Category: Russia
Biden vs. Vlad the Impaler
worker | June 15, 2021 | 7:42 pm | Joe Biden, Russia, Struggle for Peace, Vladimir Putin | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202106141083147091-biden-vs-vlad-the-impaler/

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Both sides acknowledge that relations between the United States and Russia are at an abject low point. And both sides have said they want to make relations better. But who is actually making a positive effort to reduce tensions and give peace a chance?

It should be obvious that the Russian side is the only party that is acting responsibly and with a generous spirit of trying to improve bilateral relations.

President Vladimir Putin says he hopes to open personal communications with American counterpart Joe Biden when they meet for their summit in Geneva on Wednesday. The Russian leader has played down expectations of a breakthrough, but nevertheless, his stated aspiration is for a productive detente.

There is little to no reciprocation of benign spirit from the American side. Biden and his aides may say the US does not want a conflict with Russia. But apart from that rhetorical concession, the Americans are pushing aggression and making the Geneva meeting sound like a showdown.

The unwillingness of the US president to hold a joint press conference with Putin following their private discussions is a telling sign of the obnoxious American attitude.

There are two reasons why Biden doesn’t want to appear side by side with Putin in front of the world.

The first is he would not be able to handle Putin’s intelligent arguments and criticism of American policy. Joe Biden’s mental faculties are in serious doubt following well-publicized gaffes and missteps of forgetting names and incoherent speech. Not meaning to sound cruel, but Putin would demolish Biden in a public discussion.

Biden and the entire American political establishment constantly accuse Putin and Russia of malign conduct, everything from being a “killer” to interfering in elections, cyberattacks and threatening the national security of the US and its allies.

The depiction is a fantasy based on Russophobia and bigoted prejudice. As Putin pointed out in a recent US media interview: there is no evidence ever presented to back up these wild pejorative claims. It is all unsubstantiated, rabid nonsense.

If Putin was on the same public platform as Biden, we can be sure that the veil of lies would be torn from the American facade of acting tough and sanctimonious. Biden would be left quivering and mumbling like an impotent idiot. Indeed, any American politician would be since they are all brainwashed idiots bloated from their own propaganda.

Thus, the world would see in a wonderful moment just how ridiculously naked the American emperor is and all his NATO minions are.

The second reason for why Biden could not abide standing alongside Putin is that that image confounds the American propaganda of demonizing “Vlad the Impaler”. Any appearance of a smiling Putin in a normal friendly setting with Biden would undermine the narrative of Putin-the-bogeyman.

That’s why the meeting has to be held in private and afterward the Americans can spin some account of the talks to make themselves sound morally superior by claiming to have brought up concerns about  “human rights” and “malign behavior”. We can be sure if Biden dares to act self-righteous, Putin will deftly slam the absurd hypocrisy.

But it’s also vital for the American side to portray the encounter as a showdown between a good guy and a bad guy. The charade only works if kept in private.

At least in the past, Ronald Reagan was photographed having convivial fireside talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when they met in Geneva in 1985 and produced a landmark arms control treaty. To his credit, too, Donald Trump held a joint press conference with Putin when the pair met in Helsinki in 2018 and there was no acrimony.

 

But Biden, like most American politicians and media, is full of stupid antipathy towards Putin and the Kremlin. He warned menacingly last week he’s going to tell Putin “what he knows”. Biden says the Russian leader “needs to change his behavior” if there is to be any improvement in relations. 

It’s going to be very difficult to engage in productive dialogue when the American mindset is so indoctrinated with false propaganda.

Some observers may wonder is there any point in Putin meeting Biden under those circumstances? After all, it was Biden who invited Putin to meet him.

The willingness of the Russian side to engage – in spite of the American animosity – is a clear sign of political maturity and generosity to try to create a more peaceful world. The onus is on the Americans to change their behavior and stop malign conduct. That’s the real challenge.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Russia has no superpower ambitions & zero interest in being world’s ‘messiah’ or imposing its way of life abroad, Lavrov insists
worker | June 9, 2021 | 8:05 pm | Russia, Sergey Lavrov | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/526071-lavrov-superpower-ambitions-messiah/

Russia has no superpower ambitions & zero interest in being world’s ‘messiah’ or imposing its way of life abroad, Lavrov insists

Russia has no superpower ambitions & zero interest in being world's ‘messiah’ or imposing its way of life abroad, Lavrov insists
While Russia makes no secret of its colossal armed forces and influence across the globe, it is fundamentally uninterested in imposing its way of life on other nations and is keen to end the current stand-off with the West.

