Press review: Russia’s ‘crushing response’ to US sanctions and Moscow’s offer on Syria – By TASS

August 06, 13:00 UTC+3

Top stories in the Russian press on Monday

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Russia preparing ‘crushing response’ to US sanctions ‘bill from hell’

Moscow is ready for the bill introduced by US senators on measures against the Kremlin elite and on banning transactions related to Russia’s new sovereign debt, Chairman of the Russian State Duma’s (lower house) Financial Markets Committee Anatoly Aksakov told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The lawmaker noted the US sanctions’ impact on Russia’s financial system would be insignificant. “It is more symbolic and moral rather than important in material terms,” he said.

A source close to the Kremlin has not ruled out that Russia could retaliate with its “crushing” military and strategic measures and review some its international commitments.

“If the unproven meddling in US election gives them the right to cause economic damage and deal a blow to the nation’s welfare, it’s not surprising that Russia could draw up measures, including military and strategic ones, which can result in irreparable losses for the Americans’ economy and profits,” the source told the paper.

“I won’t be surprised if soon Russia reviewed some its international commitments given the changes in the international situation. One should always remember that particular commitments were made in a certain international and legal context. The United States is showing this to the entire world today by renouncing its international commitments every day, including in the sphere of control over non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (deal with Iran) and also in tariff and non-tariff protectionism in trade.”

The Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018 (DASKAA), aimed at increasing economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Russia in response to Moscow’s alleged continuing interference in US elections was introduced last week by a bipartisan group of US senators.

The US “bill from hell” suggests sanctions against Russian political figures, oligarchs, family members and other individuals as well as restrictions against transactions related to investment in energy projects supported by Russian state-owned or parastatal entities. Another important measure of the initiative is the demand to ban transactions pertaining to the Russian sovereign debt, which has been discussed this year many times, the paper says.

The new package of measures was inspired by the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. Moscow considers that Washington’s sanctions initiatives have been triggered by the domestic political struggle in the US.

 

Kommersant: North Korea, Russia accused of violating UN resolution

US media reports leaked a draft report of the United Nations’ Security Council on North Korea, which accused Pyongyang of violating the organization’s resolutions, Kommersant writes. The document says that Pyongyang has not stopped developing nuclear and missile weapons despite the June 12 agreements reached at the meeting with US President Donald Trump. North Korea is also blamed for going beyond the limit on buying oil products (500,000 barrels per year) envisaged by the UN Security Council’s resolutions. It also says that fuel is purchased through a ship-to-ship transfer in the open seas, which is a rude violation of the sanctions. Besides, Pyongyang is suspected of continuing its military cooperation with Syria and arming Houthi rebels in Yemen.

A diplomatic source told Kommersant the document was leaked to the media after Washington refused to take into account the stance of Moscow and Beijing, which disagree with certain resolution provisions. A consensus of all members of the UN 1718 sanctions committee is needed to endorse the document.

According to the source, the leaks of draft documents to the US media when Russia and China voice their disagreement have become common practice. “This is the violation of the rules of behavior in the UN Security Council,” he said. “It looks like blackmail and does not encourage a constructive solution to the problem.” The committee members need to settle their differences by September 3, otherwise the document is unlikely to be approved.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also accused Moscow of violating the UN Security Council’s resolution on North Korea. According to him, Russia continues issuing work permissions for migrants from North Korea. The Russian Foreign Ministry has rejected these allegations, insisting that the resolution bans signing new contracts rather than issuing permissions.

Russian government sources told the paper that until 2017 some 38,000 North Korean migrants could be officially employed in Russia. After the restrictions were introduced under the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2375, this quota was cut to 24,000 by the end of 2017.

 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Washington rejects Moscow’s offer to join Syria post-war rebuilding effort

The United States has once again rebuffed Moscow’s proposal to participate in Syria’s post-war reconstruction and repatriating refugees, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. The offer was sent in a July 19 letter by Russia’s Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov to Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, Reuters reported, citing a US government memo.

The Russian initiative received an “icy reception” in Washington, the report said. The Russian Defense Ministry voiced disappointment over the US side’s inability to honor its agreements on unveiling details about bilateral contacts only based on mutual consent.

Russian military expert Col. Vladimir Popov told the paper: “The Americans are refusing to join humanitarian cooperation with Russia on Syria in order to place the burden of the country’s restoration on Moscow.” However, even in the occupied areas they are ready to share responsibility on the rebuilding effort with other countries – Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and others, he said.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Damascus are likely to get a reliable ally in Idlib, namely China, the paper says. Chinese Ambassador to Syria Qi Qianjin told Al-Watan on Friday that the country’s military was ready to take part in an operation in Idlib’s southwest, where the Uyghur militants reside. According to Austria’s Contra Magazin, if China joins the military operations, Damascus will regain control over the entire Syrian territory, and this will be a “nightmare scenario” for the US and Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.

 

Kommersant: US sanctions bill may slow down foreign investors’ return to Russian market

Capital outflow from funds focusing on Russia’s stock market slowed down, reaching nearly $150 mln in July, compared with $900 mln in June, Kommersant writes citing the BofA Merrill Lynch report. Over the past four months, net capital outflow reached $2 bln. The highest capital outflow figures were recorded four and a half years ago, when the Russian stock market lost almost $4 bln in investment.

The sharp slowdown in the capital outflow is attributed to foreign investors’ hopes about a thaw in Russian-US relations after the Helsinki summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump, the paper writes. Although no joint statement was adopted, the sides brought their positions closer on some issues, and the two leaders positively assessed the outcome of talks hinting that new meetings could be held.

“Obviously, by July the echo of April sanctions subsided and high oil prices and hopes for a positive outcome of the meeting between the US and Russian heads of state served as an additional factor encouraging investors to take a break,” said Vladimir Vedeneyev, the head of Raiffeisen Bank Capital’s investment department.

The continuing talks with the US authorities on lifting sanctions against Rusal and En+ were positively perceived by the market, Director of Investment Department at the UFG Wealth Management Alexei Potapov said.

