How long will Belgrade seesaw between NATO and Russia?

by Sergey Belous

While a dozen lists are competing for the election of the new Serbian Parliament on 24 April 2016, and the coalition of President Tomislav Nikolić and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić is given winning by the polls, the country has to actually make a choice : should it accept today what he had refused yesterday —is to say an alliance with NATO—, or should it instead return to its traditional alliance with Orthodox Russia?

 

 

 

“We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing and that’s what they are going to get.” This was how then-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the draft peace agreement during a break at the conference in Rambouillet (February 1999). At the time the Yugoslav delegation had stated its willingness to concede many points, with the exception of independence for Kosovo (which was nonnegotiable for the Albanians). But the Yugoslavs did not see the final draft of the accord until the last day of the talks, and as it turned out, two-thirds of that document was entirely new to them (and they were presented with it literally only a few hours before the signing deadline) [1]. In particular, one of the newly introduced chapters (no. 7, appendix B, p.79) called for NATO troops to be deployed not only in Kosovo but throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Moreover, alliance personnel would, in this case, “be immune from the Parties’ jurisdiction in respect of any civil, administrative, criminal, or disciplinary offenses” and would “enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft, and equipment, free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters.” (para.6-8)

Feeling like they were being asked to accept terms of occupation and surrender, the officials from Belgrade refused to sign the agreement. NATO then treated this rebuff as a casus belli: after the Serbian government definitively rejected the ultimatum thrust upon them in the document, the alliance began missile and bomb strikes in Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999. It is telling that even Henry Kissinger later called the draft of the Rambouillet agreement “a provocation, an excuse to start bombing.”

As a result, NATO’s 78-day Operation Allied Force, which was never approved by the UN Security Council, damaged or destroyed 89 factories and industrial plants, 48 hospitals and infirmaries, 70 schools, 18 kindergartens, 9 university buildings, 4 dormitories, 82 bridges, 35 churches, and 29 monasteries. At the time the government put a price tag of $100 million on the damages inflicted on the country’s infrastructure and economy. But the biggest tragedy was that during the bombing campaigns (which employed banned cluster bombs and shells plated with depleted uranium), approximately 2,000 civilians were killed and another 10,000 seriously injured.

Paradoxically, on Feb. 12, 2016, the Serbian parliament ratified a new agreement with NATO that included terms very similar to those demanded in Rambouillet 17 years ago [2]. In other words, the bar that at the end of the 20th century Belgrade considered to be “set too high” and which they could not stomach even as a cost of war has now been accepted – little by little, unobtrusively, and almost meekly – over the past decade by Serbia’s new leaders.

In particular, the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the NATO Support and Procurement Organisation (NSPO) on Logistical Support Cooperation [3] requires the government in Belgrade to allow NSPO staff: to move freely throughout the country (article 10, paragraph 2), access to public and private facilities (article 11, paragraph 1), and diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention (article 10, paragraph 1), as well as to exempt the alliance’s property and representatives from customs duties and taxes (article 10, paragraphs 4 and 5).

This agreement was signed back in September 2015, but received almost no media coverage, and thus the “alarm bells” only went off for the public after it was ratified in February 2016 [4]. Responding to popular discontent and criticism from his opponents, Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić asked, “If we’re going to demand that NATO protect Serbs in northern Kosovo, how can we at the same time not allow it to enter northern Kosovo?”

But in fact, this rhetorical question is nonsensical (and not just because NATO has its own airfields in Kosovo as well as Camp Bondsteel, the second-largest American military base in Europe). NATO has never played any role in protecting Serbian interests in Kosovo.

Here’s an example. On Nov. 3, 2013, local elections were held in northern Kosovo for the first time under the authority of the government in Pristina. By the end of the day, voter turnout in many cities ranged from 5% to 14%. Because the Serbs did not want to take part in legitimizing the self-proclaimed republic, a campaign was launched to boycott what they called the “Albanian elections” (“šiptarske izbore”). Violence erupted in the evening: a group of men wielding bats pulled up in a black jeep without a license plate and broke into a polling station in Kosovska Mitrovica, smashing the ballot boxes (it is interesting that the police and OSCE staff had left that station half an hour before the attack). Although the leaders of the boycott campaign were neither involved nor complicit in that incident, Belgrade, Pristina, and Brussels blamed them for it and even claimed that the low voter turnout was the result of public “intimidation” by opponents of the election. A new election date was set for Nov. 17.

On that day Kosovska Mitrovica was literally inundated with soldiers and police, armed to the teeth and even driving armored vehicles (they included NATO’s KFOR troops, the EU Police Mission, and the Kosovo police force)! All this is to say that nothing prevented the alliance from interfering in events in northern Kosovo when it had something to gain from doing so. However, at that time its role was to deter peaceful protests and demonstrations of the strength of the local Serbian population. This was an example of an election (which had been initiated by the EU) that was literally held at gunpoint. Despite being pressured and threatened with layoffs and the loss of benefits payments from Belgrade, as well as other dirty little games – only 22.8% of the voters ultimately showed up to the polls. But that did not stop the EU from recognizing the elections as valid, despite the fact that in February 2012, Brussels had refused to accept the results of a referendum in northern Kosovo in which 75.28% of the voters turned out and 99.74% of them voted against recognizing the government of the “Republic of Kosovo.”

It is a fact that after NATO troops entered Kosovo, approximately 210,000 people were forced to leave (according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees), and over 300 Serbs were killed and 455 went missing just during the five-month stay of the international peacekeeping force. In addition, during the infamous wave of violence that took place March 17-19, 2004, NATO representatives passively allowed Albanian extremists to burn more than 900 Serb homes and to set fire to, severely damage, and desecrate 35 Orthodox monasteries (many of which date back to the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries and some are even under the protection of UNESCO), while also driving over 4,000 Serbs from the region.

Partnering but not joining

Serb leaders never tire of assuring their citizens that they have no aspirations to join the NATO Alliance. “Serbia has no plans to enter NATO, it wants to be militarily neutral,” stated Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić once again (on March 2, 2016), commenting on the opposition parties’ demand that a referendum be held on the issue. The head of the government does not think that there is a need for the public to vote on the matter. And it’s true that the people’s will would be easy to predict, because according to the latest public surveys, which were conducted in January and February of this year, only 10.5% of Serbian citizens support the idea of NATO membership, while 79.1% are opposed (10.4% declined to answer). A recent study by IPSOS revealed a similar pattern: only 7% hold a positive opinion of the alliance.

