“Damascus is the “Stalingrad” of Russian diplomacy. After years of geopolitical withdrawal, Moscow has chosen Syria as a way to revive its image of power in the world. “Not one step back” is the Kremlin’s new strategy, as it was for the Red Army along the banks of the Volga river during World War II. To be more convincing, the Kremlin has simultaneously flexed its muscles by supplying sophisticated […]

E’ stata una delle più cruenti risse viste in un Parlamento di un Paese civile. Da quasi 8 mesi i deputati ucraini non se le davano di santa ragione. L’ultima volta era volato di tutto, mentre era messo al voto l’accordo con la Russia per l’affitto della base militare di Sebastopoli. Adesso il motivo del contendere è la messa in stato di accusa dell’ex premier Julija Timoshenko, leader di Bjut ed ex “pasionaria” della fallita rivoluzione arancione.

Gli schieramenti sono sempre gli stessi: da una parte i russofoni dall’altra i mitteleuropei. Questa volta l’obiettivo “militare” era occupare la sede del presidium all’interno dell’Aula della Rada per bloccare la sessione in corso. Urla con bestemmie e parolacce hanno fatto da corollario all’ennesimo corpo a corpo mentre le sedie volavano ed i deputati si scazzottavano selvaggiamente.


Julija Timoshenko (photo by Sebastian Zwez)

Latest Data – December 2010.

The economic crisis in the Baltic states has begun to ease. “Growth prospects will depend on how well these countries can shift to a more export-oriented model,” Mark Allen, senior IMF resident representative for Central and Eastern Europe.

1. Estonia

 In 2009 GDP -13,9%. According to Statistics Estonia, by flash estimates, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Estonia increased by 4.7% in the 3rd quarter of 2010 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Q3 2010: 4.7%; Q2 2010: 3.1%; Q1 2010: -2.0%. This change was influenced by the growth of value added in the manufacturing activity created owing to a vigorous growth of exports.

 The European Commission raised in its fresh autumn forecast Estonia’s economic growth forecast to 2.4% for the year 2010 and 4.4% for 2011. In 2012 the economy should grow 3.5%.

The Commission forecasts unemployment at 17.5% this year, 15.1% next year and 13.6% in 2012. Inflation should be 2.7% this year, 3.6% next year and 2.3% in 2012

  EURO – “We are at sea in a small boat tied to an ocean liner. In a storm or otherwise, we’d feel better being on board,” is how Estonian finance minister Jürgen Ligi describes his country’s determination to join the euro zone from January 1st, writes Bloomberg.

Estonia’s budget deficit may be about 1.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, Finance ministry said.

2. Latvia

 In 2009 the GDP shrank 18%, the worst fall in the European Union. A 7.5 billion euro bailout was led by the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission in 2008. Latvia expects a 0.4% fall in the economy in 2010. In 2011 the growth is expected to be around 3.3%. Government debt will peak at about 50.4 percent of GDP, according to the IMF.

 The targeted deficit cut was 280 million lats ($541 million) in the 2011 budget so the expected deficit reduction measures would be worth 2 percent of GDP. Latvia had already taken measures worth 1 billion lats in 2009 and 2010 to cap the deficit. Some of the austerity measures included public sector job losses and wage cuts by up to 50 percent as well as higher personal income tax rates and and a rise in value added tax. In 2011 the targeted budget deficit will be 6% of gross domestic product.

3. Lithuania

In 2009 Lithuania’s economy shrank 14,7%. In 2010 GDP Q3 2010: +0.6%, Q2 2010: +1.1%, Q1 2010: -2.0%. The government forecasts the economy will expand 1.6% in 2010. The 2011 budget was approved by the Lithuanian Parliament on December 9th. The targeted budget deficit will be 5.8% of GDP. Unemployment reached 17.8% in 2010.

LATEST  DATA – December 2010.

 GDP in 2009 + 1.7%. Poland was the  only European Union country to have avoided recession.  In 2010 the growth will be of 3.5% – Central Statistical Office (GUS).

