Tag Archives: Russia

US Monroe doctrine threatens Cuba and Nicaragua

Washington’s political take on a number of Latin American countries is unacceptable, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the 27th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy (SWAP) on April 13. (Image: archive).

The Americans openly interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Everyone knows about Venezuela, the blitzkrieg change failed, but the Americans do not refuse the goal of overthrowing the legitimate president. This is directly evidenced by Michael Pompeo’s recent interview, in which he said that military intervention has not been excluded,Lavrov underlined.

The Americans even dragged out the notorious Monroe doctrine out of the woodwork, threatening that the next in line are Cuba and Nicaragua. They do not seem to understand that they are opposing themselves to the entire Latin American world and not only to the Latin American world. I think that such behavior is simply unacceptable,” Russia‘s top diplomat concluded.

Russia Black Sea drills

Russia‘s airborne early warning and control A-50 aircraft, S-400 missile systems, as well as the Bal and Bastion coastal defense missile systems are taking part in the Black Sea drills held amid NATO‘s Sea Shield 2019 drills, the Russian Defense Ministry’s informs statement published on its official website

To ensure the fulfillment of training and combat missions of aviation and the forces of the fleet of the Southern Military District, airborne early warning and control A-50 jets have been in the Black Sea area. They were on a mission over the Black Sea waters for more than 5 hours and targeted Su-27SM and Su-30 jets to supersonic and stratospheric targets more than 20 times,” the Defense Ministry pointed out.

According to the ministry’s data, the Black Sea drills feature more than 50 planes and helicopters, as well as the S-400 Triumf missile system the Bal and Bastion coastal defense missile systems battalions.

Russians dream to immigrate

Russian Federation is dangerously close to a large-scale demographic crisis, with its population declining for the first time in a decade in 2018, one in five Russians (20%) now say that they would like to leave Russia if they could, according to Gallup research.

Typically young people are more likely to migrate — as they are the most mobile group within a population — the 44% of the youngest Russians who want to move is unprecedented number in within the past decade.

Paradoxically  Moscovites, who have higher living standards that the rest of the country,  are in first ranks of those who are willing to leave. Since 2014, the percentage of working-age Russians who say they would like to move has at least tripled, jumping from 14% to 44% among 15- to 29-year-old, from 7% to 22% among those between the ages of 30 and 45 and from 3% to 9% among those aged 46 to 60.

Russians who wish to migrate prefer countries within the European Union (40%), followed by North America (16%). Russians are most likely to name Germany (15%) and the U.S. (12%) specifically.

Larger potential migration numbers could accelerate the population decline, and losses could potentially exceed the 8% of the population that the United Nations currently projects Russia to lose by 2050.

 

Sami ask for UN protection from Russian hunting club

Sami, an indigenous people living in the Murmansk region, in north of Russia, appealed to the United Nations (UN) with a complaint against the actions of the regional government. Representatives of the Sami community complained about the transfer of the pasture lands of the state farm in a long-term lease to the Belgorod Hunting Club (BEZRK).

The management of the Olenevod state farm, specialized in reindeer, and the Sami Heritage and Development Fund state in their appeal underlined that the auction for the right to use the land was held without the consent of the indigenous population living compactly in this territory. As a result, the right to the free use of lands necessary for traditional farming, guaranteed by the Federal Law, was violated.

Sami accused officials of violating a number of articles of the International Convention on Indigenous Peoples and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, writes Novaya Gazeta, specifying that the lands on the Ponoi River, where the reindeer migrate and where the wintering grounds for pregnant female moose are located, were transferred to the Belgorod hunting club “BEZRK” this winter.

Earlier Sami activists filed a similar complaint with the Russian presidential administration. They asked to keep the so-called “maternity hospital” for the Ponoi elks in the Lovozero in the Murmansk region, drawing the authorities’s attention to the fact that it would be destroyed by the transfer of land to the hunting club. However, local officials claim that there are no permits for the use of land by reindeer herders, no contracts have been concluded with them, and no official permits have been issued for reindeer herders on the disputed land plots. Having received zero aid from the administration of Vladimir Putin, the Sami decided to apply to the UN.

At present there is a hunting boom among Russian nouveaux riches who dramatically lack political, social and cultural sophistication, confusing killing of wild animals for noble occupation, contributing to upgrading their status. There are numerous avid hunters among members of Russian Duma, an also among Federation Council, reflecting interests of hunting lobby, led by senator – avid hunter Andrei Klishas. The situation explains the decision of the Sami community to address the United Nations because only very few would believe they could win against all-powerful hunting lobby, pursuing the interest  to kill the best of wildlife.