This was precisely why the ratification of the agreement was only covered by the media after the fact, and President Tomislav Nikolić hurriedly signed the ensuing law (confirming the treaty) on Feb. 19, the day before a scheduled protest to demand its veto. Immediately after many thousands of protesters flocked to an anti-NATO rally in Belgrade on Feb. 20, President Nikolić published an article titled, “Why I Signed the NATO Law,” [5] in which he tried to convince the public that the legal underpinnings and prerequisites for the statute had been established ten years earlier when Serbia joined the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program. Overall, the article resembles an attempt to shift the bulk of the responsibility for the rapprochement with the alliance onto the shoulders of previous administrations. But let’s look at how this process unfolded, in order to grasp the significance of the agreement and get an idea of what the future realistically holds for Serbia.

It all began right after the first-ever “electoral revolution,” which broke out in Belgrade in October 2000 (with Washington’s support). During this revolution, Slobodan Milošević – the president of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but who had fallen from favor in the West – was deposed. The new government quickly redirected the country’s foreign policy toward the ideal of European integration – which meant that Serbia was then predestined for assimilation into Europe’s security architecture, which is tightly bound to NATO.

The first turning point was the July 2005 agreement with NATO to allow transit for the purpose of conducting peacekeeping operations (this was primarily needed so that KFOR forces could pass through Serbia). In a way this was a precursor to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which was a key document that was signed in Washington in near secrecy in January 2014 by Nebojša Rodić, the then-minister of defense, and was just quietly and without public debate ratified by the Serbian Parliament in July 2015.

According to the SOFA, Belgrade will offer the alliance the opportunity to use Serbia’s military infrastructure, to train its soldiers at Serbia’s Jug military base, to bring the legal framework regulating defense into line with EU rules, and to introduce the standards of NATO and the Bologna Process into the military education system for Serbian officers. The agreement also includes a detailed description of the legal issues affecting the status, powers, and responsibility of both the military personnel arriving from overseas as well as the servicemen in the host country.

The next step was the signing in January 2015 of the operational document known as the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) [6], which dictates a broad spectrum of cooperation between Serbia and the NATO Alliance – not only in regard to security and defense, but also pertaining to the issues of human rights and economic, domestic, and foreign policy, including the prospect of European integration. It may seem baffling, but Serbia has even pledged to “[i]ntroduce a public information strategy on cooperation with Euro-Atlantic structures through PfP with the aim of gaining public support,” which means that Serbian taxpayers must shell out from their own pockets to pay for the propaganda directed against them. (!)

All of the above documents, in addition to the recent Logistical Support Agreement, so firmly tie Belgrade to the alliance that no particular purpose would be served by officially joining it (which at any rate would be impossible because of the negative opinion of the alliance and the unresolved problem of Kosovo). As the editor-in-chief of the magazine Nova srpska politička misao (“New Serbian Political Thought”), Đorđe Vukadinović, has aptly stated, “although Serbia has not officially entered NATO, NATO has effectively entered Serbia.”

“Geopolitical split”

Yet at the same time, and despite the escalating Euro-Atlantic propaganda, Russia’s popularity in Serbia is growing, and the idea of “European choice” is gradually losing its devotees. This is backed up by a study from the company Ipsos: in 2014, 54% of the public would have voted in favor of EU membership, but by early 2016 that number had dropped to 48%; and while 46% of respondents expressed a positive opinion of Russia in 2014, this year that number has risen to 72%!

A survey conducted by the weekly Vreme (“Time”) not only came up with an almost identical number – 50.9% – after tabulating the responses about European integration, but the news magazine also included the question “Do you support an alliance with Russia?” to which 67.2% answered affirmatively (18.8% were opposed and 14% declined to answer).

And finally, according to the most recent study conducted by a Serbian NGO, the Center for Free Elections and Democracy (CeSID), which is funded by Western foundations and states, on the eve of the snap elections for parliament (scheduled for April 24th), 71.6% of the public is against the idea of “Serbian membership in the EU and NATO” (with 11.2% “in favor” and 14% “undecided”), and 55.2% of the electorate have indicated their preference for the “traditional affiliation with Russia” (with 19.2% “against” and 21.5% “undecided”).

In this context, the oft-delayed signing of the agreement to grant diplomatic status to the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Niš (as was recently granted to the NSPO) looks very suspect. It’s worth remembering that in May 2014, when Serbia was hit by a devastating flood, Russian rescue teams were the first to arrive and in only two days managed to evacuate more than 2.000 residents (including over 600 children) from the flood zone, while the Russian Ministry of Emergency Management delivered over 140 tons of humanitarian relief to Serbia (as well as to Bosnia and Herzegovina). According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the real problem lies in Germany’s desire to prevent any expansion of Russian influence in the Balkans [7]. The periodical stated that “Merkel telephoned Serbian Prime Minister Vučić, urging him not to sign such an agreement because Berlin is afraid that this center could become a permanent base for Russian espionage.” At an April 1 press conference hosted by the foreign ministers of Serbia and Russia, Sergey Lavrov made an interesting statement, “Over the years of this center’s operations we have responded to this type of fear and grumbling by inviting the EU and US to visit the center and see for themselves what the staff are doing. As might be expected, the EU has refused our invitations. They know that their claims are false.”

Serbian government officials continue to chant the phrase “military neutrality” at every opportunity, like a mantra. This is because a 2007 parliamentary resolution made reference to NATO’s negative role in recent Serbian history while announcing a “decision to proclaim the Republic of Serbia’s military neutrality toward existing military alliances until such time as a referendum is held that will render a final decision on the matter.” [8]

However, under international law – specifically the Hague Conventions of 1907 – during wartime it is “forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.” In other words, in the event of a regional or international conflict, NATO’s Logistical Support Agreement could invalidate Serbia’s neutral status. In addition, the very idea of EU integration presumes a “common policy toward security and defense” – which is also somewhat inconsistent with euphemisms such as “military neutrality.”

The questionable principle of “balance” has also been turned on its head in regard to military cooperation: in 2015 only two Russian-Serbian joint exercises were conducted, while the Serbian army took part in 22 exercises alongside NATO. And even this limited cooperation with Moscow was sharply condemned by the EU. Maja Kocijančič, a spokesperson for the European Commission, denounced Serbia’s consent to Moscow’s proposal to hold two special-forces joint exercises in 2016: “Under the current circumstances, such a joint military exercise [between Serbia and Russia] would send the wrong signal.”

The new government that will be formed after the April 24 elections won’t have it easy: the rapidly growing estrangement between the Euro-Atlantic community and Russia means that Belgrade will eventually emerge as a geostrategic fault line. When, figuratively speaking, the earth begins to shift under the feet of the Serbian elite, no virtuoso “geopolitical splits” will allow them to avoid answering key question – whose side are they on, anyway?

