir Putin has a serious intention to sell natural resources to China; moreover, this development of diversification of energy lines seems to become the key source of profits for the future Putin's presidential administration. Most of European countries, traditionally main consumers of Russian fuel, are well-developed economies with slow level of growth. That's why consumption of fuel in the European market is not really high. Most of the countries of APR (Asian-Pacific region), on the contrary, are coming to a peak in their economies, and it's characterized by a great growth of energy/fuel consumption.
It should be noted that strengthening of China's powerful economy is connected with the ESPO-project, and this strengthening really worries the China's main competitor -the USA. Vladimir Putin understands it completely, and there's no doubt this ESPO-project will be used to buy some advantages for Russia from the USA. After a few years of "gas war" with the Ukraine, Russia learned a lot and made some conclusions; the line "North Stream" on the bottom of the Baltic Sea is supposed to end Russia's dependence of the Ukraine's changeable policy, accordingly, from the USA.
What lesson should be learned from this example? First, nothing prevented "Gasprom" from activating the construction of a gas line to China much earlier than China started actively investing TUKC. Second, most probably, the USA administration played their part to prevent Russia from starting construction of a gas line to China — by offering to Russia something more profitable instead.
WHAT DID RUSSIA GET INSTEAD OR WHY AMERICAN PATRIOTS CRY THAT OBAMA YIELDED TO RUSSIA
- RF got the USA's approval (and West European countries, accordingly) for construction of a gas line "North Stream" on the bottom of the Baltic Sea: Vyborg — Greifswald, and for "South Stream" (on the bottom of the Black Sea).
- Russia bargained the USA's refusal to place the ARD-system (anti-rocket defense) in Eastern Europe.
- Russia doesn't sign the SOA-agreement (strategic offensive armaments), but just follows its regulations, from their side.
- America didn't pay attention to radical ecological violations while constructing Olympic objects in Sochi.
- "Lukoil" and "Gaspromneft" got contracts to extract oil in Iraq.
- Russia buys from France a helicopter liner "Mistral" and gets credits from "Reno" to finance "AvtoVaz".
- Deripaska's secret visits to the USA succeeded: "RusAl" (aluminum giant corporation) makes the primary sale of stocks (IPO) in Hon Kong for 20 billion dollars.
- America and Europe stopped criticizing RF for human rights violations, especially in the Caucasus. Harry Kasparov buys himself a penthouse in New York and is gradually abandoning his participation in politics.
- Probably, Russia bargained some part of the Crimea.
Some positions should be cleared. Let's consider some other interesting events of the world market.
NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN STREAMS, NABUCCO
If the Bush administration was strongly against construction of the line on the bottom of the Baltic sea, Obama administration radically softened their tone concerning two Moscow projects: "North Stream" (on the Baltic bottom) and "South Stream" (on the Black Sea bottom). Just a year ago, Michael Wood, US Ambassador in Sweden, persuaded Stockholm to make a sharp criticism against "North Stream", accusing Russia and Germany in collusiveness -at the time when Europe badly needed a unified energy politics. Michael Wood called to European leaders to develop their energy infrastructure, avoiding dealing with the Kremlin. Germany had to make an official protest to Washington against accusations in the article. Today, European leaders with any concern to "North Stream" practically have no objections. Finland switched the "green light" after Russia had withdrawn their threats to increase export tariffs for the wood (from Finland). Poland and Sweden just yielded. Germany insists on diversification of the policy of energy resources, especially in consideration of gas problems with the Ukraine: this is understandable because, by this line, gas goes straight to Germany. The USA, here, is mostly interested in gas transportation directly via the Ukraine, without stops and scandals, — because of the USA's strong influence at the East-European countries which are dependable on the gas-line "Druzhba (Friendship)", directly.
The situation about the "South Stream" is still uncertain, though Russia succeeded in negotiations with Slovenia. Bulgaria is still a big problem. However, the number of stockholders of "South Stream" is increasing: the French GDF Suez SA may join "Gasprom"; German BASF SE/Wintershall Holding AG, E. On Ruhrgas AG, as well as the Dutch company NV Nederlandse Gasunie, are also partners in the project. "Gasprom"'s Italian partner ENI SpA informed that, during the recent Putin's visit to France, the French company Electricite de France was going to join in signing the project "South Stream". Vladimir Putin gives all key European partners good shares. The French company Total is already dealing with Yamal-peninsula resources and with other big ore deposits of Russia.