Saami or Sami, Laplanders, Kild are a small Finno-Ugric people,  living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The habitat of the Sami settlement stretches from the eastern tip of the Kola Peninsula through the north of Finland and Norway to the central part of the Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Sami, 1770 people  in 2010, have a clear national identity, their own flag and anthem, and their rights are represented by elected bodies of cultural self-government – the Sami parliaments.

The main occupations of the Sami have been reindeer herding, fishing, sea and land hunting.

Russian hunting club invasion into their territory is the second blow to Sami people after they suffered a defeat from Norway government in the end of March, deciding to move on with copper mine construction in their traditional habitat. The resolve came after years of Sami struggle in different fora.

MAMIKINS MEP on Russian sanctions “stalemate”

MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS (Socialist, Latvia) reflects on the “stalemate” of anti-Russian sanctions, and strategy chosen by the European Parliament to continue their further imposition. MEP considers a new resolution, proposing  to strip Russia from the status of a ‘strategic partner‘, and imposing additional sanctions as a part of the upcoming European election campaign, pleasing a part of electorate, and flaunting the might and significance of the European Union.

However even the rapporteurs here, in the European Parliament don’t believe that Russians will react on the reports, Russian simply doesn’t read them”, MAMIKINS said. “None of Russian civil servants with self-respect will read them, and nobody believes they will have any effect. The real sanctions, or the construction of the second pipeline of the Nord Stream II  to be abandoned, orthe sectoral sanctions to be strengthened, – all this will not happen, because the European Parliament is a big lightening rod, it is blowing off steam, but the real power is with the European Council, and the decisions are taken there by the heads of states and governments. We know that recently Mekel agreed with Macron on the Nord Stream II, and that is all – as soon as there is an agreement in the Council, that will be implemented”, MEP underlined.

Regular Europeans don’t read what is issued by the European Parliament, MEP continued, regretting that politicians don’t hear opinions, and wishes of millions of the EU citizens, affected by sanction war initiated by the EU, defining it as a “philosophic” question to the European political class. He also mentioned fading interest of the Europeans in the Europarliament, referring to the declinign turnout in the 2014 elections: in eastern Latvia 22%, in Slovakia 13%, indicating the attitude to the EU project in member-states. “This shows to what extend the regular people believe in what we are doing here” MAMIKINS lamented.

The failure of the political class is compensated by the citizens, who in “parallel develop their own ‘people’s diplomacy'” MEP  explained, mentioning enlarging, and broadening the exchanges of students, scientific and business cooperation, but also growing interest to invest in Russia, illustrating with example of Austria, formally supporting sanctions, but multiplying its investments the same time.

Concluding MAMIKINS reiterated his assessment of the EU sanctions policy as the “stalemate,” a result of a self-imposed ‘mantra‘ repeated last five years dabbing Russia as “foe” and Putin as an “aggressor, which caused their current awkward posture, they have no clue how to correct.

Is is very similar to NATO, spending 16 times more than Russia, but repeating relentlessly that “Russia is our foe”, and “danger is looming from the East“, – MEP pointed out. Subsequently or they “steal this money“, which is beneficial to some circles, or they “lie” that Russia is a foe, able to attack any moment, he added.

However even before the Ukrainian crisis, and Crimea, Russia has been an effective ‘scarecrow‘ for quite some time.  When President Putin, during his trip to Siberia suggested to join the North Atlantic Alliance, the reaction was absolutely negative MAMIKINS reminded.

Nevertheless counter-terrorism, space programmes, exploring Arctic,  energy dialogue, including nuclear energy, and nuclear waste, – cooperation in all these fields between the EU and Russia will continue in spite any sanctions, so will the gas and oil export, MEP ensures. “This is real politics, not the loudmouths here in the European Parliament – the civil servants in the European Commission understand that European can’t without Russia’, – he said.

MEP believes that in the upcoming election forces, promoting normalisation of relations with Russia will be represented by ultra-right and ultra-left parties, as Matteo Salvini, and European Left with portrait of Che Guevarabut not the systemic political congregations unable to get out of the actual impasse.

VIDEO: in Russian language from the European Parliament, Strasbourg 12 March 2019.

MEP Andrejs MAMIKINS (43) “Saskaņa” (Harmony) party, Latvia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEPs against Russia ‘strategic partner’ status

At Strasbourg Plenary (13.03.2019) Members of the European Parliament agreed that the EU should remain open to imposing further sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law.

