Tag Archives: Obama

«Endeavor to change regime in Russia – nearly official explanation for sanctions»

Dmitry Evstafyev, born 1966, graduated from College of Asian and African Studies of Moscow state University and pre-doctorate courses Institute of USA and Canada Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences. Since 1992 – engaged in political and security studies. Since 2001 – actively worked in business PR, risk assessment, and strategic consulting business. Worked with and in major Russian industrial corporations. Since 2013 – Professor of Chair of Integrated communications of National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

Romanian-flag– Mr. Evstafyev, you said in one of your recent article that between Putin’s speech at the Yalta and Sochi (Valdai) are notable differences. But I think it’s normal, also the target audience was different. Am I wrong ? Give our readers some details about you opinion.

Evstafyev– You are both right and wrong. You are right from the point of view of immediate audience. It is definitely foreign politicians and political scientists. You are wrong from the point of view of the major audience. That is Russian “ruling class” and its associates. Everybody in Russia for some time was waiting for “signals” from President. Signals came and they were quite strong. They reflected the new – more difficult – political situation and integrity of the “inner circle”. These are predominantly “internal” messages. They also reflect absence of radical foreign policy plans. But that is also an important “internal” message.
In general one should understand that for current Russian leadership at this point of their political life “domestic” (in a wide meaning of the term) is much more important that “foreign”. That is why the “Valdai” speech was so widely covered in Russia. Much wider than “Yalta” speech.

– You say that Russia should take advantage of the current window of opportunity and initiate a systemic reform of the government and political stage. Do you think that we will witnesses to significant changes in the two plans in the next few months?

– I would draw you attention to my other article – “Chances for development”/ ”Шансы на развитие”  (published in gazeta.ru, November 3, 2014). Some important points were outlined there. If we will not witness a drastic change including reshuffle of the upper echelons, the political crisis in late 2015 – early 2016 is inevitable. The “Valdai” speech shows that Kremlin at least sees that threat. To what extent Kremlin is able and ready to act – that is a big question to which no one knows the answer. But the pressure for “less liberal” and more “industrial” (we call that “anti-Kudrin”) economic agenda grows. The problem is that the worse the economic situation is and the more pressure the West puts on Russia the smaller the chance for liberals in the government to survive.

the-cold-war-era

– In April, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has published an article entitled “Putin should prepare for a long Ice Age period”. Now, the same journal released a column signed by John Kerry, that seems an invitation to calm down the tensions between US and Russia. Course, sanctions go on, but what do you think ? Will have a new Cold War or is time to back the business as usual ?

– There would probably be not a Cold War in a traditional sense since there is little (but some and that is important ideological content) and no global bipolarity. But the confrontation has already started. The West in general does not conceal that its target is to change a regime in Russia with – let’s say – trans-constitutional means. That was an explicit – nearly official – explanation for sanctions. That definitely “means war” (like in Buggs Bunny cartoons). That could be called “hybrid Cold War” but in general the Western idea that it could try to remove regime in Moscow simultaneously trying to cooperate with it where the West wants (jihadists, Iran, non-proliferation) looks ingenuously stupid. War means war. And for Russian economy and policy the “long ice” period (10 years I think) would be not good. It would be great.

– The presence of President Putin at APEC and G20 Summit changed something regarding bilateral relations between Russia and the West countries ?

– No. The mid-term political line is determined and no one seems to be ready to pull back. The earliest time for changes – early spring. I do not think that any chances for dialogue would emerge in spring but who knows…… The starting point is clear – West should unequivocally recognize that the Crimea belongs to Russia, but I do not think that it is ready yet. We can wait…..

– Oil and gas market has been “pretty turbulent” in recent months. Chart.ashxYou also work on the business consulting field. Give me an advice, please: if I am a Chinese businessman, should I buy shares to Rosneft?

– If you are Chinese and you are a businessman – yes, buy. If you are US or EU and you are an “investor” (you are engaged in speculative transactions at the fund market) – sell. If you are real US businessman – buy. If you are real businessman from EU – sell to Chinese or Indian. There will be very little space (if any) for EU-based business in fuel and energy sphere in Russia if the current political trend continues. There will be, though, space for others.

I ask you about because actually, we notice that “Gazprom”,“Rosneft” and “Lukoil” are considering re-placement of their shares on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong in Asian currencies. As the “Interfax” said, the topic was discussed last week at a meeting of Russian Ministry of Economic Development with its counterpart in Hong Kong as part of the APEC summit in Beijing. Do you think it’s a move with medium and longterm impact on oil and gas market?

– In a mid-term perspective – yes. In a sort term – no. At this time too little of operational and financial infrastructure in the Far East exists for these companies despite the fact that the recommendations to develop it were put on the table in early 2000s. It would take 2-3 years under current circumstances to develop it. After that the impact could and would start to grow.