However, market participants doubt if the negative trend will be overcome soon. “The overall positive mood related to developing markets is gradually fading away and the sanctions risks for Russian assets are again growing, that’s why the outflow is expected to continue,” Potapov noted.

Amid the bill on new “crushing sanctions” against Russia introduced by US senators last week, investors will again adopt a wait-and-see attitude and are unlikely to boost their positions on Russian assets until the situation with new sanctions becomes clear, Head of the Assets Management Department at the General Invest Denis Gorev told the paper.

 

Izvestia: Syrian delegation to attend independence anniversary celebrations in South Ossetia

The Syrian delegation will take part in the celebrations on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of South Ossetia’s independence recognition, Chairman of the republic’s parliament Pyotr Gassiyev told Izvestia. Syrian President Bashar Assad also plans to pay a visit soon, he said. The invitation to the Syrian leader, who recognized South Ossetia’s independence this May, was given by the republic’s leader Anatoly Bibilov during his July visit to Damascus.

Syria became the fifth UN member-state, which established relations with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, after Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Russia.

Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said Damascus did not unveil details about the exact number of delegation members, but confirmed receiving South Ossetia’s invitation. “President Assad’s administration has not reported about the date of his visit due to the Syrian leader’s busy schedule. The issue is in the works,” the diplomat said.

Russia has confirmed its plans to participate in the celebrations. “We expect to see Speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper house Valentina Matviyenko and also State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin. The invitations have been sent to the representatives of more than 10 countries,” Gassiyev said.

Tskhinval will welcome guests from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Nagorny Karabakh and Abkhazia. The Syrian president’s visit may take place soon but it is unlikely to be held during the days of celebrations, he noted.

 

TASS is not responsible for the material quoted in the press review

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The Levant is now Russia’s stage of influence and operations – And the US knows it – By Elijah J. Magnier (ejmagnier.com) (SOTT)

russian mps undof golan

Russian forces with the UNDOF on the 1974 line with Israel.

Russian military police forces have established eight static positions along the 1974 disengagement line and have registered a strong presence with UNDOF observer forces on the occupied Golan Heights line. Moreover, a Russian force headed by a Russian General arrived, for the second time this year, at the Lebanese Hezbollah post at the Syrian-Lebanese borders at al-Jdeideh. The Russians wanted to establish communication equipment, dishes, and electronics in the same area controlled by Hezbollah. The Lebanese organisation maintains a substantial force in the area after defeating al-Qaeda and ISIS early this year. Hezbollah’s presence is said to be focused on preventing the smuggling of weapons and jihadist Takfiris between the two countries. It is clear that Russia is expanding its control, slowly but surely, over the Levant. However, it is still unclear how far the Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to go.

High ranking sources operating in Syria confirmed to me that “a Russian General arrived with a unit at al-Jdeideh asking to establish a communication system and dishes connecting the Russian forces deployed in the area with a military base in Hmeymim and with Moscow, considered to be the centre of the entire Russian and Syria military operation since mid-2015. The Russian unit wanted to use Hezbollah’s location but was asked to choose another one much higher and further away. Following a quick inspection of the place, the Russian General accepted the offer and based his men at a distance from Hezbollah.”

According to these sources, there are tens of thousands of Russian troops spread all over Syria, with the exception of the north, occupied by Turkey and the US.

There is no doubt that Russia has reached an understanding with the US that the Levant has become its own operational stage and area of influence. This will lead to an expansion of Russian forces all over Syrian territory without exception. This also means that Moscow won’t accept the presence of al-Qaeda or “Hurras al-Deen” or whatever name the group hides behind, and therefore will work towards taking away the territory it is controlling to-date (even if eliminating the ideology is not possible.)

In the south, Syria’s allies (Hezbollah and Iran) have pulled back their troops because the reason for their presence has come to an end following the liberation of all borders and the elimination of ISIS in the Quneitra pocket. These forces have taken up another position facing ISIS in the east of Suweida province and in al-Badiya to eliminate the last ISIS presence in the area. The Idlib battle seems to have been halted to give the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan time to regroup his proxies and move al-Qaeda away from the territory he controls in north-east Syria.

The south of Syria has returned to the control of the Syrian government and only Syrian forces remain in Suweida, Daraa and Quneitra provinces, as was the case prior to 2011, the year the war on Syria began. The presence of Iranian advisors continues to be registered in every Syrian unit, offering advice and coordination with the central command and control in various provinces.

Russian forces are reaching distant territories in Syria, even areas that are not under threat. The Russian command does not consider Hezbollah an enemy force; on the contrary, as a Russian General told Hezbollah forces in al-Jdeideh: “You are our allies, we want to be next to you and we are not asking you to leave”.

This put the Hezbollah forces at ease and they asked their command for advice. Another location, not very far away from the one chosen by the General, was indicated to him. The General accepted the new location and based his men on higher ground to install his sophisticated equipment.

It is not clear if Russia will ever ask Hezbollah to leave Syria, or even to leave the Syrian-Lebanese borders. If Moscow does one day decide to take over the entire Syrian-Israeli dossier (securing a peace agreement and the return of occupied territory), it is most unlikely that such an audacious step will be successful. Israel is not ready for peace nor to give back the wealthy and strategic Golan Heights to Syria. This will limit Russian president’s freedom of action and confront him with the very complicated reality of the Middle Eastern dossier Russia has been absent from since 1990. Dealing with Hezbollah’s presence in Syria in the near future is most unlikely even if the Lebanese organisation has no intention of confronting Russia or nor of competing with Russia in the Levant.

Israel is not only unwilling to let go of the Syrian and Lebanese occupied territories but is even escalating its demands: During the Netanyahu-Lavrov meeting, Israel requested the withdrawal of all Iranian forces, the removal of all long range and accurate missiles from Syria, and the cessation of all weapon shipments from Syria to Lebanon-Hezbollah.

Russia can’t and won’t ask Iran to leave Syria because Tehran is a part of the strategic alliance with President Assad within the “Axis of Resistance.” Moreover, it can’t ask Syria to stop arming itself because it is the same Russia that is providing and equipping the Syrian army. It can’t ask Damascus to stop the transit of weapons through its territory either, because Syria and Hezbollah are tied by a very strong bond. Indeed, the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad opened his warehouses to Hezbollah when the Israelis attacked Lebanon in 2006, and the organisation rushed to support Assad in the war imposed on Syria in 2011.

