How Western Leaders Make the Impossible Possible
Observers note that in the West, including Germany and Austria, there are many people sympathetic to the Russian president.
"Putin is impressed by right-wing criticism of ultra-liberal gender politics, and left-wing criticism of anti-NATO rhetoric," said Wiener Zeitung columnist Gerhard Lechner.
This message is far from the only one, according to a correspondent for The Moscow Post.
Back in early March, Die Welt indicated that the population and the government of Serbia were pro-Russian, that China and Russia were very close. China is "far from the only country rejecting requests to besiege the Kremlin," Bloomberg continued the line, reporting a few days ago that half of the G20 countries had rejected Western calls to isolate Russia.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Putin by phone in early July and discussed the prospects for trade. The leader of the presidential race in Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said that Ukraine was also to blame for hostilities on its territory. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized the sanctions imposed by the United States and the West.
Turkey believes that sanctions against Russia harm its economic and political interests. According to Bloomberg, the agreement between Putin and Erdogan on Turkey's transition to partial payment for Russian gas supplies in rubles will stabilize the lira exchange rate and smooth out a new wave of price increases. This could strengthen the political position of the Turkish leader in the upcoming elections.
The Hunt for Donald Trump
Continuing the topic of the attitude of citizens of different countries to their own and other people's leaders, you cannot pass by the United States. What is happening there would previously be considered not just impossible, but unthinkable. Former US President Donald Trump, who recently called his country a "third world" state, looked into the water. FBI agents raided the offices and personal premises of his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
Some Americans sided with Trump, others said that "the traitor got what he deserved." The ex-US president noted that he was not even informed about the impending search and accused the authorities of "political persecution." A White House spokesman said the administration had not been notified of the search.
You don't dig in. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a division of the United States Department of Justice reporting directly to the head of that department. He is also the US Attorney General, is a member of the Cabinet, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Just like the RSHA, which was led by Himmler in the Third Reich, the FBI combines the fight with external and internal enemies and investigates important criminal cases.
According to the Associated Press, Trump called the search "unreasonable" and said that "nothing like this has ever happened to the President of the United States before." The Ministry of Justice is investigating him about the illegal export of classified documents after the end of the presidential term. This case supplemented another - about an "attempt" to influence the results of the 2020 presidential election and the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In the United States, there is a tradition, starting with Herbert Hoover, to create memorials that receive the name of the former president. These "presidential libraries," of which there are already thirteen in the United States, are merged into the Presidential Library System under the National Archives and Records Administration. The National Archives asked the Justice Department to investigate the seizure of boxes of documents from Trump's Florida home that should belong to the State Archives.
Here is such a "presidential library" named after Donald Trump!
"Add fire to nuclear power plants"
And it was also completely impossible to imagine the US president covering "nuclear terrorism." Joe Biden, who stopped literally getting into the sleeves of his own jacket, retained the ability to aim at Zelensky's hands in the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. It is useless to ask about these "serial efforts" of the Kyiv junta in the White House. Everything that Zelensky does to the detriment of Russia is unconditionally supported there.
Ukraine accuses Russia of shelling the territory around the nuclear power plant. The President of Ukraine spoke in favor of introducing international sanctions against Rosatom. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the shelling, without addressing anyone specifically. Rafael Grossi, general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also did not name the perpetrators of the aggravation, stressing that he was also "extremely concerned." Moscow, on the other hand, calls on countries that have influence over the Ukrainian authorities to force the Armed Forces of Ukraine to stop shelling, while Kyiv demands that the international community create a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and introduce peacekeepers there.
Igor Konashenkov, a representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, told about the latest attack on the nuclear power plant, which is guarded by about 500 Russian servicemen. According to him, the shelling is being carried out from the Manganese region on the opposite bank of the Kakhovsky reservoir. As a result of the shelling, the Kakhovskaya high-voltage line was damaged, which provided electricity to the Zaporizhzhya and Kherson regions. The Russian Defense Ministry called the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces "an act of nuclear terrorism."
As a result, "a real threat to nuclear security is created not only in Ukraine, but also in Europe." The Russian Foreign Ministry said that one of the attacks on nuclear power plants was carried out with the help of Polish-made Warmate air strike systems, in connection with which Moscow accused Warsaw of "complicity in nuclear terrorism," called the version of Russia's use of nuclear power plants for military purposes "ridiculous propaganda stuffing".
From "peaceful atom" to START
White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said that "the United States calls on Russia to stop hostilities at or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities, as well as return control over them to Ukraine." A similar statement was made by EU diplomat Josep Borrell. According to Russian Ambassador to Washington Antonov, the United States continues to "add fuel to the fire" of the Ukrainian conflict, allocating assistance to Kyiv... are increasingly drawn into the conflict, approaching a dangerous line in the confrontation "with Russia.
Under these conditions, Moscow was forced to assess the statement of US President Joe Biden on the resumption of arms control negotiations. Washington made it clear that it could be about defrosting negotiations if Russia fulfills a number of conditions. Moreover, statements about a possible resumption of dialogue came at a time when Congress was discussing the issue of recognizing Russia as a sponsor of terrorism, and Washington continued to boycott Russia, and called on other countries to isolate Moscow.