That’s according to the country’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, who told an international relations conference on Wednesday that Moscow “has no superpower ambitions, regardless of how much people try to convince themselves and everyone else otherwise.”

“We don’t have the messianic fervor with which our Western colleagues are trying to spread their ‘values-based democratic agenda’ throughout the planet,” he added. “It has long been clear to us that the imposition of a certain development model from the outside does nothing good.”

ALSO ON RT.COMRussia isn’t a ‘superpower’ because it doesn’t project ‘military power across the globe’ says former US president ObamaRussia, Lavrov argued, “does not have an inferiority complex” and is therefore not spoiling for a fight. He claimed Moscow’s foreign policy is based around its willingness “to help those who need it,” and said the country is interested in developing “pragmatic relations with the West and the US.”

However, he lamented, representatives of those nations are “not ready for honest dialogue,” which he said was undermining prospects for world diplomacy. “No sanctions or ultimatums can help talks with Russia,” the minister concluded.

In November last year, former US president Barack Obama made headlines for coming to the same conclusion. Writing in his autobiography, ‘A Promised Land,’ he claimed that, while Russia has “a nuclear arsenal second only to our own,” the country “wasn’t a superpower anymore,” as it “lacked the vast network of alliances and bases that allowed the United States to project its military power across the globe.”

ALSO ON RT.COMMoscow slams West’s ‘foreign interference’ as US & EU issue statements condemning jail sentence for opposition figure NavalnyAleksey Pushkov, former head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Russia’s parliament, hit out at the comments, arguing the suggestion that the country was any less powerful than the one Obama used to lead was proven to be false “by the development of events in Syria and Venezuela, where the United States did not achieve its goals.” He went on to add that “Obama wanted but failed to tear the Russian economy to shreds.”

While the Kremlin is frequently accused of shadowy interference in elections and political events in the West, Mosco’s diplomats have long professed a foreign policy doctrine defined by non-intervention. Reacting to condemnations from a number of governments over the sentencing of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny in February, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blasted those issuing reproaches, saying, “Don’t meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. And we recommend that everyone deals with their own problems.”

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German Ambassador Says US Sanctions Against Nord Stream 2 Contradict International Law
worker | June 7, 2021 | 8:14 pm | Germany, Imperialism, Russia | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/world/202106051083078721-german-ambassador-says-us-sanctions-against-nord-stream-2-contradict-international-law/

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The first leg of the pipeline was completed on Friday, Russian President Putin said, as the project was able to overcome pressure from Washington.

German Ambassador to Russia Geza Andreas von Geyr on Saturday stated that Berlin won’t change its stance on Nord Stream 2, also stressing that sanctions against the pipeline, introduced by Washington, contradict international law.

“At the moment, important negotiations between the American and German governments are ongoing, which include the topic of Nord Stream 2, but our stance on the matter is clear, and it will not change: we are convinced that the energy security of Europe, as well as European energy policy should be determined by Europeans only, and not by foreigners”, the ambassador said on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

In this handout photo released by the press-service of Eugal, a view shows the Eugal pipeline, in Germany. The Eugal pipeline, which will receive gas from Nord Stream 2 in the future, has reached full pumping capacity, and the second line of the pipeline has been introduced. European gas pipeline link (EUGAL) is a 480km-long natural gas transport network being developed in order to strengthen the supply of natural gas to Germany and Europe.
© SPUTNIK / ПРЕСС-СЛУЖБА EUGAL
In this handout photo released by the press-service of Eugal, a view shows the Eugal pipeline, in Germany. The Eugal pipeline, which will receive gas from Nord Stream 2 in the future, has reached full pumping capacity, and the second line of the pipeline has been introduced. European gas pipeline link (EUGAL) is a 480km-long natural gas transport network being developed in order to strengthen the supply of natural gas to Germany and Europe.

When asked about US-backed sanctions targeting the pipeline, the diplomat noted that those restrictions were against international rules.

“As for the sanctions, our position is that such an instrument – extraterritorial sanctions – is not applicable, as it goes against international law”, he explained.

