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 Post subject: Not many congratulations for Putin
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012 06:42 
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Countries Variable in Greeting Putin Win

President-elect Vladimir Putin on Tuesday received numerous phone calls and communiques from foreign leaders on the occasion of his electoral victory Sunday, but the tone of the congratulatory messages was markedly mixed.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad expressed a "heartfelt congratulation" for Putin's victory, adding that he asked "God the Almighty" for Putin's success and "prosperity and well-being for the Russian nation," according to the IRNA state news agency.

Victory congratulations also arrived from Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Syria's Bashar Assad, as well as from leaders of former Soviet states like Belarus and Kazakhstan, who maintain strong ties with Moscow.

By contrast, reactions from the European Union and the United States were decidedly muted.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron called Putin late Monday, but a statement on his website did not mention congratulations. Instead it said both leaders "agreed on the importance of building a stronger relationship, without disguising differences and areas of concern."

Earlier Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel became the first Western leader to call Putin, but she too wished him well for his next term in office instead of congratulating him, according to a statement on her website.

The word congratulation was, however, used by French President Nicholas Sarkozy, who reminded Putin in a letter of what he saw as the Kremlin's future tasks.

"Press ahead with the work of democratic and economic modernization to which, in accordance with the wishes expressed by the Russian people, you want to dedicate this new term," Sarkozy wrote, according to a translation carried by Reuters.

Notably absent from the list of well-wishers was U.S. President Barack Obama.

Washington merely published a State Department statement Monday that congratulated "the Russian people on the completion of the presidential elections," without mentioning Putin by name.

The White House's silence irritated some officials Tuesday.

"A poor start, if Obama wants decent relations," Alexei Pushkov, the State Duma's foreign relations committee chairman, wrote on Twitter, adding that Japan, Germany and China had already congratulated Putin.

The tone in the reactions was also notably different from four years ago, when Western leaders were quick to welcome the election of Dmitry Medvedev to the presidency.

Among them was then-U.S. President George W. Bush, whose spokesman said one day after the March 2008 election that the United States looked forward to working with Medvedev.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman said Tuesday that he did not know whether the White House was planning to issue a statement.

European Commission President Jose Barroso, who had congratulated Medvedev in March 2008, was also silent this time, as was European Council President Herman van Rompuy.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement Monday that Brussels trusts that "the new Russian president will be ready to take [economic and political] reforms forward, in dialogue with citizens and civil society."

However, a senior European diplomat said no further congratulations should be expected from Brussels before Putin's inauguration, which is scheduled for May 7. But the diplomat stressed that this does not mean that Europeans won't engage with Putin.

"We want to be brisk and businesslike, and we're looking forward to working with him — we have to," he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In contrast to Medvedev, who has championed giving Moscow's foreign policy a "friendlier face," Putin has made strong anti-Western and anti-American remarks in his election campaign. He repeatedly accused Washington of funding the organizers of the massive protests against him and of accepting "no partners but only vassals."

Some analysts said it was wrong to give Putin the cold shoulder now.

"The West is doing itself a disservice because with this, Putin will see his anti-Western gut feelings confirmed," said Vladislav Belov of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

Belov added that if Western leaders were still disappointed that Putin will be the next president, they should have voiced their criticism earlier.

"They should have spoken out after September 24," he said, referring to the United Russia party convention when Medvedev declared that he was not seeking a second term and endorsed Putin.

But others criticized the official European and American reaction as too soft.

Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister who leads a liberal faction in the European Parliament, said it was a scandal that Cameron had called Putin and incomprehensible that Ashton's statement spoke of his "clear victory."

"What sort of victory are we talking about? he said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday. He added that it would be "an enormous mistake" to do business as usual with Putin after the election and that it was necessary "to maintain the pressure."

Conservative U.S. blogger Jennifer Rubin lambasted the State Department's statement as mealy-mouthed.

"No condemnation. No rejection of the results as invalid. No protest over the arrest of an opposition leader," she wrote in the Washington Post.

One leader who probably pleased Rubin and Verhofstadt was Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who lambasted the Russian election as irrelevant.

"Whatever elections they hold or stage, … they have no future because they are building the past," Saakashvili said in a speech Monday, the Civil.ge news site reported. [surprised.gif]

..............[lol.gif] [lol.gif] [lol.gif]


From: The Moscow Times - 07 March 2012 - By Nikolaus von Twickel

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 Post subject: Re: Not many congratulations for Putin
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 07 Mar 2012 10:49 
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The Tsar is back :Get over it!
It's time to get reacquainted with the world according to Vladimir Putin.

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He even shed tears - an unlikely remake of "From Russia with Love". The Russian Orthodox Church - which steadfastly supported his campaign - was more than pleased. The tears of the Tsar were, in theory, in honour of the citizens of "a great country", to whom he wants to guarantee "a decent life". He's back - with a vengeance; the gentler, softer Putinator.