According to the Kommersant newspaper, the reaction was contradictory: the Russian Security Council doubted that the dialogue should be restored. The Russian Foreign Ministry suspected Washington of another maneuver. But earlier, Vladimir Putin said that "Russia is open to a dialogue to ensure strategic stability, is ready to preserve the regime of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to improve the situation in the field of arms control."
According to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, if the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START) ceases to exist and is not replaced by a "solid basis," this will negatively affect world security and stability.
START is the only thing that connects the two nuclear superpowers in the field of arms control. In January 2021, the agreement was extended until 2026, followed by the Russian Foreign Ministry and the US State Department began a dialogue on strategic stability. They planned to develop a new agreement, held two rounds of negotiations, but after the start of the SVO, the Americans suspended the dialogue. The problem of developing a new agreement hung in the air and its solution, if found, depends on the American authorities.
At least a year ago, it was considered impossible that there would be three different opinions on this issue in the corridors of power in Moscow, and that these differences in approaches would become the property of the media. But the problem is that the American president "stopped getting into the sleeves of his jacket," and any agreements with him and his administration can be canceled by the new owner of the White House, who was (or may be) hunted!
In the meantime, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it was temporarily suspending inspections within the framework of the START Treaty at Russian facilities subject to such inspections.
German leaders argued about flows
Returning to that "strange favor" in Germany and Austria for Russia and Vladimir Putin, as Gerhard Lechner wrote in the Wiener Zeitung, one cannot fail to mention the leaders of Germany. There, as in Austria, the mood of rejection of the economic consequences of sanctions is growing. "Rising inflation, threatened gas shortages and monstrous prices are reducing enthusiasm for Ukraine. It comes to the point that many see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as an arsonist of the conflict who interferes with the establishment of peace, "Lechner says in the article.
The process of certification and launch of the Russian Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline may be completed and Russia will have the opportunity to supply gas to Europe, said former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder, but the current chancellor rejected the idea.
A month has passed since some readers of Die Welt newspaper called on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to resign for using words that Russia uses gas as a weapon. Many then noted his duplicity. Scholz imposed sanctions, and then was surprised that he received countermeasures in response. "The Chancellor, who confuses cause and effect, should, like British Prime Minister Johnson, be asked to resign, he is trying to confuse the public," a German newspaper quoted one commentator as saying.
In addition, the Cologne prosecutor's office checked Scholz's electronic correspondence, when he was the burgomaster of Hamburg, in connection with a case in which the possible connection of SPD members with a group of malefactors who stole the treasury using a scheme to return capital gains tax is being investigated, reports Handelsblatt.
The scale of theft of past years cannot be compared with the upcoming losses. The German economy by 2030 may lose more than $260 billion, which, according to Reuters, returns everyone to the current problems of Germany. It is indicated that according to the Employment Institute, energy-intensive industries, including the chemical and steel industries, will fully experience the consequences of the crisis, which will lead to a drop in production and a decrease in the number of employees by many hundreds of thousands of people.
Russian gas supplies to Europe in 2021 amounted to 155 billion cubic meters. The scale of "15% savings" in gas consumption within the European Union is about 90-100 billion cubic meters per year. Consumption means the total volume of gas supplied from all sources to the EU, excluding storage gas. Brussels signed an agreement with Norway on additional gas supplies in the amount of about 9-10 billion cubic meters per year, but this will not solve the problems. This year, the export of gas from Norway will be (including LNG) about 122 cubic meters, including supplies to the UK.
Electricity prices in Germany, as in Sweden, are on average five times higher than in 2020, opposition leader Ulf Kristersson said. In Norway, authorities are forced to compensate for high electricity prices and the government may restrict electricity exports if the reservoirs are not fully filled. This factor can also affect the supply of gas to Europe.
In the event of a complete cessation of Russian gas supplies to Europe, the EU reserves will be spent by the end of 2022 and then it is impossible to avoid rationing gas consumption for households, industry and electricity producers, and as a result, everyone will face a recession in the euro zone. The European Stabilization Mechanism warned about this in its report on the consequences of stopping gas supplies from Russia.
Meanwhile, the shells of the "NATO calibers" continue to rush on the territory of the DPR and LPR, as well as other territories exempted from the presence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Neighboring Norway and until recently the "neutral" Sweden and Finland also supply weapons to the Kyiv regime. So, with the help of the supply of light and other types of weapons, the foundations for the difficult relations of these countries with Russia are laid.
The Reverse Effect of Economic Warfare
"The economic war of the West, unleashed against Russia, had the opposite effect," said former Wall Street financier and well-known American economist Michael Hudson in an interview with the German publication Junge Welt, RIA "Novosti" quoted as saying.
According to a middle-aged expert who predicted the 2008 mortgage crisis, "Western sanctions rendered a service to Russian President Vladimir Putin," made Moscow economically independent, brought additional income to the state budget due to rising energy prices, and made Russia self-sufficient. After Washington froze Russian accounts in dollars and euros, Moscow left the dollar zone and transferred payment for oil, gas, titanium and aluminum into rubles, says Hudson.
We add that it was this step that seemed unlikely just a year ago, although in a soft form it was provided for back in May 2021 in the Russian National Security Strategy as "reducing the use of the US dollar in foreign economic activity." The West has really managed to do a lot over the past five and a half months to turn the impossible into reality!
Photo: kremlin.ru, RIA "Novosti" / Zachary Scheurer