Source
Oriental Review (Russia)


Eurasia-News-Online Comment:

There is more chance that Sun will raise from the west than Serbian PEOPLE joining Nazi NATO made of some of the most genocidal ex colonial powers in history of this planet!

Every government in Serbia should remember 27th. March of 1941. before they sign Serbian membership in NATO! People of Serbia will not tolerate it under any circumstances.

 

Cuban People and their revolution will be VICTORIOUS!

 

In a rare public appearance, the 89-year-old former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, delivered a speech on Tuesday, telling Communist Party members that he is nearing the end of his life.

“I’ll be 90 years old soon. Soon I’ll be like all the others,” Castro said.

The leader, who brought revolution to Cuba in the 1950s, stressed that the ideals fostered during that struggle will live on.

“The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof on this planet that if they are worked at with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we need to fight without a truce to obtain them.”

Castro’s comments come as the Communist Party selects his younger brother, current Cuban President Raul Castro, to be the head of the party for the next five years.

The younger Castro is set to step down as president in 2018.

Havana has seen a historic shift in relations with Washington under the administration of President Barack Obama. After normalizing trade relations, Obama became last month the first US President in nearly 90 years to visit Cuba.

“This may be one of the last times I speak in this room,” Castro said. “We must tell our brothers in Latin America and the world that the Cuban people will be victorious.”

Source:

USA Neoconservatives against World Peace

Answer to Paul Craig Roberts question – “What if Russia respond in kind” shortly will be

 

RUSSIA WILL RESPOND IN KIND – WHEN TIME IS RIGHT – AND USA NEOCONSERVATIVES CAN ONLY EXPECT TO DO AS WELL AS GERMAN NAZIS DID IN STALINGRAD. IT IS LONG PARTY OF CHESS MATE AND THERE WILL BE NOW DRAW. ARE YOU READY?


Paul Craig Roberts

 

When Ronald Reagan turned his back on the neoconservatives, fired them, and had some of them prosecuted, his administration was free of their evil influence, and President Reagan negotiated the end of the Cold War with Soviet President Gorbachev.

The military/security complex, the CIA, and the neocons were very much against ending the Cold War as their budgets, power, and ideology were threatened by the prospect of peace between the two nuclear superpowers.I know about this, because I was part of it.  I helped Reagan create the economic base for bringing the threat of a new arms race to a failing Soviet economy in order to pressure the Soviets into agreement to end the Cold War, and I was appointed to a secret presidential committee with subpeona power over the CIA. The secret committee was authorized by President Reagan to evaluate the CIA’s claim that the Soviets would prevail in an arms race. The secret committee concluded that this was the CIA’s way of perpetuting the Cold War and the CIA’s importance.
The George H. W. Bush administration and its Secretary of State James Baker kept Reagan’s promises to Gorbachev and achieved the reunification of Germany with promises that NATO would not move one inch to the East.
The corrupt Clintons, for whom the accumulation of riches seems to be their main purpose in life, violated the assurances given by the United States that had ended the Cold War. The two puppet presidents-George W. Bush and Obama-who followed the Clintons lost control of the US government to the neocons, who promptly restarted the Cold War, believing in their hubris and arrogance that History has chosen the US to exercise hegemony over the world.

Thus was mankind’s chance for peace lost along with America’s leadership of the world.  Under neocon influence, the United States government threw away its soft power and its ability to lead the world into a harmonious existance over which American influence would have prevailed.

nstead the neocons threatened the world with coercion and violence, attacking eight countries and fomenting “color revolutions” in former Soviet republics.

The consequence of this crazed insanity was to create an economic and military strategic alliance between Russia and China. Without the neocons’ arrogant policy, this alliance would not exist.  It was a decade ago that I began writing about the strategic alliance between Russia and China that is a response to the neocon claim of US world hegemony.

The strategic alliance between Russia and China is militarily and economically too strong for Washington. China controls the production of the products of many of America’s leading corporations, such as Apple.  China has the largest foreign exchange reserves in the world. China can, if the government wishes, cause a massive increase in the American money supply by dumping its trillions of dollars of US financial assets.

To prevent a collapse of US Treasury prices, the Federal Reserve would have to create trillions of new dollars in order to purchase the dumped financial instruments. The rest of the world would see another expansion of dollars without an expansion of real US output and become skepical of the US dollar. If the world abandoned the US dollar, the US government could no longer pay its bills.

Europe is dependent on Russian energy. Russia can cut off this energy. There are no alternatives in the short-run, and perhaps not in the long run. If Russia shuts off the energy, Germany industry shuts down. Europeans freeze to death in the winter. Despite these facts, the neocons have forced Europe to impose economic sanctions on Russia.

What if Russia responded in kind?

NATO, as US military authorities admit, has no chance of invading Russia or withstanding a Russian attack on NATO.  NATO is a cover for Washington’s war crimes.  It can provide no other service.

Thanks to the greed of US corporations that boosted their profits by offshoring their production to China, China is moderinized many decades before the neocons thought possible. China’s military forces are moderized with Russian weapons technology. New Chinese missiles make the vaunted US Navy and its aircraft carriers obsolete.

The neocons boast how they have surrounded Russia, but it is America that is surrounded by Russia and China, thanks to the incompetent leadership that the US has had beginning with the Clintons. Judging from Killary’s support in the current presidential primaries, many voters seem determined to perpetuate incompetent leadership.

Despite being surrounded, the neocons are pressing for war with Russia which means also with China. If Killary Clinton makes it to the White House, we could get the neocon’s war.

The neocons have flocked to the support of Killary. She is their person. Watch the feminized women of America put Killary in office.  Keep in mind that Congress gave its power to start wars to the president.

The United States does not have a highly intelligent or well informed population. The US owes its 20th century dominance to World War I and World War II which destroyed more capable countries and peoples. America became a superpower because of the self-destruction of other countries.Despite neocon denials that their hubris has created a powerful alliance against the US, a professor at the US Navy War College stresses the reality of the Russian-Chinese strategic alliance#mce_temp_url#.

Last August a joint Russian-Chinese sea and air exercise took place in the Sea of Japan, making it clear to America’s Japanese vassal that it was defenceless if Russia and China so decided.

The Russian defense minister Sergey Shoigu said that the joint exercise illustrates the partnership between the two powers and its stabilizing effect on that part of the world.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Russian-Chinese relations are able to resist any international crises.