Russia is also struggling with Israel’s continuous bombing and violations of Syrian air space. Moreover, Tel Aviv continues to say that it has the “right to defend itself” by bombing targets in Syria.

Even if the battle of Idlib has been postponed to allow Turkey to “cleanse” the city first from al-Qaeda, the battle against the vestiges of ISIS is ready and will aim to put an end to the group’s control of all territory, restoring it to Syrian army control. However, the final chapter of the war in the Middle East hasn’t yet been written. The balance in the Levant is bigger than Middle Eastern players now that Russia has decided to continue its heavy involvement in Syria. The presence of tens of thousands of Russian troops is the best witness to this. Russia will manage to push the US away from Syria, but this doesn’t mean it has become the only partner for Middle Eastern countries.

Proofreading by: Ollie Richardson @O_Rich_

If you read this reporting and you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

About the Author

Veteran War Zone Correspondent and Senior Political Risk Analyst with over 35 years’ experience covering the Middle East and acquiring in-depth experience, robust contacts and political knowledge in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Specialised in terrorism and counter-terrorism, intelligence, political assessments, strategic planning and thorough insight in political networks in the region. Covered on the ground the Israeli invasion to Lebanon (1st war 1982), the Iraq-Iran war, the Lebanese civil war, the Gulf war (1991), the war in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1996), the US invasion to Iraq (2003 to date), the second war in Lebanon (2006), the war in Libya and Syria (2011 to date). Lived for many years in Lebanon, Bosnia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

Russia taking steps to prepare for “perfect storm” in global economy – By Aleksandr Rodgers (Stalkerzone) (SOTT)

Andrey Kostin and Putin

Head of VTB Andrey Kostin meets with Putin to discuss Russia’s economic resilience

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

In recent months Russia, as some claim, “strenuously prepared for Putin’s meeting with Trump”. What does this mean?

Firstly, in April the Central Bank of the Russian Federation dumped nearly a half of US Treasuries that it had on its balance, having reduced their stock from $96.2 billion to $48.7 billion.

In May the Central Bank continued to do this, having reduced the quantity of treasuries on its balance even more.

Certain news agencies only emphasised that Russia dropped out of the list of the largest holders of treasuries, having noted that this “is less than $30 billion”. They use students in these news agencies, and as a result such “news” appears.

Having read the full report of US Department of the Treasury, it is easy to see that the size of the Russian investments in treasuries was reduced to $14.9 billion.

I.e., more than sixfold in two months. But there still isn’t any data for June…

Secondly, some observers noticed that against this background the Central Bank of the Russian Federation continued to increase its gold reserves.

gold reserves

Since the Central Bank shows in its report the amount of gold in the dollar equivalent, we will have to convert it at the rate of the corresponding number.

  • On April 1st 80482/1340 = 60,061 million ounces.
  • On May 1st 81146/1315 = 61,707 million ounces.
  • On June 1st 80511/1301 = 61,884 million ounces.

As we see, the amount of gold indeed steadily grows.

Some were stupid enough to be indignant because the Central Bank buys gold while it goes down in price. On the one hand, if it bought it at the top peak of the price, then it would be worse. On the other hand, it is possible to assume that in the near future certain events are expected that can significantly raise the price of gold.

If we work like system analysts, then we need to coordinate at least two more facts with the aforementioned.

Thirdly, the majority of Russian state corporations and a number of banks and companies with State capital switched (or are in the process of switching) to the Russian System for the transfer of financial messages of the Bank of Russia (SPFS), which actually means abandoning SWIFT.

Very recently, in June, “Gazprom Neft” also tested a transition to SPFS.

As was stated in the press release: “The use of a sole system that all Russian credit organisations are connected to instead of many local bank clients allows to considerably increase the speed, reliability, and security of carrying out financial operations and to optimise expenses”.

And fourthly, the head of “VTB” Andrey Kostin met with Putin the other day and presented to him a report on the activity of the bank. During the meeting Kostin, in particular, said two things:

“1. Since the beginning of this year, people seem to be less interested in making dollar deposits or taking out dollar loans, compared to ruble-denominated deposits and loans. We believe this to be an important step towards the de-dollarisation of the Russian finance sector.

2. VTB experts have drafted a package of proposals designed to further promote the ruble in international settlements and thus develop the Russian market for floating Eurobonds, shares and creating other derivatives that are now used only in the West. I think that we need to create our own financial tools. This would serve as an additional safeguard for the Russian financial sector against external shocks, and would give a new impetus to its development”.

As we can see, both State corporations, and State banks are actively preparing for the de-dollarisation of economy (or, if to be more exact, carrying it out with confidence) and possible problems from SWIFT, and also increase the self-sufficiency of all systems (communication, payment, and so on).

I think that if there is the desire, then it is possible to significantly add to the provided list of measures. Russia consistently and surely dumps the dollar (and, quite possibly, prepares for the “perfect storm” in the global economy that was predicted long ago), and today none of Trump’s words or actions can change these aspirations.

Because no Trump is able to stop the impending storm.

Comment: The sad truth of the matter is that no matter how much effort Trump puts into strengthening the US economy, its strength is much like a house of cards – with multiple structural weaknesses that have existed for going on many years now. Leaders like Putin, Xi, Rouhani etc. understand this and are actively working to make their countries resilient in the face of what will likely be a very large downturn in the world economy, and the value of the dollar in particular.

Noam Chomsky: Russia is not influencing US elections, but Israel definitely is – By John Vibes (The Free Thought Project) (SOTT)

 

John Vibes
The Free Thought Project
Tue, 31 Jul 2018 00:00 UTC

Noam Chomsky

© thefreethoughtproject.com
Noam Chomsky

World-renowned author and lecturer Noam Chomsky pointed out in a recent interview that Israel has actually had far more influence in the United States political system than Russia ever has, in the wake of mass media hysteria about alleged “collusion” in the 2016 election.