A step back: it's easy to suppose that the visit of the real boss of Russian oil-gas industry -Vladimir Putin to Paris succeeded: Putin persuaded "Reno" to give a credit to support "AvtoVaz"- the biggest city of Togliatti's factory. "Reno", seeing the impossibility to reform "AvtoVaz", first decided to refuse doing investments for it. Taking into account the problematic Tatarstan, mass lockouts in Togliatti may bring a powerful wave of protests, with some nationalistic slogans. Putin can't afford such scenario, with future unpredictable consequences and possible region's destruction.
So, America doesn't care about these two "streams" of Russia to Europe. However, both Washington and Brussels are lobbying for "Nabucco": USA Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy- Richard Morningstar proved in his November interview to "Wall Street Journal" that the USA had the strong intention to follow the policy of diversification of energy lines and to stand for the project "Nabucco" as an alternative to "Gasprom" ones. We should just mention that, on experts' opinion, the war in South Osetia was to get control over that part of the gas-line "Nabucco" passing through the territory of South Osetia.
"LUKOIL" and "GASPROMNEFT" WON the RIGHT to EXPLORE OIL FIELDS in IRAQ.
There was an auction in Iraq on December 11-12 for the right to explore and extract oil in this country. (Terrorists wanted to prevent just that action, making a tremendous terrorist action just before that event). But terror acts is not an obstacle for Trans-National Monopolies (TNM). Biggest oil corporations took part in this auction. American oil giants decided not to participate; as some American blogs say: American companies were not satisfied with prices. Such countries as China, Russia — won the tender, mostly due to their political interests: first- to take it, then — to consider the situation. Though Iraq government is an independent institute of power, and all the oil, according to the Iraq Constitution, is the property of Iraq people, many analysts suppose some "shadow" intrigues from the American side. Honestly speaking, the contracts were signed for the period of 20 years and don't stipulate transfer of this property to some other owners.
"Lukoil" got the field "Western Kurna-2", one of the biggest world deposits of about 12.9 billion barrels (about 1.75 billion tons) -which is 45% of all "Lukoil"'s reserves. "Lukoil" will be working on it with the Norwegian company Statoil. The Russian company will get 63.75% of the project, the Norwegians — 11.25%, the rest of 25% will go to the Iraq state company. For this right to explore "Western Kurna-2", foreign investors will pay $150 million. The "Western Kurna-2" operator will be getting commissions after the oil extraction reaches 120,000 barrels a day. For every extra-barrel, the operator will be getting $1.15. During 7 years, the level of oil extraction at "Western Kurna-2" must reach 1.8 million barrels a day (90 million tons a year), which means that at the peak, the partners together may earn about $700 million a year. It's easy to count that $72 of $73 a barrel goes to Iraq government.
The 2nd Russian company "Gaspromneft" became the biggest concern's member on exploring the field "Badra" with the reserves of 2 billion barrels of oil (270 million tons), according to "Gaspromneft" evaluations. The Russian company will get 30% of the project; its partners are Korean "Kogas" (22.5%), Malaysian Petronas (15%) and Turkish TPAO (7.5%). Iraq government will have the block package, as well. Investors will pay $100 million for the right to explore. Besides their compensation of expenses, they will get commissions for the oil on the level over 15,000 barrels a day — $5,5 a barrel. If these companies fulfill the contracts' terms (already signed being discussed in details), Iraq will be able to extract 12 million barrels of oil a day (about 600 million tons a year) — more than Russia, and almost the same as the biggest world oil country — Saudi Arabia — can do.
As one can see, "attractive" shares were distributed among the USA's strategic partners. Koreans, as well as Malaysians invested in American state funds in October-November. Besides, the USA is very interested in their military presentation in the Far East and in South-Asian countries; that's why distribution of "attractive" shares among the territories around China is a strategic task for America. People's Republic of China (PRC) today is a danger to the USA's interests. Turkey is an important partner on main energy projects: possible bombardment of Iran, gas-line "Nabucco" -as some of them. Besides, it's important to have military bases and ensure a free access to the Black Sea for American military ships. By the way, absence of any such "presents" for Greece might witness to a fact that, in case of a big military conflict in this region in the nearest future, Turkey, not like Greece, will get full support from the USA and NATO.