The only achievements of the American neoconservatives are to destroy in war crimes millions of peoples in eight countries and to send the remnant populations fleeing into Europe as refugees, thus undermining the American puppet governments there, and to set back the chances of world peace and American leadership by creating a powerful strategic alliance between Russia and China.

This boils down to extraordinary failure. It is time to hold the neoconservatives accountable, not elect another puppet for them to manipulate.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do notnecessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

The views expressed in this article are solely of those of the author and absolutely reflect official position of Eurasia-News-Online!

Overturning “Inverted Totalitarianism”

 

The Tightening Grip of Corporations on the U.S. Government

 

Perhaps the most important result so far of the Bernie Sanders insurgency is how starkly it has exposed the truly totalitarian nature of the 21st century American state.- there is no real distinction between state and corporate power.

[Editor’s note: We decided not to cover the US Presidential Elections, but in this instance we believe that this article clearly points out why the TPP and the TTIP are so dangerous in real on the ground terms where voters can do something to stop it.The presidential campaign hs turned out to be the circus we knew it was going to be with the usual lies coming out of CNN and Fox and the usual voter fraud. And the result will be the usual stream rolling of the American people into a Globalist, Corporate Fascist TPP world ignoring anything they might think or believe.]

by Michael Hasty, Global Research: 

Of course, this is not totalitarianism of the classic Orwellian variety. It is the “inverted totalitarianism” that the late political scientist Sheldon Wolin so brilliantly described in his book, “Democracy, Incorporated.” In a system of inverted totalitarianism, there is no real distinction between state and corporate power. In this system, a carefully “managed democracy,” as Wolin called it, is supervised by a technocratic elite in the general service of corporate interests.

In inverted totalitarianism, the outward forms of democracy continue to exist—enough to keep a deliberately uninformed populace under the illusion that they still live in a democracy—but the actual levers of government are tightly controlled by Wall Street and its associated industries—finance, armaments, energy and media.

What makes this system of totalitarianism “inverted” is that, instead of being ruled by a “strong leader,” like you find in classic 1930s-style fascism—the earlier, more primitive version of the merger of corporate and state power—the system is instead governed by a consensus of corporate interests, with a puppet US president answering to the “phalanx of CEOs” that Bob Woodward once described as immediately surrounding every new American president.

And Bill Clinton, with his brilliant technocratic grasp of policy, and his enthusiastic embrace of so-called “free trade” agreements, and his ruthless commitment to American imperialism, and his welfare and telecommunications and banking “reforms”—all of which served to increase the share of global wealth owned by the 1 percent—proved himself a very effective “manager” of democracy indeed. So he was generously rewarded for his services to the elite with millions in post-presidential speaking fees, and millions more in donations to a foundation that primarily serves as a personal family slush fund, and was welcomed wholeheartedly into the 1 percent—his trailer trash background and habits notwithstanding.

It is therefore a natural development for the global elites who oversee the world’s economic system to hire Bill Clinton’s longtime “partner in power,” with equal confidence in her ability to provide the certainty and stability that capitalism and the financial markets depend on, and with the knowledge that she will do her utmost to protect and maintain the status quo.

Making Hillary president has the added benefit for the ruling elites of making it appear as if the US is moving in a more liberal direction politically. This helps to disguise the tightening grip of transnational capital on the US government, not to mention those of democracies worldwide, and keeps liberals confused.

Meanwhile, a Hillary presidency will guarantee that Americans remain divided, as a Republican Congress—the likely result of a November enthusiasm gap—mine the files of the Clinton Foundation or, who knows, maybe Benghazi, for impeachable offenses, cheered on by those who have hated her with righteous fury ever since she was First Lady. And left and right will square off as enemies, rather than uniting as compatriots with a common foe: a corrupt American government that no longer functions either as ademocracy or, in any meaningful sense, a republic. And a corrupt and unjust system will be protected from a united populace.

It is Bernie’s ability to unite Americans that I think has brought the greatest shock to the establishment. They were already alarmed by his ability to spark a movement, and to organize a campaign, and to outflank the media narrative, and to rack up victory after victory, and to beat the establishment’s anointed candidate at her own high-stakes and all-important game—raising money—all of which have been minimized to the greatest extent possible by a well-coordinated and relentlessly on-message corporate/state media.

But because of the authenticity and commonsense nature of his message, it is Bernie’s ability to appeal not only to progressives, but to independents and conservatives, and to unite people in the common cause of cleaning up a corrupt and decadent political system, that seems to have made the establishment realize that his political revolution could actually be a genuine threat.

So in their eyes, it must be stopped.

This serious turn in the establishment attitude is, as usual, most evident in the media. As long ago as 2014, the media has been in the tank for Hillary, as Chris Cuomo openly admitted on CNN. “We couldn’t help her any more than we have,” he said on June 9, 2014. “She’s getting a free ride from the media. We’re the biggest ones promoting her campaign.”

That media pattern of Hillary promotion has been apparent throughout the campaign, but has intensified in the wake of the Wisconsin primary, where Bernie’s 13-point victory vastly outperformed every mainstream prediction, and an uninterrupted Bernie winning streak made the media’s “inevitability” narrative look increasingly silly.

As progressive radio host Thom Hartman has noted, most of the post-Wisconsin cable news coverage has concentrated on the Republican race (where Ted Cruz is much farther behind Donald Trump than Bernie is of Hillary). An absurd example of this occurred when Nation reporter John Nichols, a very early advocate for Bernie Sanders, appeared on a panel on CNN the day after Wisconsin, and was only asked about Cruz. The media are continuing a pattern of ignoring Bernie as much as possible. And the headlines about his string of victories are all, “Bernie wins, but math.”

Please follow the LINK to finish reading of the original article

 

Source:

https://theinternationalreporter.org/2016/04/09/overturning-inverted-totalitarianism-the-tightening-grip-of-corporations-on-the-u-s-government/

Kosovo – EU “Natostan” – European Narco-State

 

Former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) militant Hashim Thaci was treated to a lavish inauguration ceremony on Friday, the ceremony attended by over a thousand guests from 50 countries, including diplomats from states which recognize Kosovo, which broke off from Serbia in 2008. Sputnik offers a brief analysis of the alleged ex-bandit turned president.

In her 2008 book entitled The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecutor Carla Del Ponte alleged that Thaci was directly involved in the KLA’s illegal organ trade; the KLA was accused of harvesting the organs of mostly Serbian prisoners of war at secret detention centers in Albania.

In 1999, the prosecutor wrote, about 300 Serbs and other non-Albanians were kidnapped and taken to northern Albania, where their organs were removed, and sent, for profit, to hospitals across Europe.