In an interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Chomsky said:

So, take, say, the huge issue of interference in our pristine elections. Did the Russians interfere in our elections? An issue of overwhelming concern in the media. I mean, in most of the world, that’s almost a joke. First of all, if you’re interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done, I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president’s policies – what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015. Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress trying to – calling on them to reverse U.S. policy, without even informing the president? And that’s just a tiny bit of this overwhelming influence. So if you happen to be interested in influence of – foreign influence on elections, there are places to look. But even that is a joke.

Chomsky went on to point out that:

That’s only one part of it. Lobbyists practically write legislation in congressional offices. In massive ways the concentrated private capital, corporate russector, super wealth, intervene in our elections, massively, overwhelmingly, to the extent that the most elementary principles of democracy are undermined. Now, of course, all that is technically legal, but that tells you something about the way the society functions. So, if you’re concerned with our elections and how they operate and how they relate to what would happen in a democratic society, taking a look at Russian hacking is absolutely the wrong place to look. Well, you see occasionally some attention to these matters in the media, but very minor as compared with the extremely marginal question of Russian hacking.

Chomsky is one of the few intellectuals in the public eye who can get away with being so critical of Israel, because he has Jewish heritage, despite being non-religious. It is common for anyone critical of Israel’s policies to be labeled as an anti-semitic.

Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, another outspoken critic of Israel, said in a 2016 interview that anyone who speaks out about the apartheid state is labeled as anti-semitic.

“The only response to BDS is that it is anti-Semitic, I know this because I have been accused of being a Nazi and an anti-Semite for the past 10 years. My industry has been particularly recalcitrant in even raising a voice [against Israel]. There’s me and Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, Manic Street Preachers, one or two others, but there’s nobody in the United States where I live. I’ve talked to a lot of them, and they are scared s***less….” he said.

“If they say something in public they will no longer have a career. They will be destroyed. I’m hoping to encourage some of them to stop being frightened and to stand up and be counted because we need them. We need them desperately in this conversation in the same way we needed musicians to join protesters over Vietnam,” Waters added.

In recent years, as the horror that the Israeli government unleashes upon the prisoners of Palestine has been exposed, global public opinion is finally beginning to shift against the apartheid state. In response, the governments in the U.S. and Israel have both been forcing legislation to keep a lid on the genocide that is taking place.

Last month, The Free Thought Project reported that South Carolina passed a law to legally define criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitism,” showing a concerted effort to stifle criticism of a government that is indiscriminately killing innocent people, and keeping an entire population in poverty and constant terror.

As The Free Thought Project also reported, 41 other members of Congress came together to champion proposed legislation in July 2017 that would

“make literal criminals of any Americans boycotting Israel – a brazen, if not explicit, attack on the BDS Movement, incidentally exploding in popularity worldwide as the belligerent nation continues its occupation of Palestinian lands.”

Governments are not alone in this suppression of information either, tech corporations that now control the media narrative are also taking efforts to prevent people from seeing the true face of the Israeli military. YouTube has been engaging in censorship of Israeli war crimes, as journalist Abby Martin called attention to earlier this year when a video that she made about the violence in Israel was flagged as “hate speech” and blocked by YouTube in 28 countries.

Journalist Max Blumenthal, who was featured in the interview, suggested that pro-Israel lobbyists have major tech companies on their payroll:

“My comments were based entirely on my extensive journalistic experience in the region and my analysis was clinical in nature. At no point did I denigrate anyone based on their faith or ethnicity. The trend of censoring material that presents Israel in a less than favorable light has only intensified as establishment attacks on critical voices expands. This latest episode confirms my view that the pro-Israel lobby and its willing accomplices in Silicon Valley present one of the greatest threats to free speech in the West.”

Despite the best efforts of the Israeli government and their NATO allies, the world is beginning to wake up to the struggle of the Palestinian people. Even the United Nations is taking a new interest in the situation, with the recent announcement of a war crimes investigation of the Israeli government’s actions.

Building a Russian Bogeyman: Washington Intentionally ‘Overcharged’ Relations with Moscow for Strategic Advantage – By Robert BRIDGE (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Building a Russian Bogeyman: Washington Intentionally ‘Overcharged’ Relations with Moscow for Strategic Advantage

Robert BRIDGE | 30.07.2018 | WORLD / Americas

Last week, we considered how the Bush and Obama administrations worked in tandem – wittingly or unwittingly, but I’m betting on the former – to move forward with the construction of a US missile defense system smack on Russia’s border following the attacks of 9/11 and Bush’s decision to scrap the ABM Treaty with Moscow.

That aggressive move will go down in the (non-American) history books as the primary reason for the return of Cold War-era atmosphere between Washington and Moscow. Currently, with the mainstream news cycle top-heavy with 24/7 ‘Russiagate’ baloney, many people have understandably forgotten that it was during the Obama administration when US-Russia relations really hit rock bottom. And it had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s home computer getting allegedly compromised by some Russia hackers.

The year is 2008; welcome to the international peace tour – although ‘farce tour’ would be much more accurate. Fatigued by 8 long years of Bush’s disastrous war on terror, with over 1 million dead, maimed or on the run, the world has just let out a collective sigh of relief as Barack Obama has been elected POTUS. Due to Obama’s velvety delivery, and the fact that he was not George W. Bush, he was able to provide the perfect smokescreen as far as Washington’s ulterior motives with regards to Russia were concerned; the devious double game America was playing required a snake-oil salesman of immeasurable skill and finesse.

Just months into his presidency, with ‘hope and change’ hanging in the air like so many helium balloons, Obama told a massive crowd in Prague that, “To reduce our warheads and stockpiles, we will negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the Russians this year. President Medvedev and I began this process in London, and will seek a new agreement by the end of this year that is legally binding and sufficiently bold (Applause!).”

It would take another 8 years for the world – or at least the awakened part – to come to grips with the fact that America’s ‘first Black president’ was just another smooth-talking, Wall Street-bought operator in sheep clothing. In the last year of the Obama reign, it has been conservatively estimated that some 26,000 bombs of various size and power were duly dropped against enemies in various nations. In other words, nearly three bombs every hour, 24 hours a day.