So, what did other countries get from the USA (because the USA is still the main regulator of the situation with Iraq)? Malaysia, Korea and Turkey have already been mentioned. Now about Japan.
Japan is a strategic ally of the USA in the Far East; so, satisfying its ambitions is very important for America. On November 22, they signed the document in Japan with pretensions for Kurils. Russian deputy Kosachev promptly responded by stating that "this Tokio's policy has no perspectives". It should be noted that the USA, though it sounds paradoxical for Russians, is the main guarantor of the territorial sovereignty of the Russian federation in the Far East: because the USA has powerful military presence in the Far East and military bases in Japan and Korea. The USA will never allow China to annex Russia's rich eastern territories, because it'll strengthen China greatly. Maybe, Russia complained to its guarantor which gave Japan a setback, "presenting" them a good piece of an oil area: deposits "Gharaf" were given to Malaysian Petronas and Japanese Japex; these companies will have $1.49 from every barrel (approximate output is 230,000 barrels a day).
One should also pay attention to small scrap of media information: the two-parties agreement between Japan and Abu-Dhabi stipulates guaranteed priority deliveries of Emirates' oil to Japan, in case of global reduction of oil deliveries. (For reference, UAE exports to Japan 62% of all extracted oil: UAE is the second oil deliverer to Japan — 25% of all oil needs, — after Saudi Arabia). The above-said shows that Japan is preparing itself to a possible oil deficit or to higher prices — a collateral sign of a future war conflict in one of the oil exporting countries.
British "Shell" and Malaysian "Petronas" got a right to explore the giant oil deposit "Majnoon"; they overran the French "Total" and Chinese "CNPC" which is also a sign that Americans don't like China. British and Malaysian companies will get $1.39 a barrel. Though, French and Chinese companies also got something there: in partnership with Malaysian "Petronas", they will be exploring small deposits in "Halfaya"-in the south, close to the Iranian border. Its reserves are about 4.1 billion barrels. Indian and Turkish companies were among competitors.
NEITHER AMERICA, NOR EUROPE CRTICIZE RUSSIA FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, ESPECIALLY IN THE CAUCASUS. GARRY KASPAROV BUYS A PENTHOUSE IN NEW YORK AND GRADUALLY LEAVES ACTIVE POLITICS
Distribution of shares of Russia's national resources to big European corporations played its role: European Union Commissars don't criticize the Kremlin any longer on human rights violations in the North Caucasus: there's nothing mentioned about these violations, at all, despite unprecedented scandals in militia. Wall Street Journal now seldom publishes materials by the constant correspondent Garry Kasparov; practically, the USA stopped speaking critically about Russia; all that means that there might have been some agreement concluded between the RF and the USA, as well as between the RF and Europe. The parties came to an agreement and don't bother each other. All this shows that European politicians may keep silence if they are offered something "sweet". Garry Kimovich Kasparov buys a good Apartment in the center of New York and gradually abandons politics; he's not invited during visits of the USA administration to Moscow. The time has come for high-profited trans-national corporations.
RUSSIA MIGHT HAVE BARGAINED A PIECE OF THE CRIMEA FOR ITSELF
When all the foreign politics of the USA is based on curing one their main headache -regime of Akhmadinejad, America closes its eyes at many things. Lately, despite Joe Biden's visit to Kiev, there were rumors that the USA "gives up" with the Ukraine: it's not really true, because the Ukraine gets full military support from the USA. Recently, there was some information in the press about the Ukraine's possible export of armament to Iraq at the price of $2.5 billion. The USA realized that, in the light of recent success in South Ossetia, Russian leaders may go too far and "play" a short war in the Crimea. Though it might sound like a complete utopia, but Russia will not stand another "small war". However, considering the raw materials basis of the Russian economy, some shooting in the Crimea will hardly be an obstacle for energy deliveries; on the contrary, Russia would only win at the account of additional risk and oil-and-gas prices' increase. It's high time to remember the recent decision of Japan to start accumulating oil strategic reserves, with the help of oil companies of Abu-Dhabi. Any analyst understands that strategic reserves are made in order to save the country's economy from oil prices turbulence, when risks are higher -in connection with a possible war conflict that might happen in Iran or North Korea: under any option, the oil prices will jump up.