In late 2010, Swiss politician Dick Marty presented an expansive report on the issue to the Council of Europe, saying there were “credible, convergent indications” that the illegal organ harvesting was indeed taking place, and that Thaci was the head of the “mafia-like” group responsible for the organ harvesting, as well as drug and weapons smuggling to countries across Europe.

Thaci denied the allegations and said that he would file a lawsuit against Marty, but never did.

Unfortunately, the breakaway’s political establishment, and their benefactors in Europe and the US, seem to have accepted a situation where the geopolitical project they helped initiate in 1999 by bombing Yugoslavia is now headed by a suspected criminal, whose gang is suspected of some of the most grisly crimes imaginable.


The End of the Affair? The BND, CIA and Kosovo’s Deep State

By Tom Burghardt (Antifascist Calling)
When three officers of Germany’s foreign intelligence service the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), were arrested in Pristina November 19, it exposed that country’s extensive covert operations in the heart of the Balkans.

On November 14, a bomb planted at the office of the European Union Special Representative was detonated in downtown Pristina. While damage was light and there were no injuries, U.N. “peacekeepers” detained one of the BND officers hours after the blast when he was observed taking photos of the damaged building. Two of his colleagues waited in a car and acted as lookouts. The officer named these two colleagues as witnesses that he was in his office at the time of the attack.

That office, identified by the press as the “private security firm” Logistics-Coordination & Assessment Service or LCAS, in reality was a front company for BND operations. Its premises were searched three days later and the trio were subsequently arrested and accused by Kosovan authorities of responsibility for bombing the EU building. As a result of the arrests, the BND was forced to admit the real identities of their agents and the true nature of LCAS.

A scandal erupted leading to a diplomatic row between Berlin and Pristina. The German government labeled the accusations “absurd” and threatened a cut-off of funds to the Kosovo government. A circus atmosphere prevailed as photos of the trio were shown on Kosovan TV and splashed across the front pages of the press. Rumors and dark tales abounded, based on leaks believed by observers to have emanated from the office of Kosovo’s Prime Minister, the “former” warlord Hashim Thaci, nominal leader of the statelet’s organized crime-tainted government.

When seized by authorities one of the BND officers, Andreas J., demonstrated very poor tradecraft indeed. Among the items recovered by police, the operative’s passport along with a notebook containing confidential and highly incriminating information on the situation in Kosovo were examined. According to media reports, the notebook contained the names of well-placed BND informants in the Prime Minister’s entourage. According to this reading, the arrests were an act of revenge by Thaci meant to embarrass the German government.

But things aren’t always as they seem.

On November 29, the trio–Robert Z., Andreas J. and Andreas D.–departed Kosovo on a special flight bound for Berlin where they “will face a committee of German parliamentarians who have taken an interest in their case,” according to an account in Spiegel Online.

More curious than a violent attack on the streets of Pristina, a city wracked by gangland killings, car hijackings, kidnappings and assaults is the provenance of the bomb itself. In other words, why would German intelligence agents attack their own? But before attempting to answer this question, a grim backstory to the affair rears its ugly head.

Kosovo: A European Narco State

When Kosovo proclaimed its “independence” in February, the Western media hailed the provocative dismemberment of Serbia, a move that completed the destruction of Yugoslavia by the United States, the European Union and NATO, as an exemplary means to bring “peace and stability” to the region.

If by “peace” one means impunity for rampaging crime syndicates or by “stability,” the freedom of action with no questions asked by U.S. and NATO military and intelligence agencies, not to mention economic looting on a grand scale by freewheeling multinational corporations, then Kosovo has it all!

From its inception, the breakaway Serb province has served as a militarized outpost for Western capitalist powers intent on spreading their tentacles East, encircling Russia and penetrating the former spheres of influence of the ex-Soviet Union. As a template for contemporary CIA destabilization operations in Georgia and Ukraine, prospective EU members and NATO “partners,” Kosovo should serve as a warning for those foolish enough to believe American clichs about “freedom” or the dubious benefits of “globalization.”

Camp Bondsteel, located on rolling hills and farmland near the city of Ferizaj/Urosevac,is the largest U.S. military installation on the European continent. Visible from space, in addition to serving as an NSA listening post pointed at Russia and as the CIA’s operational hub in the Balkans and beyond, some observers believe that Andreas J.’s notebook may have contained information that Camp Bondsteel continues to serve as a CIA “black site.” One motive for rolling up the BND intelligence operation may have been U.S. fears that this toxic information would become public, putting paid U.S. claims that it no longer kidnaps and tortures suspected “terrorists.”

When NATO partners Germany and the U.S. decided to drive a stake through Yugoslavia’s heart in the early 1990s during the heady days of post-Cold War triumphalism, their geopolitical strategy could not have achieved “success” without the connivance, indeed active partnership amongst Yugoslavia’s nationalist rivals. As investigative journalist Misha Glenny documented,

Most shocking of all, however, is how the gangsters and politicians fueling war between their peoples were in private cooperating as friends and close business partners. The Croat, Bosnian, Albanian, Macedonian, and Serb moneymen and mobsters were truly thick as thieves. They bought, sold, and exchanged all manner of commodities, knowing that the high levels of personal trust between them were much stronger than the transitory bonds of hysterical nationalism. They fomented this ideology among ordinary folk in essence to mask their own venality. As one commentator described it, the new republics were ruled by “a parastate Cartel which had emerged from political institutions, the ruling Communist Party and its satellites, the military, a variety of police forces, the Mafia, court intellectuals and with the president of the Republic at the center of the spider web…Tribal nationalism was indispensable for the cartel as a means to pacify its subordinates and as a cover for the uninterrupted privatization of the state apparatus. (McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p. 27)

Glenny’s description of the 1990s convergence of political, economic and security elites with organized crime syndicates in Western intelligence operations is the quintessential definition of the capitalist deep state.

In Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott describes how the deep state can be characterized by “the symbiosis between governments (and in particular their intelligence agencies) and criminal associations, particularly drug traffickers, in the stabilization of right-wing terror in Vietnam, Italy, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and other parts of the world.” Indeed, “revelations in the 1970s and 1980s about the ‘strategy of tension,’ whereby government intelligence agencies, working in international conjunction, strengthened the case for their survival by actually fomenting violence, recurringly in alliance with drug-trafficking elements.”