But more to the point, US-Russia relations on Obama’s watch experienced their deepest deterioration since the days of the US-Soviet standoff. In fact, with the benefit of hindsight, we can say that the 44th US president picked up almost seamlessly where Bush left off, and then some. Initially, however, it looked as though relations with Russia would improve as Obama announced he would “shelve” the Bush plan for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic. Then, the very same day, he performed a perfect flip-flop into the geopolitical pool, saying he would deploy a sea-based variety – which is every bit as lethal as the land version, as then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted – instead of a land-locked one.

Following that announcement, Obama appeared intent on lulling Moscow into a false sense of security that the system was somehow less dangerous than the Bush model, or that the Americans would eventually agree and cooperate with them in the system. In March 2009, a curious thing happened at the same time relations between the two global nuclear powers were hitting the wall. A meeting – more of a photo opportunity than any significant summit – took place between then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva. To the delight of the phalanx of photographers present, Clinton, in a symbolic gesture of “resetting relations” with Russia, produced a yellow box with a red button and the Russian word “peregruzka” printed on it.

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said to general laughter. “It should be “perezagruzka” [reset],” he corrected somewhat pedantically. “This says ‘peregruzka,’ which means ‘overcharged.’”

Clinton gave a very interesting response, especially in light of where we are today in terms of the bilateral breakdown: “We won’t let you do that to us, I promise. We mean it and we look forward to it.”

As events would prove, the US State Department’s ‘mistaken’ use of the Russian word for ‘overcharged’ instead of ‘reset’ was far closer to the truth. After all, can anybody remember a time in recent history, aside from perhaps the Cuban Missile Crisis, when US-Russia relations were more “overcharged” than now? In hindsight, the much-hyped ‘reset’ was an elaborate ploy by the Obama administration to buy as much time as possible to get a strategic head start on the Russians.

It deserves mentioning that the fate of the New START Treaty (signed into force on April 8, 2010), the nuclear missile reduction treaty signed between Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, hung in the balance on mutual cooperation between the nuclear powers. Nevertheless, it became clear the Obama sweet talk was just a lot of candy-coated nothing.

What is truly audacious about the Obama administration’s moves is that it somehow believed Moscow would radically reduce its ballistic missile launch capabilities, as prescribed in the New START treaty, at the very same time the United States was building a mighty sword along the entire length of its Western border.

The Obama administration clearly underestimated Moscow, or overestimated Obama’s charm powers.

By the year 2011, after several years of failed negotiations to bring Russia onboard the system, Moscow’s patience was clearly over. During the G-8 Summit in France, Medvedev expressed frustration with the lack of progress on the missile defense system with the US.

“When we ask for the name of the countries that the shield is aimed at, we get silence,” he said. “When we ask if the country has missiles (that could target Europe), the answer is ‘no.’”

“Now who has those types of missiles (that the missile defense system could counter)?”

“We do,” Medvedev explained. “So we can only think that this system is being aimed against us.”

In fact, judging by the tremendous strides Russia has made in the realm of military technologies over a very short period, it is apparent the Kremlin understood from the outset that the ‘reset’ was an elaborate fraud, designed to cover the administration’s push to Russian border.

As I wrote last week on these pages: “In March, Putin stunned the world, and certainly Washington’s hawks, by announcing in the annual Address to the Federal Assembly the introduction of advanced weapons systems – including those with hypersonic capabilities – designed to overcome any missile defense system in the world.

These major developments by Russia, which Putin emphasized was accomplished “without the benefit” of Soviet-era expertise, has fueled the narrative that “Putin’s Russia” is an aggressive nation with “imperial ambitions,” when in reality its goal was to form a bilateral pact with the United States and other Western states almost two decades ago post 9/11.

As far as ‘Russiagate’, the endless probe into the Trump administration for its alleged collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, not a shred of incriminating evidence has ever been provided that would prove such a thing occurred. And when Putin offered to cooperate with Washington in determining exactly what happened, the offer was rebuffed.

In light of such a scenario, it is my opinion that the Democrats, fully aware – despite what the skewed media polls erringly told them – that Hillary Clinton stood no chance of beating the Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest, set about crafting the narrative of ‘Russian collusion’ in order to not only delegitimize Trump’s presidency, possibly depriving him of a second term in 2010, but to begin the process of severely curtailing the work of ‘alternative media,’ which are in fact greatly responsible for not only Trump’s victory at the polls, but for exposing the dirt on Clinton’s corrupt campaign.

These alternative media sites have been duly linked to Russia in one way or another as a means of silencing them. Thus, it is not only Russia that has been victimized by the lunacy of Russiagate; every single person who stands for the freedom of speech has suffered a major setback one way or another.

Part I of this story is available here.

Russia Marks Navy Day: Credible Deterrent to Keep Enemies at Bay -By Andrei AKULOV (Strategic Culture Foundation)

Russia Marks Navy Day: Credible Deterrent to Keep Enemies at Bay
Andrei AKULOV | 30.07.2018 | SECURITY / DEFENSE

On July 29, Russia marked its Navy Day. After many years of neglect, the service is going through the period of resurgence to become a second to none blue water force equipped with state-of-the-art weapons. It’s a lot more operational today than it has been in many years. In some areas the Navy demonstrates technological lead. Pretty much anywhere in the world, one can see the “Saint Andrew Flag”, the naval ensign of the Russian Federation, a radical change in comparison with what it was like just ten years ago.

In 2017, Russian ships made 46 port calls to drop anchor at 28 ports of 27 countries worldwide. The list includes five Western or West-friendly states: Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Japan and South Korea, which account for 19% of the countries visited by Russian ships. Nine (33%) of the states on the list belong to the Asia-Pacific region, with other 13 (48%) situated in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The 81% vs.19% ratio illustrates Russia’s rebalancing from the West toward other countries and power poles. The Russian Navy also conducted six international exercises, demonstrating its global presence and power projection capability. The service has become strong enough to make the US re-establish the Second Fleet in the Atlantic.