– Finally, but not least important thing: how is perceived from Moscow the recent result of Romanian presidential election ?

Hardly noticeable. Interesting. Absolutely opposite situation here. At the local Moscow elections all who used “I-ph”, Facebook, Vkontakte as well as administrative resource lost. Heavily. Grass-roots. Interesting result. Much more attention to Moldova election. Moscow is not enthusiastic about Moldova division. In my understanding Moscow would prefers to maintain status-quo. But considering other issues – one more Moldova, one less Moldova – no big deal. People in Europe do not understand that they pushed Russians (most of them, excluding not very many selected personalities) beyond the “threshold of pain”. People think that the crisis and confrontation would be anyway. Than why we should be “nice”?

interview made by Gabriela Ionita

Sunday Surprises – European&Ukraine elections, prayers and similar work – visits

Pope, Palestine, Prayers – the pacifist P….

Panoramic watching the events was a Sunday hectic and full of surprises. Pope Francis stopped his motorcade between scheduled events in Bethlehem on Sunday to pray before the massive concrete separation barrier that divides the Palestinian city from Israel, which erected the controversial wall a decade ago.

The surprise stop was the latest signal that the Pope backed what the Vatican had indicated in 2012 with its support for a United Nations vote to make Palbildeestine a non-member state: That it regards it as a sovereign state. In a speech earlier on Sunday the Pope called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a “man of peace” after paying him a courtesy visit, and referred to the Vatican’s good relations with the “state of Palestine”.

According Time Magazine, Francis was scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem later on Sunday, and — in part because of official concerns about religious extremists, security preparations were extraordinary even by Israeli standards, outstripping even precautions taken for President Obama’s visit last year, according to organizers.

Pope’s Agenda for Monday includes deep bows to the Israeli narrative, including a visit to Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust, and to the Wailing Wall, the last remaining piece of the Temple in place at the time of Christ. In a gesture that unsettles Palestinians, Francis will also be the first pontiff to lay a wreath on the grave of Theodore Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement that envisioned a future state on the land hundreds of thousands of Arabs called home.

European Election, the sad E: Extremism & Euroscepticism, ‘Earthquake’ win

Marine Le Pen‘s far right National Front scored a stunning first victory in European Parliament elections in France on Sunday as critics of the European Union registered a continent-wide protest vote against austerity and mass unemployment. Cf. Reuters, without waiting for the final result, a somber French Prime Minister Manuel Valls went on television to call the breakthrough by the anti-immigration, anti-euro party in one of the EU’s founding nations “an earthquake” for France and Europe.People watch a board displaying provisional results of the European Parliament election at the EU Parliament in Brussels

Denmark‘s anti-immigration far right People’s Party was set to top the poll with an estimated 23 percent and the extreme-right Jobbik, widely accused of racism and anti-Semitism, was running second in Hungary with 15 percent.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, was set for a strong score after making big gains in local elections held at the same time on Thursday, raising pressure on Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a general election next year.

The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD) won parliamentary representation for the first time with an estimated 6.5 percent, the best result so far for a conservative party created only last year. In Greece, epicenter of the euro zone’s debt crisis, the radical left anti-austerity Syriza movement of Alexis Tsipras was set to win with 26.7 percent, pushing governing New Democracy into second place on 22.8 percent. That reflected popular anger at harsh spending cuts the government has adopted in recent years to meet the terms of its EU/IMF bailout program. It means that far right and hard left parties, their scores magnified by a low turnout of 43.1 percent, gained ground in many countries although in Germany, the EU’s biggest member state with the largest number of seats, the pro-European center ground held firm, according to exit polls.

Ukraine: again P, winner P… Petro Poroshenko wins  presidency

Because we speak about election… Exit polls suggested candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s presidential election in the first round Sunday, a ballot that took place amid weeks of fighting in eastern regions where pro-Russia separatists have seized government buildings and battled government troops.

Exit polls gave Poroshenko more than 55 percent of the vote, well ahead of petro_poroshenkoformer Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in second place with just over 12 percent. “I would like to congratulate Ukraine with the fact that despite the current aggression by the Kremlin and the desire to break this voting, the election happened and was democratic and fair” Tymoshenko said after the polls closed. If Poroshenko majority is confirmed by results on Monday, there will be no need for a runoff vote on June 15.

Cf. Reuters, Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he will respect the voters’ will. He has announced the pullback of tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border. But the absence of more than 15 percent of the potential electorate from the election could give Moscow an excuse to raise doubts about the victor’s legitimacy and continue applying pressure on the new president in Kiev.

The White House – two similar surprise work – visits

Leaders of the two White House from Washington and Moscow (government headquarters) have spent Sunday making surprise visits. One – President Barack Obama in Afghanistan. Second – Prim-minister Dmitry Medvedev in Crimea.