Scott’s analysis is perhaps even more relevant today as “failed states” such as Kosovo, characterized by economic looting on an industrial scale, the absence of the rule of law, reliance on far-right terrorists (of both the “religious” and “secular” varieties) to achieve policy goals, organized crime syndicates, as both assets and executors of Western policy, and comprador elites are Washington’s preferred international partners.

For the ruling elites of the former Yugoslavia and their Western allies, Kosovo is a veritable goldmine. Situated in the heart of the Balkans, Kosovo’s government is deeply tied to organized crime structures: narcotrafficking, arms smuggling, car theft rings and human trafficking that feeds the sex slave “industry.” These operations are intimately linked to American destabilization campaigns and their cosy ties to on-again, off-again intelligence assets that include al-Qaeda and other far-right terror gangs. As investigative journalist Peter Klebnikov documented in 2000,

The Kosovar traffickers ship heroin exclusively from Asia’s Golden Crescent. It’s an apparently inexhaustible source. At one end of the crescent lies Afghanistan, which in 1999 surpassed Burma as the world’s largest producer of opium poppies. From there, the heroin base passes through Iran to Turkey, where it is refined, and then into the hands of the 15 Families, which operate out of the lawless border towns linking Macedonia, Albania, and Serbia. Not surprisingly, the KLA has also flourished there. According to the State Department, four to six tons of heroin move through Turkey every month. “Not very much is stopped,” says one official. “We get just a fraction of the total.” (“Heroin Heroes,” Mother Jones, January-February 2000)

Not much has changed since then. Indeed, the CIA’s intelligence model for covert destabilization operations is a continuing formula for “success.” Beginning in the 1940s, when the Corsican Mafia was pegged by the Agency to smash the French Communist Party, down to today’s bloody headlines coming out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, global drug lords and intelligence operators go hand in hand. It is hardly surprising then, that according to a report by the Berlin Institute for European Policy, organized crime is the only profitable sector of the Kosovan economy. Nearly a quarter of the country’s economic output, some <82>550 million, is derived from criminal activities.

Though the role of the United States and their NATO partners are central to the drama unfolding today, the BND affair also reveals that beneath the carefully-constructed faade of Western “unity” in “Freedom Land,” deep inter-imperialist rivalries simmer. As the socialist journalist Peter Schwarz reports,

Speculation has since been rife about the background to the case, but it is doubtful whether it will ever be clarified. Kosovo is a jungle of rival secret services. In this regard, it resembles Berlin before the fall of the Wall. The US, Germany, Britain, Italy and France all have considerable intelligence operations in the country, which work both with and against one another. Moreover, in this country of just 2.1 million inhabitants, some 15,000 NATO soldiers and 1,500 UN police officers are stationed, as well as 400 judges, police officers and security officers belonging to the UN’s EULEX mission. (Peter Schwarz, “Kosovo’s Dirty Secret: The Background to Germany’s Secret Service Affair,” World Socialist Web Site, December 1, 2008)

Into this jungle of conflicting loyalties and interests, international crime syndicates in close proximity–and fleeting alliance–with this or that security service rule the roost. It is all the more ironic that the Thaci government has targeted the BND considering, as Balkan analyst Christopher Deliso revealed:

In 1996, Germany’s BND established a major station in Tirana…and another in Rome to select and train future KLA fighters. According to Le Monde Diplomatique, “special forces in Berlin provided the operational training and supplied arms and transmission equipment from ex-East German Stasi stocks as well as Black uniforms.” The Italian headquarters recruited Albanian immigrants passing through ports such as Brindisi and Trieste, while German military intelligence, the Militaramschirmdienst, and the Kommando Spezialkrfte Special Forces (KSK), offered military training and provisions to the KLA in the remote Mirdita Mountains of northern Albania controlled by the deposed president, Sali Berisha. (The Coming Balkan Caliphate, Westport: Praeger Security International, 2007, p. 37)

But as Schwarz observed, why would the Thaci government risk alienating the German state, given the fact that after the U.S., Germany “is the second largest financial backer of Kosovo and ranks among the most important advocates of its independence.” Why indeed?

According to Balkan Analysis, the International Crisis Group (ICG) funded by billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI) and closely aligned with “liberal interventionists” in the United States, were instrumental in arguing that the United States and Germany, should guarantee “future stability,” by building up the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK), the KLA’s successor organization, into a well-equipped army. Towards this end, the U.S. and Germany, in addition to arming the organized crime-linked statelet, have provided funds and equipment for a sophisticated military communications center in the capital.

Speculation is rife and conflicting accounts proliferate like mushrooms after a warm rain. One theory has it that senior Kosovan politicians were angered by BND criticisms linking KLA functionaries, including personal associates of Thaci and the Prime Minister himself, with organized crime. Tellingly, Schwarz reports, this “is contrary to the position taken by the CIA.”

Is the affair then, merely a falling-out among thieves on how the spoils will be divided?

The CIA: Drugs & Thugs International

As noted above, U.S. destabilization programs and covert operations rely on far-flung networks of far-right provocateurs and drug lords (often interchangeable players) to facilitate the dirty work for U.S. policy elites and American multinational corporations. Throughout its Balkan adventure the CIA made liberal use of these preexisting narcotics networks to arm the KLA and provide them with targets. In their public pronouncements and analyses however, nary a harsh word is spoken.

According to the CIA, by any standard Kosovo’s economy is a disaster, but that doesn’t prevent the Agency from seeing “significant progress”!

Over the past few years Kosovo’s economy has shown significant progress in transitioning to a market-based system, but it is still highly dependent on the international community and the diaspora for financial and technical assistance. Remittances from the diaspora–located mainly in Germany and Switzerland–account for about 30% of GDP. Kosovo’s citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $1800–about one-third the level of neighboring Albania. Unemployment–at more than 40% of the population–is a severe problem that encourages outward migration. (Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, November 20, 2008)

Needless to say, one unmentionable “fact” disappeared from the CIA’s country profile is the statelet’s overwhelming dependence on the black economy. I suppose this is what the Agency means when it lauds Kosovo’s transition to a “market-based system”!But as former DEA investigator and whistleblower Michael Levine, author of The Big White Lie, told B92, one of the wings of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was “linked with every known narco-cartel in the Middle East and the Far East”, and that almost every European intelligence service and police has files on “connections between ethnic Albanian rebels and drug trafficking”. And dare I say by extension, the CIA itself.

One bone of contention which could have led Thaci and his henchmen to seek revenge against his erstwhile German allies was a 67-page BND analysis about organized crime in Kosovo. As Schwarz noted the dossier, produced in February 2005 and subsequently leaked to the press, “accuses Ramush Haradinaj (head of government from December 2004 to March 2005), Hashim Thaci (prime minister since January 2008) and Xhavit Haliti, who sits in the parliament presidium, of being deeply implicated in the drugs trade.”