Parliament adopted a resolution by 402 votes to 163, with 89 abstentions, assessing the current state of EU-Russia political relations.

The time for nice and diplomatic language is over. There is very little room for any cooperation as long as Russia continues to occupy parts of Ukraine and attacks other European countries“, said rapporteur Sandra Kalniete (EPP, Latvia).

Sanctions must be prolonged MEPs also draw attention to new areas of tension between the EU and Russia which have occurred since 2015, including Russia’s intervention in Syria, interference in countries such as Libya and the Central African Republic, and continuous aggressive action in Ukraine. They also highlight Russia’s support for eurosceptic parties and far-right movements, and accused Russians in meddling in elections and systematically violating human rights.

MEPs underlined that the EU should consider adoption of further sanctions against Russia, especially those targeting individuals. Sanctions should be proportionate to the threats posed by Russia, they add. In December last year, the Council prolonged economic sanctions until 31 July 2019.

The Europarliament resolution underlines that the EU should review its current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia and limit cooperation to areas of common interest. Global challenges, such as climate change, energy security, cyber, artificial intelligence and counter terrorism, calling for selective engagement.

Closer relations will only be possible MEPs suggest on condition of Russia full implementation of the Minsk agreements to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and respect to international law, says the text.

MEPs condemn Russia‘s disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks, aimed at increasing tensions within the EU and its member states. They are deeply concerned that the EU‘s response to propaganda and disinformation is insufficient and should be further strengthened, in particular before the upcoming European elections in May 2019. In this regard, the funding and human resources for the EU‘s East Stratcom Task Force must be substantially increased, they stress.

In resolution MEPs strongly denounce Russia‘s violation of the airspace of EU states, especially in the Baltic Sea region, where territorial waters and the airspace have been repeatedly breached. This disregard for international rules poses a threat to Russia‘s neighbours in the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and Medditeranean regions.

MEPs also reiterate their concerns that the Nord Stream-2 project could reinforce the EU‘s dependence on Russian gas supplies and threaten the EU internal market.

In the resolution the concern is expressed about Russia‘s continuous support for authoritarian regimes and countries such as North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Syria. They also regret that in order to destabilise EU candidate countries, Russia gives its support to organisations and political forces like those opposing the Prespa Agreement that has resolved the long-standing dispute on the name between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Greece.

MEPs condemn illegal financial activities and money laundering by Russia, potentially amounting to hundreds of billions of euros being laundered through the EU every year, which poses a threat to European security and stability. Sandra Kalniete’s report underlines that EU countries concerned must end all ‘golden visa/passport‘ programmes, which benefit Russian oligarchs.

 

 

MEPs support Magnitsky Act

Members of European Parliament (MEPs) backed a resolution calling for European Union for a new wave of human rights sanctions to punish state and non-state actors responsible for gross violations of human rights.

 

In a resolution adopted on March 14, the Europarliament demands a new sanctions regime to be established at EU level to impose asset freezes and visa bans on individuals involved in grave human rights violations. The list should include state and non-state actors who have contributed, physically, financially or through acts of systemic corruption, to such abuse and crimes, worldwide.

MEPs state that the decision to list and remove from the list individuals concerned should be based on clear, transparent and specific criteria, directly linked with the crime committed, in order to guarantee a thorough judicial review and redress rights. They also urge EU members to come up with a mechanism to enforce sanctions and have a European oversight, since over the past months, there have also been cases in which European companies and countries have violated EU sanctions.

The new sanctions regime would strengthen the EU’s role as a global human rights actor and should symbolically carry the name of Sergei Magnitsky, MEPs say. Mr Magnitsky was a Russian tax expert investigating corruption who perished in Moscow prison in 2009, having endured inhumane conditions and torture. Similar legislative frameworks are already in place in the United States, Canada, and several EU countries, namely in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom.

European Parliament has also repeatedly asked for a mechanism for sanctions to be introduced to punish individual culprits of human rights atrocities, and the proposal is now gaining momentum, after the Dutch Government initiated a discussion on it among EU member states in November last year. The proposal is currently being considered, at working group level, in the Council.

MEPs finally welcome the proposal made by the President of the Commission to move beyond unanimity voting, in Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) areas in Council decision-making. In this context, they urge EU member states to adopt this new sanctions instrument so that a qualified majority in the Council may adopt human rights sanctions.

The sanctions regime, under discussion, is encouraged by the US Magnitsky Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in December 2012.

 

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