The United States has been opposed to the project from the very beginning, claiming the pipeline poses a danger to European security, and subsequently imposing sanctions against the companies involved in its construction, despite repeated protests from Russia, Germany, and other European countries.

The Russian pipe layer vessel Akademik Cherskiy is pictured in the waters of Kaliningrad, Russia. Pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky is able to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
© SPUTNIK / MIKHAIL GOLENKOV
The Russian pipe layer vessel “Akademik Cherskiy” is pictured in the waters of Kaliningrad, Russia. Pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky is able to complete the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

In May, Washington blacklisted 13 Russian vessels and three Russian firms involved in the implementation of Nord Stream 2 – after previous sanctions prompted Swiss pipelaying company Allseas to withdraw from the endeavour, causing a delay in pipelaying work.

The 745-mile-long Nord Stream 2 twin pipeline will carry up to 1.9 trillion cubic feet of gas per year from Russia directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, passing through Danish, Finish, and Swedish waters. At the moment, the project is nearing its final stage, with over 95 percent of it already having been completed.

‘New world order’ being formed before our eyes, Russia’s deputy defense minister tells RT ahead of key Moscow security conference
worker | June 3, 2021 | 8:43 pm | Analysis, Russia | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/525561-new-world-order-emerges/

‘New world order’ being formed before our eyes, Russia’s deputy defense minister tells RT ahead of key Moscow security conference

'New world order' being formed before our eyes, Russia’s deputy defense minister tells RT ahead of key Moscow security conference
We are currently witnessing the formation of nothing less than a “new world order,” with the existing international legal system fracturing and states taking sides in a fresh Cold War, Russia’s deputy defense minister has told RT.

Colonel General Aleksandr Fomin spoke to the network ahead of the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security, scheduled to take place on June 22-24 in the Russian capital. The event brings together military officials and security experts from different countries, with some 49 nations having already confirmed their participation.

The upcoming conference is an explicitly non-partisan event, and the countries are invited to partake regardless of their current relationship with Russia, Fomin stated.

“At the forum, we give the floor not only to partners who share our approaches to solving major world problems, but also to opponents, countries with which cooperation today is at bare minimum or equal to zero,” Fomin said.

Discussions like those at the Moscow forum are particularly important during challenging times, the official added, as the world’s political and security landscape is currently experiencing historic shifts, with the ‘old’ world order crumbling apart.

Today we are witnessing the formation of a new world order. We see a tendency for countries to be drawn into a new Cold War, the states being divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’, with ‘them’ unambiguously defined in doctrinal documents as adversaries.

“The existing system of international relations and the security framework is being systematically destroyed. The role of international organizations as instruments of collective decision-making in the field of security is being diminished,” Frolov said, without specifying examples.

Over the past few years, particularly under former US president Donald Trump, multiple international agreements ceased to exist. Effectively, only one major accord between Washington and Moscow – the New START treaty – remains, after President Joe Biden agreed to extend it for another five years.

ALSO ON RT.COMNo going back to ‘Open Skies’ spy plane agreement, US tells Russia ahead of eagerly awaited first Biden-Putin presidential summitThe emergence of new weapons systems, as well as the efforts of some nations to bring warfare into areas that have never seen it before, further accelerates the emergence of a “new world order,” Frolov noted.

“Fundamentally new types of weapons that radically change the balance of power in the modern world are emerging, with warfare getting into new areas – into space and cyberspace. This, of course, leads to a change in the principles and methods of war,” he added.

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Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko
worker | May 27, 2021 | 7:59 pm | Belarus, Russia | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/524877-western-enemies-belarus-testing-ground/

Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko

Western enemies of Belarus are using country as ‘testing ground’ before an attack on Russia, says embattled President Lukashenko
Countries unfriendly to Belarus have moved on from organizing riots and are now onto the stage of “strangulation,” a tactic they will later use in Russia. That’s according to the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko.

Speaking to politicians, Lukashenko explained his view that protests have been deemed to have failed in Belarus, so foreign backers of the opposition are changing tack.

“That’s why they’ve gone from organizing riots to the strangulation stage,” he said. “They are searching for new vulnerabilities, and it is not only aimed at us: we are a testing ground, a place for to experiment before they rush to East [Russia].”