 The main driving force behind the economy in the second quarter of 2010 was domestic demand, according to the the National Bank of Poland (NBP). The Economy Ministry expects that economic growth will continue to stimulate activity in the industrial and construction sectors. The data shows that the Polish economy is growing faster than the economies of other EU countries except Slovakia (4.1%). The EU Commission’s view is that the Polish economy is driven by manufacturing and exports. The World Bank has recently raised its forecast of Polish GDP to 4.1% in 2011.

 Poland’s image has improved as a result of the global financial crisis. The total value of new foreign direct investment in the first half of 2010 exceeded 5 billion euros and was 75% higher than a year earlier, according to NBP data. In the first half of 2010, the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency (PAIiIZ) successfully completed negotiations with foreign investors on 29 new investment projects.

Big privatization projects (2010 – 2013)

Government’s financial plan foresees zl.55 billion (13,5 billion euros) to be made. From the first IPOs the sum got is zl.25 billion.

LATEST DATA – December 10 th – 17th, 2010

Vladimir Putin, from interview with the nation December 17th, 2010.

GDP – showed growth of 3,8%, indicating a positive trend. A rise in production by the end of 2010 amount to 8,5-8,6%. Russians’ real incomes in 2010 rose by 2 percent a year, but real wages – by 4.2%, pensions – by 44.9%. This past year has created 1 million 200 thousand new jobs, the economy will come pre-crisis level in the first half of 2012.

Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

Assuming an oil price of $75 per barrel, Russia would have a deficit of 4.6 percent of gross domestic product, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said, while in 2007 — when oil averaged $70 — the country had a 5 percent surplus. “That means we’ve really done some serious back-stepping from the principles of fiscal balance,” he added, Interfax reported.

With state debt of less than 11 percent, Russia will be able to handle any fiscal challenges in 2011, Kudrin said.

The volume of incoming revenues to the federal budget in January – November 2010 amounted to 7 trillion 432.365 billion roubles, expenses – 8 trillion 343.865 billion roubles, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
Cash budget deficit for 11 months of 2010 amounted to 911.501 billion roubles, or 2.2% of GDP, primary deficit – 724.564 billion roubles (1.8% of GDP).

According to Sergey Ignatiev, head of the Russian Central Bank, in November, 2010, the capital outflow from Russia amounted to 9 billion dollars. Since the beginning of the year this value reached 29 billion dollars.

In November inflation has grown 8.4% since the beginning of the year, fueled by a crippling summer drought that drove food prices higher.


Sergei Pakhomov, acting head of Moscow‘s debt committee, said that the city could sell 500 million euros ($611 million) of debt to international investors in 2011 if conditions are favourable, Bloomberg reported.

«Говорят, исполком ФИФА считается одной из самих коррумпированных международных организаций; и это еще мягко сказано… Поэтому скажу прямо: Западу с трудом верится, что сие товарищество имени Остапа Бендера отдало России и Катару чемпионаты за просто так… Эксперты считают, что Россия потратит как минимум 50 миллиардов долларов… И, конечно, это полная ерунда, что Россия для футбола — чистое поле… Издеваетесь над Львом Яшиным, вратарем, который своими полетами над стадионом опередил время не меньше, чем Гагарин?… И, слава Богу, при всей русской любви к экстриму ваши чиновники решили, что футбольные стадионы не надо строить на Чукотке… Конечно, и для ЧМ-2018 90% стадионов придется строить заново. Как и аэропорты, гостиницы, дороги. Но и в Калининграде, и в Екатеринбурге они будут крайне уместны и послужат людям надолго… А ведь приедут в Россию не только скандинавы да братья-славяне. Приедет огромная толпа фанатов — белые, черные, желтые… Большинство — из стран, где веселящийся народ не принято гонять по улице дубинками… Они захотят подружиться с русскими… И они уж точно не захотят, чтобы местные фанаты их избивали только за то, что они африканцы или японцы, а их сборная вдруг выиграла решающий матч у хозяев турнира… Чемпионат мира заставит страну круто измениться… Через 8 лет российское общество должно стать намного терпимее, а государство — более ответственным….»

Штефан Шолль  Cтатья Московский Комсомолец № 25517 от 6 декабря 2010 г.