The task at hand is formidable. His vertical model of democratic sovereignty - designed by former adviser Vladislav Surkov - is already being tweaked. He must simultaneously fight horrendous corruption, curb bureaucracy and discipline central and local oligarchies.

He must fight a non-stop brain drain of over two million Russians so far.
He must maximise the returns of a staggering $1.5tn in oil exports since he first came to power in March 2000. That still has not been enough to substantially improve Russia's infrastructure.

I vividly remember March 2000 in Moscow; no one could even imagine whether the Tsar would have the skills to lift Russia from the wobbly, Washington-dependent Yeltsin years - or would just slog on as a puppet.

And no one could ever imagine how he would break the bank with his now-legendary February 2007 speech in Munich - when he forcefully denounced the Bush administration's warmongering and declared the end of a unipolar world.

Washington was blind with fury. After all, the new strategic design placed Russia as no more than a trusted vassal. Yet suddenly Russia hatched its own foreign policy. Russia was back reshaping its influence over the Central Asian "stans". BRICS members Russia and China started getting closer and closer - when Russia was supposed to meekly accept NATO's missile shield and be assigned to "contain" China.

No wonder Washington elites - and their hagiographers at Time Warner, News Corporation and The New York Times - are still puzzled or barely disguising their stupor.

It was Putin who almost single-handedly reorganised Russia as a state-controlled energy superpower; the Gazprom nation - the world's top exporter of natural gas and its second-biggest exporter of oil, behind only Saudi Arabia.

Now the challenge is to offer a "decent life" to each and every Russian. According to Sberbank, Russia's biggest lender, the Tsar will have to spend no less than $170bn a year over his six-year term. It will be tight - considering the bill for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.

And even tighter, when one considers that capital flight from Russia in 2011 was an astonishing $84bn. The Tsar badly wants to reverse it and make Russia attractive to foreign capital - jumping from a lowly 120th place to at least 20th.

The world according to Putin

There's no hidden conspiracy. Putin's essential worldview is here. No war on Iran. No "humanitarian" bombing. No predominance of "illegal instruments of soft power" (a new concept to smash the so-called colour revolutions). The main pillar of the world order remains "the time-honoured principle of state sovereignty". Tell that the to Three Graces of R2P ("responsibility to protect") - Clinton, Rice and Power.

Increased geopolitical coordination among the BRICS - the top emerging powers, which produce over 25 per cent of global GDP and rising - will be crucial. Putin qualifies the BRICS as "the most telling symbol of transferring from a unipolar to a more just world order".

Putin sees Russia as open for business with everyone. Never autarkic economicall, Russia is more than ready to "catch the Chinese wind in the sails of our economy".

Counteracting Washington's Greater Middle East - which the Pentagon deploys from western Africa to Xinjiang in China - Putin will focus on a Eurasia that includes the whole of China, the southern rim of Central Asia, Iran and Southwest Asia (also known as the Middle East). India definitely likes the idea - because an intimate relationship with Moscow works as a counterweight to the Sino-Pakistani axis, while for Moscow a more assertive India in Central Asia works as a counterbalance to China.

Most of all, forget about the March 2009 Clinton-Lavrov "reset" of formerly Cold War US-Russia relations. Not by accident, the label on the button both of them pressed was translated into Russian as "overload" instead of "reset"!

Washington and NATO - obsessed by missile defence - are bound to feel the full force of the Putinator. Although Putin admits that Obama's idea of a "reset" may have been sincere, he bluntly dismisses the practical results: "In missile defence plans, it gave nothing." That's because the US is bent on acquiring "complete invulnerability" through missile defence, and is not guaranteeing in full that Russia will never be a target. Assuming there will be an Obama II, the reset will have to be reset all over again.

May you live in interesting times

Chris Hutchins, the biographer of Princess Diana and billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, and author of a new book - Putin that took six years of research to complete, swears that the Tsar is "the most interesting politician on the world stage today".

Fans of carnivalesque Silvio "Bunga Bunga" Berlusconi - a close pal of Putin's - may disagree. Yet the Tsar might indeed personify the ultimate Everyman, constantly surpassing his own limits, and so demonised in the West - but not in the East. Call Dr Freud - and blame it on Western fears of its own decline. In contrast, the Putinator is relentless in his self-belief - and in his blunt, stinging criticism of limitless Western hypocrisy.

Few Anglo-American elites - unlike Germany, with which Putin will solidify a strategic partnership - will ever give Putin credit for battling hard to position Russia in the emerging, multipolar world.

His previous motto - "stability" - worked out so well that most Russians never felt as stable since the fall of the Soviet Union. Now it feels like there may be a whiff of Rosa Luxembourg in the air. Reform or revolution?

Forget about a colour revolution in Russia. It will be reform, but under the Putinator's terms.


Article by Pepe Escobar the roving correspondent for Asia Times. 05 Mar 2012

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