ALSO ON RT.COMUS & NATO allies harming potential Donbass peace by giving more money, weapons and support to Ukrainian army, says Russian FMIll-wishers from both outside and inside the country have changed their methods of attack on the state, Lukashenko said, explaining that they have “crossed many red lines” and “crossed the line of common sense and human morality.”

Last August, Belarus burst into waves of demonstrations and mass unrest following the Presidential Election. According to official results, Lukashenko earned 80% of the vote and won a sixth term in power. However, the country’s opposition believes the election to be falsified, with some saying opposition figurehead Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was the true victor. In the months following the vote, her supporters took to the streets across the country to protest.

According to the president, Belarusian authorities took tough measures during the demonstrations, and as a result they were able to “nip the wave of neo-Nazism in the bud.”

“Our actions may have seemed excessive to those who justify their atrocities. But this strategy is vital for the country,” he said.

In recent days, new measures have been taken against Minsk, following Sunday’s emergency grounding of a Ryanair plane from Greece, due to a supposed bomb threat. Once it landed at Minsk airport, police came onto the aircraft and arrested activist Roman Protasevich, a passenger on the flight. Later, when no bomb was found, the plane left Belarus to its final destination of Lithuania.

In response to what many called “piracy,” many European countries have stopped accepting Belarusian planes into their airspace.

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Biden says Nord Stream 2 sanctions waived because pipeline nearly done & fighting it now would be ‘counterproductive’ with allies
worker | May 26, 2021 | 8:52 pm | Germany, Joe Biden, Russia | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/524809-biden-nord-stream-waivers-allies/

Biden says Nord Stream 2 sanctions waived because pipeline nearly done & fighting it now would be ‘counterproductive’ with allies

Biden says Nord Stream 2 sanctions waived because pipeline nearly done & fighting it now would be ‘counterproductive’ with allies
US President Joe Biden has claimed that he took office too late to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Russia and Germany, saying it would be “counterproductive” to sanction his allies over the project as it nears completion.

“I had been opposed to Nord Stream 2 from the beginning, but it was almost completed by the time I took office,” Joe Biden told reporters in Washington, on Tuesday. “To go ahead and impose sanctions now, I think is counterproductive in terms of our European relations.”

The first statement echoed the explanation given to reporters by White House press secretary Jen Psaki last week, while the second was the exact reasoning described by the State Department for waiving sanctions against the company building the pipeline and its CEO.

Biden’s statement came on the same day that the White House and the Kremlin confirmed that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a bilateral summit on June 16 in Geneva. A White House statement said the Biden administration will seek to “restore predictability and stability to the US-Russia relationship.”

ALSO ON RT.COMMuch anticipated first presidential summit between Putin & Biden will take place in neutral Swiss city of Geneva, on June 16The Nord Stream 2 project was just one of several fronts on which the two nations have been clashing. The main US objection to the undersea pipeline is that it will further lessen Kiev’s leverage over Moscow by providing another gas conduit to Germany that doesn’t run through Ukraine. With only about 100 kilometers of pipeline left to lay as of earlier this month, the project may be completed before Germany’s September 26 election.

The Biden administration apparently will no longer try to be an impediment to that timeline, after waiving sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG and its chief executive, Matthias Warnig, last week. The US State Department said that although the company and Warnig were involved in sanctionable activity under US law, it was waiving penalties for national security reasons. However, the Treasury Department has sanctioned 13 Russian ships and three entities – including a maritime rescue service – for their part in building the pipeline.

ALSO ON RT.COMMore sanctions as US slaps penalties on 13 Russian ships & a RESCUE service over roles in preparing Nord Stream 2 gas pipelineThe US has sought to ensure that Ukraine’s profits from transit fees for Russian gas are maintained, while pressuring Europeans to buy the far more expensive US-produced liquefied natural gas. Russia already supplies around 40% of European Union gas imports, and it has reduced the share of those shipments that transit through Ukraine.

Biden hinted at working with European allies on protecting Western interests to the extent possible. “I hope we can work on how they handle it from this point on,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel applauded Washington’s decision to drop some Nord Stream 2 sanctions and said she’ll discuss the project with Biden at the G-7 summit next month in the UK.