A task force comprising three surface ships and three auxiliary vessels of the Baltic Fleet is on a voyage around the world. The route lies across the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Indian and Pacific Oceans. On May 16, President Vladimir Putin made a statement to say that Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea will be permanent. The standing force will include warships with long-range land attack cruise missiles.

With new ships and weapons coming in, the Navy is quite capable of defending Russia’s maritime approaches and coasts, long-range precision strike missions with conventional and nuclear weapons, power projection and defense of the sea-based nuclear deterrent. It has recently acquired the capability to conduct long-range attacks with conventional weapons against fixed infrastructure targets.

Russia’s shipbuilders offer corvette-frigate size surface ships, such as the Admiral Grigorovich-class and the new Admiral Gorshkov-class, packing a really potent punch to make them formidable warriors. Oniks anti-ship missiles, Kalibr long-range cruise missiles capable to strike land targets at great distances, Pantsir-M point defense weapons, Poliment Redut air defense systems and Paket-NK anti-torpedo systems are contained in vertical launch systems (VLS). Normally the armament suite includes seventy-six-millimeter gun or a one-hundred-millimeter gun and close-in weapon systems (CIWS) to enhance the versatility of the ship. Multi-mission frigates have become the backbone of the Russian Navy. Vasily Bykov, the first project 22160 corvette, started sea trials in April to join service this year. The Drive (War Zone) the “concept is innovative enough that it should be studied by western navies as a source of inspiration for their own future multi-role combat vessels.” The source believes that the ship has “a pretty genius design” with its relatively small frame providing great strike power.

Project 636.3 “Varshavyanka” conventional submarines are cheap, quiet and deadly with their Kalibr missiles. The newest Yasen-class nuclear-powered multipurpose attack submarine is to be armed with land-attack cruise missilesanti-ship missilesanti-submarine missiles, including several variants of Kalibr-PL designed for a wide range of missions. A single Yasen-class can carry thirty-two nuclear-tipped Kalibr missiles to strike deep into the enemy’s territory.

The Russian industry is capable of producing some of the most sophisticated platforms in the world. There are 11 nuclear powered submarines laid down. The shipbuilders can build a conventional submarine in just 18 months. 

Ivan Gren-class (Project 11711E), the first amphibious assault ship designed and built in Russia’s modern history, was commissioned on June 20 to join the Northern Fleet.

On June 25, The Russian Navy commissioned Ivan Khurs, the second Project 18280 intelligence-gathering ship. The ships of the class are called after Russia’s naval intelligence chiefs. The vessel can conduct electronic warfare, radio, and electronic intelligence.

It was reported this month that the Bulava (RSM-56) intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) had entered service with Russian Navy to become the backbone of the nuclear triad’s sea-based component until 2040. A salvo of four missiles launched in rapid succession within 20 seconds in late May confirmed the SLBM’s operational readiness. 

Modernized to M3M standard, the Air Force Tu-22 long-range bomber primarily designed for naval missions will take to the sky next month.

The Navy is testing the Poseidon (Status-6), a new unmanned underwater vehicle (a doomsday weapon) that can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads, which enables to engage various targets, including aircraft groups, coastal fortifications, and infrastructure.

According to Commander-in-Chief Admiral Vladimir Korolev, precision guided weapons and blue water ships are the priority for the future. The Navy also leads in superfast weapons. The Kalibr travelling over Mach 3 is a good example. A higher speed makes interception almost impossible and destruction is maximized by imparting more kinetic energy upon impact. Put on a wide range of ship and submarine classes, the weapon provides for a qualitative leap to drastically enhance the fire power of the Russian sea forces. The Kalibr allows the ships based in the Caspian and Black seas to cover the entire Caucasus and large parts of Central Asia and the Middle East – the areas where threats to Russia’s national security are most likely to emerge.

The 3M22 Zircon anti-ship missile going through final tests has a 500km strike. It will impact at a speed of Mach 6. As yet, the US Navy does not have a weapon to match it.

According to the State Armament Program for 2018-2027 adopted in late 2017, the naval component of the nuclear triad will consist of six Project 667 BRDM (Delta IV-class) and eight Project 955B (Borei-class) strategic ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), to be evenly divided between the Northern and Pacific Fleets. 12 submarines to be in service at given moment with two undergoing overhauls and modernization. The program envisages the construction of Super Gorshkov-class 8,000-ton frigate and six-seven Yasen-M nuclear attack submarines.

Russia’s 2017 Naval Doctrine set the goal of building a strong force to enable the country to achieve and hold the leading positions in the world until 2030. The Navy is on the way to accomplish this mission with balanced forces able to support the operations of strategic ballistic missile submarines and maintain a strong conventional component, carrying out a range of missions, including power projection, with its cutting-edge ships, naval aviationcoastal defense forces, and even ground effect vehicles. Russia has made a strong comeback as a sea power.

Medvedev announces Crimea’s full integration into Russian Federation, improvements to infrastructure -By RT

Russian PM Medvedev attends

© Sputnik
Russian PM Medvedev attends a meeting with President Putin in Sochi

The Crimean Republic has completed integration with Russia’s economy, infrastructure and judiciary, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced while speaking to members of the Sevastopol city government.

We faced an unprecedented task, both in its difficulty and in its scale – we had to integrate the peninsula in the Russian legal, infrastructure and economic fields. Today we can say that the hardest stage is over and we have started the more stable and planned work regime,” RIA Novosti quoted Medvedev as saying on Monday.

The Russian PM also added that the process of Crimea’s integration had required dozens of out-of-the box solutions in rebuilding the electricity grid, the water supply system as well as fuel supply and transportation networks.

Comment: … which stands in stark contrast to the dysfunctional pathocracy of Poroshenko’s miserable and incompetent Kiev cabal.

Storm clouds are gathering over the Ukraine

The communal facilities and roads on the peninsula have not been repaired since the Soviet times, they completely exhausted their resource. Our main goal was to set better standards for life and rest on the peninsula,” Medvedev said.

Earlier in the day the head of the Russian cabinet participated in the launch ceremony of the brand-new Russian passenger hydrofoil Kometa-120M in Sevastopol. The new vessel will start regular voyages between Crimean cities of Sevastopol and Yalta as soon as August 1.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry issued a protest note saying the Prime Minister’s visit to Crimea was not coordinated with Ukrainian authorities.

