IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO SELL AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER
Vedomosti, February 4, 2002, p. A3
Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov will pay a visit to India on Tuesday. As is known, the deputy prime minister heads Russia’s delegation to a Russian-Indian commission for trade-economic and military-technical cooperation, meetings of which will be held in India. Klebanov hopes that the contract on selling aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India will be initialed by April 1. As Klebanov was saying in October 2001, this grandiose contract was to be singed by the end of last year, but something went wrong. India undoubtedly remains one of Russia’s chief partners in military-technical cooperation. Lately, however, especially after the start of the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, the United States, the UK and Israel seem to be showing increasing interest in the market of armaments in India. Taking into account the privatization which is underway in India, in the near future large aerospace corporations of the West may obtain shares of India’s military-industrial complex, what may affect Russia’s military-technical cooperation with the country. In this connection the deal of selling the aircraft carrier would be opportuned, and Klebanov’s optimism with regards to the contract is quite explainable.
Vedomosti, February 4, 2002, p. A3
The problem of disconnection of military installations from power supply would be resolved on Monday or Tuesday, head of RAO UES Anatoly Chubais promised while in New York. Large-scale power supply cut-offs at military installations since the second half of January caused a squall of mutual accusations on the part of the military and RAO UES. As soon as the problem reached the defense minister and head of RAO UES, however, it turned out that the government was to blame for everything.
On leaving the hospital, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that the military exhausted the budget-financed limits for electric power as far back as last year, since the limits remained unindexed after subsidiaries of RAO UES raised their rates. According to Interfax, Chubais said that the sum allocated for military spending for the purpose of paying for power supply in January this year was two times lower than last year’s, and the fact that energy consumption increased gave rise to power cut-offs. According to Chubais, the problem will be solved “at the expense of redistributing money between months,” i.e. at the expense of the future military spending on electric power. However, Chubais did not say what should be done with future payments that will inevitably be accrued. Most probably, the spending will be corrected, since financing of power consumption at the expense of, say, spending on state defense order is an infringement on the Budget Code.
YOU ALL WILL BE DEAD FOR AVIDNESS
Gazeta, February 4, 2002, p. 9
OPEC Secretary General Ali Rodriguez has stated that the organization that controls about 40% of the world’s oil extraction plans to preserve today’s oil export quotas without changing them. This would be almost ideal, given that Russia “behaves itself”. If producers do not act in coordination, there will be another collapse, stated Rodriguez. If demand grows in the second half of the year, they will consider increasing the quotas. Then, Russia, Mexico, and Norway will be able to get rid of the restrictions. The OPEC Secretary General has to avoid harsh statements in respect to countries that did not join. However, other OPEC oil ministers are tougher, for they are not bound with political etiquette. Although Russia is little referred to, many of the harsh statements were addressed to it. However, Russia understood this very well and responded immediately. “We have no any liabilities or agreements, we just consult OPEC,” stated Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov at the World economic forum in New York. There is nothing fundamentally new in this statement. Analysts have long foreseen Russia’s possible unilateral withdrawal from the agreement with OPEC. However, this was the first time the Russian head of government would be speaking openly about this. OPEC countries now have food for thought. The idea of Russia’s turning down the obligation laid on it is obviously “taking the upper hand” and becoming the “driving force”.
THE AMERICAN FLAG WILL STAY
Izvestia, February 5, 2002, p. 4
The U.S. military’s presence in Central Asia will be enhanced. Russia can consider this region as lost. This is the view of one of the chiefs of the staff for coordination of military cooperation of CIS countries. Russian army officials are skeptical in their assessments of this cooperation. The main reason for their dissatisfaction was the deployment of U.S. bases in the region. The situation is worsened by the fact that some Central Asian countries owe large sums to the US, which urges them to seek cooperation and investment. Russia has nothing to use in countering the assistance the US offers. The role of the Collective forces of rapid deployment is declining. The governments of Central Asian countries have not determined the legal procedures of using their “blue helmets”. The procedure is quite complicated and confusing at the moment. There are few roads in Central Asia. Some regions are accessible only by air. However, Russia disposes of no more air fleet as it formerly did. Deploying forces could take weeks, while the only 201st division quartered in Tajikistan would have to restrain the situation pending the time this is done. The only military force able to render effective assistance in this situation is the US. Therefore, Washington does not conceal the fact that the US military specialists have established contacts with Central Asian governments.