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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Russia Backs Iran. Who is Surprised?

From Jihad Watch

Russia today offered its most outspoken support yet of the controversial nuclear programme in Iran, its neighbour and trading partner.


"Our advice to our Iranian colleagues and friends is to complete work with the International Atomic Energy Authority and to calmly continue its nuclear energy programme... and on this path we are ready to provide assistance to Iran," Sergei Kislyak, the Deputy Foreign Minister, told a security conference in Moscow.





From Axis Information and Analysis July 2005

Cardinal changes in Russian-Iranian relations are not in view, said Aleksey Dedov, Russia's provisional Charge d'Affaires in Tehran, in an interview in the Russian daily, Nezavisimaya Gazeta. "Shortly after his election, Ahmadinejad personally confirmed the success of the Iranian leadership's strategic line towards further development of mutually beneficial and multidirectional cooperation with Russia,"

9 Comments:

Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

To be fair - what the Russians just said was meaningless.

"You have our every support - short of it actually meaning anything or requiring any effort on our part. We'll continue to sell you stuff, and if the name of the purchaser changes, we'll raise some huff at the UN but then we'll sell different stuff of less controversy to you. We might protest at the UN, but we are just as concerned about Political Islam in Southern CIS as the US is in the Middle East. Na Zdorovye..."

I get the impressions that Russians understank realpolitik and capitalism better than some other European nations. Sure, they'll sell stuff, but are they going to resist any NATO/US/Israeli pre-emptive strikes?

All that support..... but nothing concrete.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Methinks Aaron you would be watching Russian tanks rolling down Queen St and say "Yes but after all, the Russians do have a legitimate claim to New Zealand. There is a large Russian population here which needs protecting from Kiwi xenophobia. Yes I can see why the Russians have been forced to interv Bang....."

9:35 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Well, as someone who has actually studied Russian Foreign Policy, including an MA Thesis, I think I have a reasonably good idea of how Russian foreign policy makers think.

There will be no Russian intervention, here or in Iran (assuming the USA or Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against them).

Which means of course, Major Gorkowsky will not be coming back to make prank phone calls to you.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

It's interesting Aaron, that you studied under a former Soviet diplomat and have studuied in Ruusia. You seem to have a fairly benign view of Russian foreign policy intentions.

I have studied the Soviets for many years. I have interviewed former members of the pro Soviet Socialist Unity Party (always willing to interview more, just email me), I also study communist literature extensively and am in contact with others, overseas who do the same. My view is that Russia, China and Radical Islam will lead the third world marxist and Islamic states on a path of eventual confrontation with the West. One of us is wrong and i sincerely hope it is me. Unfortunately, I actually fear I am right. Time will tell.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

I'm amused at the inference that my studying under the very charming Dr Rouben Azizian or being in Russia has coloured my view of Russian Foreign policy. Yes, I am a Russophile, I love reading about Russia, studying its 20th Century history, and I badly want to see their people prosper and succeed. I abhor communism and what it did to Russia, but I set that aside as only a part of what I think about Russia. The people I've met have been for the most part educated (hugely so) and wanting badly to move ahead from the past.

So let me say that in the first instance, studying the nutters of the SUP and reading contemporary communist literature will give you a fairly distorted view of the modern Russia.

Having studied at the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow, (the private University attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) I had the opportunity to meet and talk with a number of people from a variety of backgrounds - Army, liberal pro-westerners, Asian-centric, former Communists and just plain old academics. I've visited judicial, parliamentary and departmental institutions, and for all its flaws, Russia in 1998 is a vastly different nation to the former USSR.

I don't have a benign view of Russia, but I don't see them as bloodythirsty madmen itching for a fight with the west. The New Russia is many things, a lot of them perhaps not making sense to the West, but they (being the nomenklatura - notables and VIPs) are rational. Communists are largely discredited in Russia, and no-one but the old babushkas want to see them back in power.

It's true that a number of former communists have found their way back into power and the running of Russia, but that's because belonging to the Communist Party was pretty much compulsory if you were involved with government or industry in the former USSR. The hard-core apparatchiks and ideologues are for the most part jokes in the Duma.

What Russia is grappling with is its role in the world. It realises that it probably will never be a superpower again. It's own interests are thus boosted by multi-lateralism to offset their diminished global role. Some academics at the Diplomatic Academy were advocating a middle power role for Russia, one where it would essentially be a power broker between the east and the west, a role it could afford to maintain in the world.