President-Obama-in-Afghanistan_5_1President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Sunday, his first visit to Afghanistan in two years and his fourth trip as president overall, and pledged a “responsible end” to the war there by the end of 2014. During the visit, Obama spoke to troops, visited a base hospital and met with military officials to discuss troop presence in Afghanistan as the country’s longest war comes to a close. Also Obama said on Sunday that his administration would likely announce soon how many troops the United States will keep in the country, as it winds down its presence after nearly 13 years of war.

Speaking at a briefing by military commanders at Bagram Air Base, Obama said one reason for his trip was to discuss the U.S. footprint for the rest of this year – when the bulk of troops are scheduled to be withdrawn – and afterward. “We’ll probably be announcing some decisions fairly shortly” said US president.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has arrived Sunday in Crimea for a Dmitry Medvedevtwo-day working trip. It will be Medvedev’s second trip to Crimea since Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in March in a move that has not been recognized internationally.
Medvedev was expected to visit immigration offices in the city of Sevastopol, where Russian passports are being issued to local residents. Medvedev’s office said he will also visit the Artek children’s center on the Black Sea on May 26.

Medvedev will then chair a meeting to discuss a plan for organizing children’s vacations. Russian prime minister will hold a traditional meeting with his deputies on Monday, visit the Olympic sport center “Spartak” and meet with Crimea’s acting Governor Sergei Aksyonov.

France and UK – Step-daughters of the ”mother” America

 French President, Francois Hollande (who recently was the subject of a huge mass-media scandal and following it separated from his long-time partner, Valerie Trierweiler), arrived at the White House, to the seventh official state dinner of Mr. Obama’s presidency, via limousine just after 7 p.m. According Washington Times, President Obama, clad in a black tuxedo, and first lady Michelle Obama, wearing a formal black and “liberty blue” gown, greeted him at the North Portico of the White House. Two hours later, the two leaders toasted one another and, as they’ve done repeatedly in recent days, touted the deep, seemingly unbreakable Franco-U.S. bond.

Photo by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama with French President Francois Hollande, center, pose at the Grand Staircase as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Photo by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama with French President Francois Hollande, center, pose at the Grand Staircase as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“Our two countries share universal values and we have feelings for one another” Mr. Hollande said. “We love Americans, although we don’t always say so. And you love the French, but you’re sometimes too shy to say so.”

Mr. Obama said the relationship has thrived for so long because both nations stand for the same principles. “We love our French friends because we’ve stood together for our freedom for more than 200 years,” he said. “Long live the alliance between our great nations.”

Big brother has become the ”mother”

Earlier in the day Tuesday, Mr. Obama and Mr. Hollande held a joint press conference at the White House on the heels of a lengthy bilateral meeting. Asked by a journalist from the publication ”Le Figaro” if ”France has become the best European ally of the U.S. and has replaced Great Britain in that role?”, president Obama  tried a diplomatic evasion: ”First of all, I have two daughters.  And they are both gorgeous and wonderful, and I would never choose between them. And that’s how I feel about my outstanding European partners.  All of them are wonderful in their own ways”. But Obama as not as thrilled when he had to answer ”why not extend to France the no-spying agreement that you have with England after the big scandal of the NSA’s surveillance program?” That’s not good ! probably thought U.S. President while he was saying: ”It’s not actually correct to say that we have a “no-spy agreement” with Great Britain.  That’s not actually what happens.  We don’t have — there’s no country where we have a no-spy agreement.  We have, like every other country, an intelligence capability, and then we have a range of partnerships with all kinds of countries.  And we’ve been in consultations with the French government to deepen those commitments”.

Some remarks about the great US-European family and its step-daughters:

Remember that the ”beloved daughter” UK said like an old song “goodbye America” to the mother’s/or big brother/ decision to intervene militarily in Syria. This was the first step that led to the subsequent diplomatic victory of Vladimir Putin. More, to remember about Snowden it means to remember Russia. And this while the U.S. led a hostile propaganda about Sochi Olympics rarely seen.  The moment was not missed nor in Obama – Hollande conference. Noticed that President Obama and French counterpart said that they are united in backing rebel forces in Syria’s civil war and charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin has the blood of Syrian people on his hands. The unusually pointed criticism comes in the midst of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

If we take into account that France needs help in its military expeditions in Africa, then quickly we understand the obedience and interested friendship 0f the president Hollande. European partners of military adventures are harder to find. And home his popularity is in freefall.

France and the UK were rarely able to speak a common language with the rest of EU, and also they are far from being the economic engine and the decision making core to outperform Berlin. Right, Berlin is harder to be appeased with emotionally-demagogic phrases like “daughterly strategic partnership”. Ah, bringing into question the revelations of Snowden‘s worse than Victoria Nuland′s nervousness, lack of tact and hers friendly ”Fuck EU” !