Putin in the dock

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by msr, Jan 16, 2008.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    European hostility to Putin is not merely rhetorical. In fact, public statements by European leaders are often conciliatory, such as when French President Nicolas Sarkozy telephoned Putin to congratulate him on his party’s victory in the recent parliamentary elections. But actions speak louder than words: Putin’s government is currently the target of a multiplicity of very serious legal actions in major European courts which could result in undermining his ability to govern.

    This coming November, an arbitration proceeding will commence in The Hague, Netherlands, before a panel of three respected international jurists. At issue are claims against the Russian government for illegal nationalization of corporate assets, bilking foreign investors in the now-defunct YUKOS oil company to the tune of $100 billion. Understandably, they want their money back.


  2. I don't think that foreign investors will get any money back. Proceedings like these can take forever, and the rulings are difficult to enforce, as I don't see the EU imposing economic sanctions on Russia. Also, Putin made an example of the Yukos oil affair, and it served to show that the state power is above the power of money or of individuals who control the economy. During Eltsin's time, the power of the Russian state was weakened by the arrival of these rich "entrepreneurs", who could buy anything and anybody with their money, including army or mvd units with full kit to work for them. On one occasion Eltsin's presidential guard went to arrest an "entrepreneur", and found itself facing another mvd unit, who was working for said "entrepreneur". It was a chaotic and dangerous situation, and with Yukos, Putin put an end to it, by showing that even the richest man in Russia can find himself overnight in Siberia.
  3. http://pajamasmedia.com/2008/01/putin_in_the_dock.php



  4. KGB_resident,

    Is this your round-about way of saying that Russia cannot be trusted to stick to the international agreements that it signs?

    I mean, they sign an internationally agreed document, then deliberately avoid ratifying it domestically, and then when the boomerang starts to head back towards them, they use the lack of domestic ratification to justify non-compliance.

    You know, I only clicked on this link thinking I'd see a paparazzi picture of sombody pushing Putin over the edge whilst viewing some rusting fishing trawlers!!!
  5. Hi Whitecity!

    I don't see any violation of international law here. A signature under agreements that require ratification is no more that intention to enter the agreement that may be or may be not finaly ratified.

    For example, Russia has signed Kyoto protocol but ratified it quite recently. And it could not be ratified without any violation of international law.

    Let's look as one historical example. The UK signed and ratified the 4th Hague convention about laws and customs of war. Among many other things it contained a prohibition to use poison or poisoned weapons.


    However, during ocupation of Mesopotamia British forces used mustard gas.


    That time the UK was in the state of war with Turkey (Ottoman Empire) and local rebels could be regarded as irregular Ottoman forces. And taken into account that

    At least from formal point of view the UK violated the 4th Hague convention. But...

    Ottoman Epmpire signed the convention but it has not been rafified.

    So Ottoman Empire that signed but not ratified the convention was not a 'Contracting Power'.

    Returning to the Energy Charter it should be noted that it contains both profitable and unprofitable elements for Russia. In 1994 it looked as a balance was rather positive for Russia. But later it went negative. And as national interests are paramount then Russia decided not to ritify the charter.

    As I understand the main problem is unclear wording of points in Energy Charter that are profitable for Russia. For example, would Gazprom have a right to buy British gas distribution networks or British government is free to ban it.

    Another example.

    Then Soviet foreign minister (later Georgian president and American puppet) Shevardnadze abrupty signed very unprofitable for Russia treaty about water border between the Soviet Union and the USA. The treaty require ratification that had been done by American side immediately (of course). But still the treaty has not been ratified by Russia and any time it could be claimed as invalid. According to international law simple notification is sufficient.

    Still, Russia urges the USA to renegotiate the treaty but our American friends rejects such propositions. So likely later or sooner the treaty will be declared as invalid by Russia. And, note, without any violation of international law.