Comment: What a joke. Someone please send the Ukrainian authorities a memo that they not only lost Crimea in a democratically held referendum that rejected the Kiev junta’s rule, but that no country but Ukraine even cares – except to use as a point of propaganda against Russia.

‘Vladimir the Terrible’ US Deep State Desperately Needs a Russian Villain to Cover Its Tracks – By Robert BRIDGE (Strategic Culture Foundation)

‘Vladimir the Terrible’ US Deep State Desperately Needs a Russian Villain to Cover Its Tracks
Robert BRIDGE | 26.07.2018 | WORLD / Americas

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that Russia became America’s sworn enemy in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. As is often the case, however, conventional wisdom can be illusory.

In the momentous 2016 showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a faraway dark kingdom known as Russia, the fantastic fable goes, hijacked that part of the American brain responsible for critical thinking and lever pulling with a few thousand dollars’ worth of Facebook and Twitter adverts, bots and whatnot. The result of that gross intrusion into the squeaky clean machinery of the God-blessed US election system is now more or less well-documented history brought to you by the US mainstream media: Donald Trump, with some assistance from the Russians that has never been adequately explained, pulled the presidential contest out from under the wobbly feet of Hillary Clinton. 

For those who unwittingly bought that work of fiction, I can only offer my sincere condolences. In fact, Russiagate is just the latest installment of an anti-Russia story that has been ongoing since the presidency of George W. Bush.

Act 1: Smokescreen

Rewind to September 24th, 2001. Having gone on record as the first global leader to telephone George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Putin showed his support went beyond mere words. He announced a five-point plan to support America in the ‘war against terror’ that included the sharing of intelligence, as well as the opening of Russian airspace for US humanitarian flights to Central Asia. 

In the words of perennial Kremlin critic, Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, Putin’s “acquiescence to NATO troops in Central Asia signaled a reversal of two hundred years of Russian foreign policy. Under Yeltsin, the communists, and the tsars, Russia had always considered Central Asia as its ‘sphere of influence.’ Putin broke with that tradition.”

In other words, the new Russian leader was demonstrating his desire for Russia to have, as Henry Kissinger explained it some seven years later, “a reliable strategic partner, with America being the preferred choice.”

This leads us to the question for the ages: If it was obvious that Russia was now fully prepared to enter into a serious partnership with the United States in the ‘war on terror,’ then how do we explain George W. Bush announcing the withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty just three months later? There are some things we may take away from that move, which Putin tersely and rightly described as a “mistake.”

First, Washington must not have considered a security partnership with Moscow very important, since they certainly understood that Russia would respond negatively to the decision to scrap the 30-year-old ABM Treaty. Second, the US must not considered the ‘war on terror’ very serious either; otherwise it would not have risked losing Russian assistance in hunting down the baddies in Central Asia and the Middle East, geographical areas where Russia has gained valuable experience over the years. This was a remarkably odd choice considering that the US military apparatus had failed spectacularly to defend the nation against a terrorist attack, coordinated by 19 amateurs, armed with box cutters, no less. Third, as was the case with the decision to invade Iraq, a country with nodiscernible connection to the events of 9/11, as well as the imposition of the pre-drafted Patriot Act on a shell-shocked nation, the decision to break with Russia seems to have been a premeditated move on the global chessboard. Although it would be hard to prove such a claim, we can take some guidance from Rahm Emanuel, former Obama Chief of Staff, who notoriously advised, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

So why did Bush abrogate the ABM Treaty with Russia? The argument was that some “rogue state,” rumored to be Iran, might be tempted to launch a missile attack against “US interests abroad.” Yet there was absolutely no logic to the claim since Tehran was inextricably bound by the same principle of “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) as were any other states that tempted fate with a surprise attack on US-Israeli interests. Further, it made no sense to focus attention on Shia-dominant Iran when the majority of the terrorists, allegedly acolytes of Osama bin Laden, reportedly hailed from Sunni-dominant Saudi Arabia. In other words, the Bush administration happily sacrificed an invincible relationship with Russia in the war on terror in order to guard against some external threat that only nominally existed, with a missile defense system that was largely unproven in the field. Again, zero logic.

However, when it is considered that the missile defense system was tailor-made by America specifically with Russia in mind, the whole scheme begins to make more sense, at least from a strategic perspective. Thus, the Bush administration used the attacks of 9/11 to not only dramatically curtail the civil rights of American citizens with the passage of the Patriot Act, it also took the first steps towards encircling Russia with a so-called ‘defense system’ that has the capacity to grow in effectiveness and range.

For those who thought Russia would just sit back and let itself be encircled by foreign missiles, they were in for quite a surprise. In March 2018, Putin stunned the world, and certainly Washington’s hawks, by announcing in the annual Address to the Federal Assembly the introduction of advanced weapons systems – including those with hypersonic capabilities – designed to overcome any missile defense system in the world.

These major developments by Russia, which Putin emphasized was accomplished “without the benefit” of Soviet-era expertise, has fueled the narrative that “Putin’s Russia” is an aggressive nation with “imperial ambitions,” when in reality its goal was to form a bilateral pact with the United States and other Western states almost two decades ago post 9/11.

Now, US officials can only wring their hands in angst while speaking about an “aggressive Russia.”

“Russia is the most significant threat just because they pose the only existential threat to the country right now. So we have to look at that from that perspective,” declared Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of US Strategic Command, or STRATCOM.

Putin reiterated in his Address, however, that there would have been no need for Russia to have developed such advanced weapon systems if its legitimate concerns had not been dismissed by the US. 

“Nobody wanted to talk with us on the core of the problem,” he said. “Nobody listened to us. Now you listen!”

To be continued: Part II: Reset, or ‘Overcharged’

Latest novichok poisoning: The silence of the media whores – By Craig Murray /craigmurray.org.uk(SOTT)

amesbury poisoning sturgess rowley

Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley

The mainstream media are making almost no effort today to fit Charlie Rowley’s account of his poisoning into the already ludicrous conspiracy theory being peddled by the government and intelligence agencies.