Stefan Scholl  Moskovskij Komsomolets

  “Mosca – dice Andrej Rjabov, una delle “menti” del prestigioso Centro studi “Carnegie”, – ha non pochi problemi a rapportarsi con Bruxelles direttamente, poiché l’Unione europea ha una burocrazia particolare. Utilizza un approccio che non va bene con l’attuale Amministrazione russa. Ossia Bruxelles pretende prima l’ottenimento di precisi obiettivi da parte chi vuole avere con lei relazioni di un certo tipo, quindi discute dei passi successivi. Con il duo Putin-Medvedev servono passi concreti, reciproci e contemporanei”.

 Ecco quindi perché è stata preferita la scelta di avere soprattutto rapporti diretti con gli Stati nazionali. “Ci sono partner strategici come Germania, Francia, Italia tra i maggiori Paesi europei. Sono stati definiti dei progetti che vengono portati avanti. Partendo da loro si è costruita la politica estera russa. Con Berlusconi si sono creati ottime relazioni personali, che hanno sfruttato le condizioni internazionali esistenti. Lo stesso sta avvenendo con il francese Sarkozy, anche se qualche tempo fa le cose non andava per il meglio”.

 Ma perché Putin ha trovato un “amico” fidato ed un alleato proprio nel premier italiano? “I due hanno uno stile assai simile: sono populisti e pragmatici. Gli affari di Stato vengono prima di tutto. La politica viene intesa come grande business e viene piegata alle esigenze delle economie”.

 Quale è il segreto del successo dell’imprenditoria italiana in Russia? “C’è una lunga tradizione che fonda le sue radici nell’epoca comunista. Questo bagaglio culturale e di contatti è rimasto. Per di più il clima generale permette il moltiplicarsi di affari a lunga prospettiva”.

 Le pare possibile che la monopolista Gazprom paghi delle “royalities” in giro? “Come hanno scritto a più riprese gli specialisti del settore esistono schemi poco chiari e poco trasparenti. Prendiamo ad esempio il rapporto tempestoso tra Russia ed Ucraina in campo energetico. In passato schiere di strani personaggi hanno fatto il bello ed il cattivo tempo. Poi, per riportare un po’ d’ordine, Mosca ha chiesto che venisse sciolta la Rosukroenergo, la società di intermediazione. Si è così scoperto che la Naftogaz ucraina aveva i soldi per pagare le forniture. Prima sembrava che non fosse così. In futuro, forse, se il Terzo pacchetto europeo per l’energia entrerà in vigore si cancelleranno alcuni buchi neri”.

 Lei lavora qui a Mosca per uno dei più influenti centri studi del mondo con sede principale a Washington. Ci spiega perché traspare dai messaggi pubblicati da WikiLeaks una sorta di gelosia americana nei confronti delle ottime relazioni russo-italiane? “Le posso rispondere per quanto riguarda la Russia. Il governo americano è stato messo al corrente dai propri funzionari di quanto succede qui. Questo serve per capire l’affidabilità di chi si ha di fronte nel momento di iniziare una trattativa. Ossia questi accordi a più corto raggio si possono stringere, mentre gli altri di diverso genere no. Ad esempio, sul gas si può fare, mentre sulle intese per la sicurezza a lungo termine possono nascere degli imprevisti. In sostanza tutta questa corrispondenza serve per non deludere speranze inattese”.

 The main task of all military organizations is to be prepared for hostilities or to create the conditions to get the peace showing their strength. During the Cold War the “balance of terror” guaranteed five decades of stability to the world.

 WikiLeaks cables has revealed secret NATO plans to defend Baltics from Moscow. The decision to draft them was taken earlier this year at request of the United States and Germany at the Northern Atlantic Alliance headquarters. The White House also offered to beef up Polish security against Russia by deploying naval and air forces to the region.

 In those months Washington and Moscow were toughly negotiating the new START agreement and President Barack Obama was promoting a new approach to the former foes. The 21st century challenges need new solutions and an agreement among the most developed countries is desirable. Negotiations with the Kremlin were successful at last, and Russia was later invited to join a section of the western security system at Lisbon’s summit in November.