    Btw, the USA (relatively recently) decided to withdraw from the treaty about anti-ballistic missiles systems. Again, intretanionl law was not violated. All countries (except some with puppet regimes) act mainly in own national interests.
  6. I think it's clear KGB blokey has a very blinkered view of his homeland. Probably due to years and years of Soviet brainwash.
  7. I dare to disagree with you dear friend. A bearded anecdote springs in mind.

    What is the difference between news in the West and in the Soviet union?

    In the Soviet union people know that news are propaganda. By contrast in the West people believe that propaganda is news.
  8. No fella, we know our politicians are all corrupt, but we don't leap to their defence. You however, by your statement also know your politicians are corrupt, but you DO leap to Russian policys' defence.
  9. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Well, I'm sorry to say that KGB-boy is arguing his case rather well. If Russia has not ratified the treaty, they are not obliged to do anything within it.
  10. There is no violation of international law. I never said there was.

    But here's the point. Did Russia (Putin) ever have any intention of ratifying the agreement, or was the original signing just a PR stunt to show international respectability which it had no intention of honouring? Did Russia expect others to abide by the agreement - when it suits Russia - at the same time as deliberately disregarding the content when it doesn't?

    It's a trick well versed by other states too. The French have a habit of signing everything in Brussels to look like 'good' Europeans, and then simply ignore the ratification process back in Paris if they don't like the implications. This is especially true of anything to do with the CAP which could hurt French farmers!

    It's a shame that you couldn't just discuss the point, rather than try and defend Mother Russia and cousin Putin by diving into your history folder on ancient British broken promises. :(
  11. There's a joint Russian-British oil company, can't remember its name but there's billions of UK money in it. Putin might nationalise this without compensation just to p1ss us off. In fact, given the US preoccupation with the Middle East and its Presidential election, Russia may well sieze the opportunity to reassert itself in a major way on the international stage. Look out for flashpoints over Kosovo, the Baltic States, Georgia.

    Meanwhile, however, China is taking over central Asia...
  12. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Whatever else Putin may have done for Russia, he has, as far as the West is concerned, made it an unpromising place to invest and do business in. He (and from the impression that KGB_resident gives most Russians agree with him) views any foreign presence in Russia, be it commercial or cultural, as inherently threatening and detrimental.

    Personally I've seen the point in trying to make friends and do business with them. They obviously don't like or trust us, which is fair enough. We'd get a better return investing and doing business in China and India.
  13. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Is it? Genuinely asking. Is this political strong-arming in the manner of Russia and its neighbours, or are they assuming financial dominance?

    Another one for you, do you think Russia and China's interests in Central Asia (I'm assuming Russia does still have interests there) are likely to collide or collude?
  14. Are you thinking of BP-TNK. If so, you're a bit late...

    Last year, BP was 'obliged' to sell it's share to Gazprom (I think - doing this from the top of my head so any corrections are welcome) for, allegedly, exactly the same amount as they had invested in the partnership! What they got back was a 'strategic marketing partnership' with Gazprom.

    Edited to add:
    On reflection, I don't think the deal was so clear-cut, and that Gazprom got their hands on the juicy bits they wanted, not necessarily everything!
  15. Not so much Central Asia, to my mind (at least if you're thinking of all the former Soviet 'stans). They are, however, doing a lot of political schmoozing to dominate the Far East; recently they convinced Malawi to shift recognition from Taipei to Beijing, causing much embarassment to the ROK government when they sent a Minister to visit and the Malawians refused to see him. It may not mean much in financial terms, but recognition by other governments is big political capital - especially when you claim to be the legitimate government of a far larger neighbour.

    Russian & Chinese interests have collided ever since the 17th Century. Basically, one the Tsars started expanding their rule east, competition for resources began. The tactics used are a mix of the subtle and deliberately anything but. Joint military exercises with the US and India seem to me to be deliberately poking Russian paranoia with a stick likewise PLA exercises up near the border have stepped up in recent years, both in scale and sophistication and despite the overall reduction in troop numbers.

    All of which allows Putin to present Russia as a poor beleaguered innocent and anything he does (seizing assets, expulsions, etc.) to counter the nasty aggressors from 'outside' can be more easily sold to the domestic audience.