ITV News gamely inserted the phrase “poisoned by a Russian nerve agent” into their exclusive interview with Charlie Rowley, an interview in which they managed to ask no penetrating questions whatsoever, and of which they only broadcast heavily edited parts. Their own website contains this comment by their journalist Rupert Evelyn:

He said it was unopened, the box it was in was sealed, and that they had to use a knife in order to cut through it.

“That raises the question: if it wasn’t used, is this the only Novichok that exists in this city? And was it the same Novichok used to attack Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

But the information about opening the packet with a knife is not in the linked interview. What Rowley does say in the interview is that the box was still sealed in its cellophane. Presumably it was the cellophane he slit open with a knife.

So how can this fit in to the official government account? Presumably the claim is that Russian agents secretly visited the Skripal house, sprayed novichok on the door handle from this perfume bottle, and then, at an unknown location, disassembled the nozzle from the bottle (Mr Rowley said he had to insert it), then repackaged and re-cellophaned the bottle prior to simply leaving it to be discovered somewhere – presumably somewhere indoors as it still looked new – by Mr Rowley four months later. However it had not been found by anyone else in the interim four months of police, military and security service search.

Frankly, the case for this being the bottle allegedly used to coat the Skripals’ door handle looks wildly improbable. But then the entire government story already looked wildly improbable anyway – to the extent that I literally do not know a single person, even among my more right wing family and friends, who believes it. The reaction of the media, who had shamelessly been promoting the entirely evidence free “the Russians did it” narrative, to Mr Rowley’s extremely awkward piece of news has been to shove it as far as possible down the news agenda and make no real effort to reconcile it.

By his own account, Mr Rowley is not a reliable witness, his memory affected by the “Novichok”. It is not unreasonable to conjecture there may also be other reasons why he is vague about where and how he came into possession of this package of perfume.

The perfume bottle is now in the hands of the Police. Is it not rather strange that they have not published photos of it, to see if it jogs the memory of a member of the public who saw it somewhere in the last four months, or saw somebody with it? The “perpetrators” know what it looks like and already know the police have it, so that would not give away any dangerous information. You might believe the lockdown of the story and control of the narrative is more important to the authorities than solving the crime, which we should not forget is now murder.

Comment:

Why Russia Is Growing Gold Reserves to Record Levels – By SPUTNIK

Various gold bars are on display at the Bundesbank headquarter in Frankfurt, Germany (File)

© AP Photo / Michael Probst
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Fresh Russian Central Bank data shows that Moscow bought some 106 tons of gold since the start of 2018, with total reserves now approaching the 2,000 metric ton mark. News of the buy-up comes after a confirmation by the US Treasury Department that Russia dropped out of the top holders of US bonds. Sputnik explores the move and its possible reasons.

According to Russian Central Bank figures, Russia’s total gold reserves amounted to 1,944 tons as of June 2018, with the regulator pointing to a steady rise in holdings of the precious metal over the last decade (total gold reserves amounted to less than 500 tons in 2008). In the same period, the share of gold in Russia’s total reserves grew from just 2.5 percent to over 17 percent.

Last week, the US Treasury confirmed that Russia had undertaken a large-scale dumping of its T-bills, bonds and notes, with holdings falling from $92 billion in December 2017 to just $14.9 billion now, thereby pushing Russia out of the top 33 major holders of US securities. 

Russia’s total international reserves, including gold, now amount to $460 billion, with the Russian Central Bank aiming for $500 billion.

Escaping the Global Pyramid Scheme

US securities and the dollar, the latter serving as the de facto global currency, are currently considered to be among the most dependable high liquidity assets in the world. However, in an era of global economic instability stemming from geopolitical crises and fears of a global trade war, precious metals are seen as instruments providing security and a diversification of risk.

With total global unsecured debt hitting some $247 trillion (or 318 percent of global GDP) in June, gold is seen by many economists as a reliable store of value which, while also subject to fluctuations, cannot be drastically depreciated, or suffer an artificial collapse. The same cannot be said of treasuries (American or otherwise), which can collapse in value if a large debt holder were to suddenly dump its holdings.Speaking to Sputnik, Alexander Egorov, a currency strategist at TeleTrade, a Russian broker, outlined the risks associated with US securities.

“If for one reason or another a group of states were to present their Treasury holdings to the US for payment, they would simply become worthless. This is a pyramid, because the US, by all appearances, will never repay its debt. This scheme will continue to work so long as it is believed in,” Egorov said.

And although gold is less liquid than bonds, in the event of a crisis, such as a collapse of the existing global trade order, the precious metal would preserve the function of a means of payment in whatever chaos may ensue.

Keith Neumeyer, chairman of the board of First Mining Gold, a Vancouver-based development firm, said that the reason for Moscow’s rush to pull out of US T-bills and grow its reserves of gold was obvious.

“I’m certain that a global reset will take place when the governments of the world need to rid themselves of debt, and that they will tie everything to the price of gold. That’s why countries like Russia and China are accumulating gold – they know what may happen a few years from now,” he said.

Russia made it into the top five of gold-holding countries in February; if trends established over the past decade continue, Moscow may take third place in the near future. In the medium to long term, the country could return to the Soviet record of 2,800 tons of gold, according to Timur Nigmatullin, an analyst at Otkritie, a Moscow-based brokerage firm.However, Russia cannot rid itself of the dollar entirely, according to the analyst, since 70 percent of world trade is still conducted using the dollar. “Russia trades in oil, which is denominated in dollars. Accordingly, in order to support import/export operations, a large part of reserves should be in the US currency,” he said.

Supplies are Limited

Recently, Goldman Sachs predicted that the next few years would see a decline in global gold production. Goldcorp, one of the world’s largest gold mining companies, echoed this sentiment, suggesting that by 2022, gold production would fall to early 2000s levels. The US Geological Survey believes that if production continues at current levels, global untapped gold reserves will be exhausted by 2034.

With these factors in mind, Russia’s move to abandon US treasuries and stock up on the precious metal seems like a golden opportunity to secure its economic future.

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