According to the BND report, “Regarding the key players (e.g., Haliti, Thaci, Haradinaj), there exists the closest ties between politics, business and internationally operating OC [organized crime] structures in Kosovo. The criminal networks behind this are encouraging political instability. They have no interest in building a functioning state, which could impair their flourishing trade.” (WSWS, op. cit.)

Haradinaj, an American protegee, became Prime Minister in 2004. However, he was forced to resign his post in March 2005 when the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia indicted him for crimes against humanity. Among other things, Haradinaj was accused of abducting civilians, unlawful detention, torture, murder and rape. Schwarz notes he was acquitted in April 2008 “for lack of evidence, after nine out of ten prosecution witnesses died violently and the tenth withdrew his statement after narrowly escaping an assassination attempt.” Talk about friends in high places!

Mirroring evidence uncovered by journalists and investigators regarding the control of the drugs trade by 15 Albanian crime families, the Berlin Institute for European Policy laid similar charges against Thaci, stating that real power in Kosovo is wielded by 15 to 20 family clans who control “almost all substantial key social positions” and are “closely linked to prominent political decision makers.”

According to Spiegel, when the BND operation was run to ground with the possible connivance of the CIA, its secret network of informants, instrumental to gaining insight into the interconnections amongst state actors and organized crime were compromised. The BND’s Department Five, responsible for organized crime wrote a confidential report linking Thaci as “a key figure in a Kosovar-Albanian mafia network.”

Department Two, according to Spiegel, was responsible for telecommunications surveillance. In 1999, the BND launched operation “Mofa99,” a wiretap intercept program that targeted high-ranking members of the KLA–and exposed their links to dodgy criminal syndicates and Islamist allies, al-Qaeda. The program was so successful according to Spiegel that since then, “the BND has maintained an extensive network of informants among high-ranking functionaries of the KLA and the Kosovar administration.”

Functionaries in possession of many dangerous secrets and inconvenient truths!

As researcher and analyst Michel Chossudovsky wrote back in 2001, among the “inconvenient truths” unexplored by Western media is the close proximity of far-right Islamist terror gangs and planetary U.S. destabilization operations.

Since the Soviet-Afghan war, recruiting Mujahedin (“holy warriors”) to fight covert wars on Washington’s behest has become an integral part of US foreign policy. A report of the US Congress has revealed how the US administration–under advice from the National Security Council headed by Anthony Lake–had “helped turn Bosnia into a militant Islamic base” leading to the recruitment through the so-called “Militant Islamic Network,” of thousands of Mujahedin from the Muslim world.

The “Bosnian pattern” has since been replicated in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Macedonia. Among the foreign mercenaries now fighting with the KLA-NLA are Mujahedin from the Middle East and the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union as well as “soldiers of fortune” from several NATO countries including Britain, Holland and Germany. Some of these Western mercenaries had previously fought with the KLA and the Bosnian Muslim Army. (Michel Chossudovsky, “Washington Behind Terrorist Assaults in Macedonia,” Global Research, September 10, 2001)

Fast forward seven years and one can hypothesize that the BND, stepping on the CIA’s toes and that agency’s cosy intelligence “understanding” with Mafia-linked KLA fighters and al-Qaeda assets, would have every reason to sabotage the BND’s organized crime operations–not that the German military intelligence service’s hands are any cleaner!

While we may never know all the facts surrounding this curious affair, one thing is certain: the role played by powerful Mafia gangs as a source for black funds, intelligence assets and CIA “agents of influence” will continue. Administrations come and go, but like motherhood and apple pie the shadowy workings of America’s deep state is an eternal verity you can count on!
First appeared in Antifascist Calling. Thanks to Tom Burghardt and Antifascist Calling for covering this document. Copyright remains with the aforementioned

Sources:

The EU – occupied, confused and suicidal

 

The EU is the biggest “regime change” ever performed by Anglo-Saxon gang of the “five eyes” led by USA/UK. Is that any surprise? Of course not for a bunch of countries that accepted to live under foreign occupation since around 1939. I guess that is why they love using word “freedom” so much – some sort of nostalgia.


 

 

This disaster did not have to happen, it was entirely man made. In a saner world, the EU, Russia and the Ukraine could have negotiated a tripartite deal which would have given the Ukraine the role which geography and history have given it: to be a bridge between Russia and the EU. But the EU categorically rejected this option, several times, simply declaring that “the Ukraine is a sovereign state and Russia has no say in Ukrainian matters”.

from The Saker: 

This article was written for the Unz Review:http://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-eus-suicide-by-reality-denial/

What had to happen did happen. The EU, being the chain of weak links it is, did eventually give in, and the Dutch people were the first one to vote against the association with the Ukraine. Of course, the Euroburocrats can now find some reason to declare the vote invalid, they can declare that some law was violated, they can even negotiate some minor change the to association agreement, or they might even decide that they can simply ignore this vote. But none of that will make any difference: the undeniable truth is that the Ukrainians are not welcome in the EU, not as associates and even less so as members. So no EU, no NATO no “European future” for the Ukraine. The entire hot air balloon which has been fueling the naïve and ugly hopes of the Euromaidan has burst and the Euro-Ukrainian project is crash and burning like the Hindenburg.

This disaster did not have to happen, it was entirely man made. In a saner world, the EU, Russia and the Ukraine could have negotiated a tripartite deal which would have given the Ukraine the role which geography and history have given it: to be a bridge between Russia and the EU. But the EU categorically rejected this option, several times, simply declaring that “the Ukraine is a sovereign state and Russia has no say in Ukrainian matters”. This zero sum game was forced on Russia against her will but now it is the EU which has lost it all, even if this is by no means a victory for Russia either. The sad reality is that everybody has lost. Now the EU has to accept the total defeat of its Ukrainian policy, Russia is now alone looking at a dying failed state right across her border, while the Ukraine is simply falling apart and dying a painful death. Will the Eurobureaucrats accept this outcome?

Probably not.

They will do what they have always done. They will lie, deny, minimize and, most importantly, pretend like nothing has happened. They will say that 60% of 30% of a small EU nation do not get to make decisions for the entire continent. Or they will declare that instead of just an old fashioned “association” the EU will offer the Ukraine something much better – a “heartfelt friendship” maybe. Or a “love eternal”. Or even a “continental brotherhood”. But that will all be in vain because the people of Europe are clearly weary of the Ukronazis, even their Polish “friends” are now considering building a wall of their own, to keep their “Ukrainian friends” out of Poland; feel the love!