ALSO ON RT.COMPsaki raises white flag, admits US had no way of stopping Nord Stream 2 that was ‘95% complete’ alreadyThink your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Nicer US Tone to Russia?
worker | May 25, 2021 | 7:17 pm | Russia | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202105211082958080-nicer-us-tone-to-russia/

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Russia is right to give a cautious welcome to the improved US attitude on display this week. But the watchword is “cautious” because there is a lot more that Washington needs to do in order to rebuild trust.

Bilateral relations have been severely damaged over several years going back to the Obama administration as well as under former President Trump. The Americans are the ones who have largely sabotaged relations, from making false and provocative allegations to wielding sanctions, ripping up arms-control treaties, and issuing personal insults against Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Just because America’s top diplomat Antony Blinken showed a modicum of decorum this week when he met Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov at a summit in Iceland does not mean a significant thaw in Washington’s Cold War attitude. Nor does the announcement that the Biden administration is waiving sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project between Russia and Europe.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gesture as they arrive for a meeting at the Harpa Concert Hall, on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial summit, in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 19, 2021
© REUTERS / POOL
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gesture as they arrive for a meeting at the Harpa Concert Hall, on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial summit, in Reykjavik, Iceland, May 19, 2021

We have become so accustomed to arrogant American lecturing that when it stops it almost seems like a breakthrough. It was good that Blinken refrained from the usual American sanctimony and hypocritical hectoring when he met Lavrov this week in Reykjavik for the Arctic Council summit. But such restraint is a basic courtesy.

It was the first high-level meeting between the Biden administration and the Kremlin. Lavrov gave a cautious welcome to what he discerned to be a willingness for future dialogue based on mutual respect between the world’s two nuclear superpowers. Well, time will tell if Blinken’s more businesslike attitude does indeed mark a genuine improvement on Washington’s relentless Russophobia.

As for the US decision to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, that is also nothing to praise. It’s about time that Washington desisted from its outrageous bullying and unlawful interference in energy trade between Russia and Europe. Dropping sanctions is not commendable conduct. It is a minimal sign of more reasonable behaviour

There is too a bigger picture to keep in mind when viewing the apparent American overture. That is, the Biden administration’s determination to confront China’s rise as an economic power eclipsing the United States.

In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, an American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
© AP PHOTO / ANDY WONG
In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, an American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The Biden White House has repeatedly called for allies to coordinate policy on challenging China. Unlike the boorish Trump, Biden knows that he needs to have European allies onboard if the US is to succeed in hampering China.

This is part of a wider American attempt to build international coalitions against China which Biden has embarked on with Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, and other Asia-Pacific nations.

To that end, the US has been fervently mending ties with the European Union by abandoning trade disputes which Trump had instigated. The reason is openly stated as realigning transatlantic relations in order to confront China.

That’s what the move this week to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline seems to be really about. Biden knows he can’t stop the project because Germany – Europe’s economic powerhouse – is adamant about completing it. Rather than antagonizing Germany and other EU members, Washington knows the sanctions are futile and that the priority is to keep European allies aligned on its policy of confronting China.

A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020.
© AFP 2021 / ODD ANDERSEN
A road sign directs traffic towards the Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, north eastern Germany, on September 7, 2020.

So why be nice to Russia? This may be a ploy by Washington to split Russia from its strategic partnership with China.

The American foreign policy establishment has been advocating the Biden administration to “wean” Russia away from China in order to make Beijing more vulnerable to US objectives. Articles published by the Atlantic Council (see Toward a new American China Strategy) and the Council on Foreign Relations (see Biden’s Foreign Policy Needs a Course Correction) have called for a reversal of the Nixon-era policy in the 1970s when Washington courted China to undermine the Soviet Union.

Such a ploy seems implausible as a workable tactic given how the Russian and Chinese leaderships have consolidated close relations over the past decade with regard to Eurasian economic development, expanding bilateral trade, and a shared vision of a multipolar world. Presidents Putin and Xi have personal and cordial relations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping
© SPUTNIK / ALEXEY NIKOLSKIJ
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping

Nevertheless, any such warming of relations by Washington towards Moscow must be viewed with scepticism until the American side demonstrates that it is indeed willing to cooperate for genuine beneficial reasons. The Americans have willfully damaged trust and it will take time for that trust to be repaired, if ever.

The suspicion and caution remain that Washington’s belated overtures to Russia are more a gambit for ulterior reasons (China) rather than a genuine effort to normaliыe relations with Moscow.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.