One thing that makes me very skeptical about active Russian support for Iran is that they are very hostile towards political islam at home. They were dealing with the consequences of jihad and islamic fundamentalism years before 9/11. Overt and sustained support for political Islam abroad would make no sense when they are trying to repress it in Chechnya and stopping Islamists from controlling the southern borders of Russia. They'll sell military items to Iran, but thats just business as usual for a Russia that needs hard currency for its own nation-building.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Aaron, the "nutters" of the SUP are also often highly intelligent people, who were basically charged with carrying out Soviet/KGB policy in NZ. Sorry Aaron, but they knew things that you simply don't. You would be unwise to dismiss their knowlege lightly.
I'm not trying to prove you wrong. I've just been fortunate enough to have been given a different insight on these matters.

Neither of us can "prove" our case. Time will prove one or neither of us right. I hope you are the one able to gloat. It will give me little satisfaction to be right.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Aaron Bhatnagar said...

I'm sure that the SUP are bright. Many communists were intensely intellectual. But I think its highly flawed making assumptions based on thinking from 20 year ago - or even more.

I'd rather predict Russian intentions based on the following: present and future economic aspirations of Russia's middle class, present and future security threats to Russia's sovereignty, and also examining Russian foreign policy in the past - going further beyond that of the former Soviet Union. We should well remember that the Imperial Russian Eagle had two heads - one looking to the West, the other to the East. Contemporary Russia is no different.

Russia has a different attitude to the Middle East to the west for a number of reasons. Firstly, they don't need Middle East Oil. Secondly, they need hard currency, which the Middle East has plenty of to spend on military hardware and the like. Thirdly, they live next door to Islamic fundamentalist states and deal with internal Islamic Fundamentalist pressures. Fourthly, geographically speaking, they are both European and Asian in outlook.

I simply don't ascribe Russian foreign policy interests as being virulently pro-Tehran or wanting to provoke a conflict with the West over Iran. Since the late 1990s, Russia has been very pragmatic in its foreign policy, focused on national interests rather than ideology. That's hardly unusual - the French are much the same.

5:47 PM  
Blogger maksimovich said...

Aarons analysus may be more prescient then he realises especially with the identification of the Double eagle and the connections with imperial Russia.

Here we are seeing a different approach is FP and indeed with the structure of the RF and the CES and the forward visions for the area as a whole.

The changes that occured following the change of the USSR and the economic transformation of the RF under Yeltsin were effectively transfer of economic controls under the auspices of the WB and IMF similar to what occured here in 1985 unwards.

High debt.poor productivity ,poor infrastructure saw the transfer of strategic monopolies from the state to what can be described as Robber Barons for less then true value.

The changes implemented under Putin and promoted by Gref and Illironov have seen the rapid transformation from a debtor nation to a creditor nation.Indeed we now see the Paris club refusing complete repayment as hte options for reinvestment are only into none recourse loans for the third world.

The years since 1998 have seen a more broadbased wealth distribution occur with real wages now rising after inflation by 10% per year.The reduction of the power base of the olilgarchs has seen investment by the Russian pension stabilsaTion fund(based on the Norway model)and simplification of the taz structures to VAT and single band 13% income tax increased the Budget surplus to 56B us and the external balance of trade to 18bus$ per month.In addition the 12 month tax amnesty no questions asked 5% tax on deposits to RF banks is expected to see personal accounts grow by 150b us.

The pension stabalisation fund is expected to have assets of 1 trillion us by 2012.

With this in mind what is causing the regional instability and EC.us Rf problems.?

It is the double standard of EC/US investment and trade issues.namely the WTO entry of the RF.The ec/us want access to the Russian energy and monopoly companies,Here the Russian called their bluff and offered to equalise the equation by buying conoco=phillips in the US and scottish power in the UK.

The g8 initiatives have already been prescribed for the energy questions namely nuclear,the Iran question is merely a side issue and is proving to be a good way to make money for Iran,every time the Iranian president opens his mouth they reap an extra 20 million per day.Exogenous profits at present are estimated at 450 m per day!.

The nuclear question will resolve itself and Iran will more then likely have NP with enrichment undertaken in the RF in accordance with the G8 energy initiatives.

The energy cooperation agreements with the Chinese and the CES have also cost Iran substantial energy infrastructure investments as they change to more stable areas of investment and supply.

The new rules of the game are simply the accumulation of wealth for the countries and infratructure improvement and jobs

7:31 PM  
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6:31 PM  

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