 It would have been surprising whether the NATO had not prepared plans to protect its allies in Eastern Europe. In the cables it is written that this planning is an “internal process designed to make the Alliance as prepared as possible for future contingencies” and “it is not ‘aimed’ at any other country.” Relationships with Russia began to be strained after Saint Petersburg’s G8 summit in 2006. A cyber-attack on Estonia in 2007 was believed to have originated in Russia, and the war broke out in Georgia a year later. Russia’s foreign ministry said it was “bewildered” by revelations edited by the British newspaper The Guardian, but this kind of reaction is part of the game.

 Польский кинорежиссёр Анджей Вайда получил орден Дружбы из рук президента России Дмитрия Медведева. Глава российского государства назвал Анджея Вайду великим кинорежиссёром, который внёс значительный вклад не только в польский, но и в мировой кинематограф. Сын расстрелянного НКВД польского офицера, Вайда рассказал миру о трагедии в Катыни.


Вести Россия 1


«Конференции Организации по безопасности и сотрудничеству в Европе — события в современном мире все более редкие. Последнее такое мероприятие случилось в Стамбуле аж одиннадцать лет назад.

 Пусть в Астану не приехал самый завидный политический “жених” ОБСЕ — президент США Барак Обама. Пусть точно так же поступили высшие лидеры Франции и Англии. Но состав гостей все равно получился вполне внушительный. Ангела Меркель, Сильвио Берлускони, почти все высшие лидеры постсоветских стран — в общей сложности около трех десятков первых лиц различных евразийских стран.

 В теории конференция ОБСЕ — вершина общеевропейского политического диалога. На практике это серия монологов, каждый из которых не имеет ничего общего с предыдущим…

 Ясно, что на таком “саммите имени Вавилонской башни” никаких конкретно значимых решений не может быть принято в принципе. Но иногда конкретные значимые решения — это еще не все. Сейчас дискуссия о будущем политическом устройстве Евразии фактически монополизирована такими структурами, как НАТО и Евросоюз. Это приводит к весьма неприятным для нас последствиям. Спроси любого западного эксперта о будущей роли Украины и Белоруссии в Европе. Ответ последует незамедлительный: в НАТО могут вступать или не вступать в зависимости от желания. Но в Евросоюзе Минск и Киев будут обязательно!

 За год своего председательства в ОБСЕ Казахстан не сделал, да и не мог сделать эту контору по-настоящему сильной организацией. Но по крайней мере встряхнул ОБСЕ, вывел ее из состояния летаргического сна. Ведь до этого в Организации по сотрудничеству и безопасности в Европе по сути мало что делалось».

 Статья –  Михаил Ростовский – Московский Комсомолец № 25514 от 2 декабря 2010 г. Mikhail Rostovsky Moskovskij Komsomolets 

* * *

 «Споры по поводу итогового документа форума были столь бурными, что презентовать его публике лидер Казахстана Нурсултан Назарбаев смог лишь далеко за полночь… Все решения на конференциях ОБСЕ принимаются методом консенсуса. Если кто-то из 56 “пассажиров” чем-то недоволен, паровоз не может лететь вперед… Рожденный в муках итоговый документ саммита оказался предельно общим и размытым…. И вот грустный финал. Выяснилось, что нам гораздо легче разговаривать с западниками на саммитах НАТО и ЕС или на двусторонних переговорах. Почему? Наверно, потому, что на подобных рандеву обсуждаются конкретные проекты, в чьих успехах заинтересованы все. А мероприятия ОБСЕ — это пока в основном говорильня об отвлеченных принципах. Поэтому здесь к Москве относятся, руководствуясь принципом “мимо тещиного дома я без шуток не хожу”».

 Статья – Московский Комсомолец № 25516 от 4 декабря 2010 г. Михаил Ростовский – Mikhail Rostovsky Moskovskij Komsomolets

 “After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier…Now, China is starting to export much of this weaponry…China is developing weapons systems, including aircraft carriers and carrier-based fighters, that could threaten Taiwan and test U.S. control of the Western Pacific.” 

Article – Wall Street Journal December 5th, 2010.


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