Besides, on the background of today's crisis and, accordingly, inevitable declining popularity of the Russian government, any external conflict seems to be almost the only way to increase the rating — by playing on patriotism and the necessity to group around the government, while facing an external threat.
As for a probable war conflict in the Crimea, such option is possible just in connection with the Turkey's involvement in a war. The most probable scenario is Russia's offer to Turkey — to support the Crimean-Tatar autonomy and to participate in division of the Crimea into several parts: Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish: for some reason, Russia privately supports Mejlis on this peninsula. Turkey may agree to block construction of "Nabucco" on its territory — in exchange to the Crimean-Tatar part of the Crimea: in such case advantage must be much higher than losses. What will Turkey get? In case of a war conflict escalation, Turkey may have claims to the Kurdish part of Iraq (which is rich in oil).
In any case, the "Nabucco" project (which is a pain for Russia) might be started not earlier than 2013, at the experts' opinion; so, it might be buried before that, without starting, or it might be changed. And Turkey will be sending gas, instead of Iraq.
What will the USA be doing in such situation? The USA will have to answer their partners' demands, Turkey, first of all, — to support claims of autonomies of "oppressed" Crimean-Tatar minority, with Islam religion. In view of a possible full-scale American intervention to Iran, the USA wouldn't dispute with Turks. Most probably, America would have to agree to "peacekeepers" stay on the Crimean peninsula, with its division into war participants' zones: Ukrainian, Russia, Turkish.
The recent visit to Tatarstan of Hillary Clinton was really prominent, in this sense: officially, State Secretary was learning the experience of peaceful co-existence of Christians and Muslims there; practically, Mrs. Clinton seemed to investigate a possible Tatarstan's reaction to probable conflicts in Iran and the Crimea: would Tatars help either side or give some material support. Tatarstan is an economically developed region, with a lot of Muslim population. In view of a possible war conflict in Iran or the Crimea, such USA's policy is trivial: to give Muslim countries some "part of a pie", promise support in everything etc. It's important that they would hold their Muslims under control and give no reason to accuse the USA in genocide of Muslims in a separate country.
EURO-ASIA OF PUTIN AGAINST THE USA'S INTERESTS
Putin is good for Europe ensuring its energy safety; by that, his main allies are the countries which dream about their own regional policy -to be independent from the USA: Germany, France, Italy, China, India. They are not East European countries, closely connected historically with Slavic people. Putin is clearly oriented to Euro-Asia, opposing the interests of the USA, Israel, Great Britain, Japan. Today's Russia, despite Medvedev's presidency, is characterized by Putin's strengthening ties with the so called "expulsed" countries: Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, North Korea; besides, all Russia's partners follow practically the same opinions: they don't support American theory of "Axis of Evil", but are ready, at the first opportunity, to cooperate with Iran (Germany, China). They don't care a bit about situation with human rights in those countries: dictatorship or Communist regime is not an obstacle for economic or military cooperation. While being in "shadow", Vladimir Putin strengthens economic ties between his allies and arranging his alliances. By Putin's coming back to power, he'll have European countries' leaders loyal with him, China depending of Russian oil. Here we should make a step back and disprove patriots' ideas about possible China's attacking Russia: Russia might be weak militarily, but one shouldn't forget that China occupation of Siberia is America's nightmare, and just the USA will not allow China's claims to Siberia, in the foreseeable future. That's why the USA is keeping a strong military group in the Far East and can start full-scale war actions.
In opposition to the USA, Korea and Japan, Russia has normal relations with North Korea, by constructing there Orthodox Christian churches, where Moscow's agents work as priests. North Korean "priests" have the same training in Moscow. Washington understands it all and makes necessary preparations. "Indecisive and weak" Obama might be needed to be replaced by a stronger and persistent president before the end of the term. Republicans are preparing for a rematch, practically tearing democratic administration, with the help of a few television and radio channels. Pentagon's contracts, for the nearest years, cost billions of dollars. So, America is preparing for possible future war conflicts against the "Axis of Evil". Russia is not in this Axis, yet. However, Putin's orientation to support countries -USA's competitors is troublesome. It's important, also, that the geopolitical strategy of the Putin's Russia is based on a complete neglect of human rights in Russia, as well as on unprecedented bureaucratic -militia power. It means that we could expect, in the nearest future, a new, slightly changed, version of "Arctic Sea" scenario.
Vladislav Pochepinski, Institute of National Democracy