Please follow the link to the original article to finish reading

Source:

https://theinternationalreporter.org/2016/04/08/the-eus-suicide-by-reality-denial/

 

Russian Nuclear Power Industry and export – NO NUCLEAR WASTE

 

Mainstream media, or any other media, to the best of my knowledge, has not published any articles relating to the high-tech development that Russia is going to build in many countries around the world.

This technology will not be using newly-mined uranium, but nuclear waste, which is recycled and made harmless. Enough nuclear waste has already been accumulated to enable these power stations to run for the next 300 years.

At the moment nuclear waste cannot be safely disposed of and has a life expectancy of some 1,000 years or more creating extremely dangerous areas where it has been buried or of more concern, thrown out to sea in full fathom five, disintegrating concrete blocks.

Due to the patent that Rosatom has on no nuclear waste and the fuel of the future, they have and are becoming world leaders and providers on a global scale. This technology can also be extended to include upgrading current and outdated nuclear plants and bring them in line with making hazardous waste harmless rather than a liability.

 

The Russian nuclear industry

The Russian nuclear industry is an undisputed leader in advanced nuclear technologies, providing innovative engineering and construction solutions for nuclear reactors and production of nuclear fuel. Since 1954, when the world’s first nuclear power plant was launched in Obninsk, ROSATOM has amassed a wealth of experience and acquired extensive competencies in large-scale nuclear projects. Russia possesses the most sophisticated nuclear enrichment and reactor engineering technologies – pressurized water reactors designed by Russian engineers have proved their reliability through thousands of reactor years of accident-free operation.

Today the Russian nuclear industry comprises over 400 companies with over 250,000 employees operating in the nuclear fuel cycle, power generation, and R&D sectors. With its 10 nuclear power plants (34 operating power units with 25.2 GW of installed capacity), which generate about 18% of total power output, and the world’s only nuclear icebreaker fleet, Russia is focused on development of the Northern Sea Route and further expansion of nuclear power generation. Recent achievements in these areas include construction of 9 new nuclear reactors (Novovoronezh NPP-2, Leningrad NPP-2, the world’s first floating NPP and others), an additional fourth power unit at Beloyarsk NPP, and a new nuclear icebreaker flagship laid down in 2013 at the Baltic shipyard in Saint Petersburg. Its launch will mark a new stage in exploration of the Arctic region.

International nuclear projects are another focus area of ROSATOM, which is now engaged in the construction of 29 new nuclear reactors in Kudankulam (India), Akkuyu (Turkey), Belarus, Vietnam, Bangladesh and China.

Development of the nuclear industry is seen as a top national priority. It is perceived to be a key sector of the Russian economy, essential for national energy security. The nuclear industry drives demand for other products and services and therefore stimulates engineering, steel making, geology, construction and other sectors of the national economy.

Russian expertise

State-owned Rosatom says that Russia’s nuclear industry amounts to over 400 companies and more than 255,000 employees working across the fuel cycle, power generation and R&D sectors, 34 operating power facilities with an installed capacity of 25.2GW, and the only nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet in the world.

“Rosatom has one highly significant advantage – its the only company in the world which can provide the industry’s complete range of products.”

A succession of initiatives from Vladimir Putin has helped establish the continued development of this industry as a top national priority, both as a means to ensure future domestic energy security and as a key economic sector in its own right, with international projects forming a big focus area for growth. All of the thousands of reactor-years of experience gained since Obninsk – including the safety lessons learnt in the wake of the disaster at Chernobyl – have been effectively packaged to create a unique selling point for Russian expertise on foreign markets. While many critics felt that Fukushima would finally herald the demise of nuclear power, it seems that quite the reverse has turned out to be true. With its appeal now fast growing, particularly in Asia, Russia has been wooing prospective clients with a range of tempting incentives.

BOO

A business model known as ‘BOO’ (build, own, operate) has been one of Rosatom’s most successful ploys in this respect. Offered through its export division, Atomstroyexport, BOO was first used five years ago in a deal struck with Turkey and has featured in other agreements since. In effect, the purchasing country simply has to provide a suitable site and sign up to buying the electricity produced, with Russia covering the costs of building and operating the power plant. Particularly for developing countries which cannot afford the high up-front capital investment, the attraction of the BOO model is clear, and there are significant direct benefits for Russia too, not least in terms of the employment it supports.

Brilliant strategic move?

However, there is another side to consider – the push towards exporting nuclear power represents both a move to diversify income now, and a hedge against the future.

By channelling the income stream gained from oil and gas sales into long-term assets, the goal is to cement the country’s future role as a major energy nation. With even Russia’s vast hydrocarbon reserves set to run out eventually – assuming that the world does not abandon fossil fuels altogether, as some suggest it must, long before they do – recycling O&G profits into nuclear power generation against a background of rising demand makes good business sense.

Writing in January 2014, Adams said, “Russia’s decision to invest in nuclear energy capabilities is a brilliant strategic move befitting a nation of chess players”, but back then the Russian sovereign wealth fund was big, and getting bigger. Times – and gas revenues – have changed since then

Driving new developments

Export initiatives aside, there is considerable domestic scope for Russia’s nuclear industry, with Moscow having set a target of increasing the share of electricity generated to 25% by 2030, and Rosatom focussed on developing new technologies, including types of reactors that will be able to burn some spent fuels.

The rising economic and strategic importance of the Arctic, too, provides a potential driver for atomic technology, as Russia looks to develop the Northern Sea Route and explore for energy and mineral resources in the High North. The experience gained with nuclear powered ice-breakers has already led to the production of the Academic Lomonosov – a 144m-long, non-self-propelled vessel, equipped with two reactors and able to generate up to 70MW of electricity. As the flagship of a planned whole new class of ship-based generators, it is destined to be the world’s first mass-produced floating nuclear power station when it comes into service towards the end of 2016.

Mobile and capable of powering small cities, ports or industrial infrastructure, these floating reactors could be a huge asset in remote or inhospitable regions, and Rosatom say that 15 countries, including China, Indonesia and Malaysia, have already expressed an interest in the vessels.

According to the WNA, there are 70 nuclear reactors currently under construction – the most in a quarter of a century – and some 500 more are proposed. While not all of those will ultimately go ahead, it speaks to the world’s growing appetite for nuclear power and for Russia, owning around 40% of the world’s uranium enrichment capacity and a significant share of the proven global uranium reserves. The value of Russia’s current tally of international deals already runs to over $100bn, and the new nuclear tech titan is really only just beginning to flex its muscles.