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20/mart/2010 EURAST recomandă: Vladimir Socor despre „revenirea” Ucrainei pe harta Gazprom şi despre competiţia „South Stream” – Nabucco – Nord Stream

South Stream: a Casualty of Moscow’s Excess Pipeline Capacity Building

Vladimir Socor (The Jamestown Foundation)

Like all parties involved with South Stream, ENI must rely on the new Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych agreeing to share control of Ukraine’s gas transit system with Moscow. In that case, Gazprom would no longer need South Stream as a Ukraine-bypass option, which Moscow had brandished all along to pressure Kyiv into ceding control of the transit system. Moreover, Gazprom would have to commit to full use of the Ukrainian system as part of the bargain with Kyiv, instead of shifting volumes from the Ukrainian system into South Stream, as the scenario had envisaged. (foto: RIA Novosti)

Furthermore, an investment decision in Russia’s supergiant Shtokman gas field has recently been “postponed” (or possibly abandoned), further constricting Russian gas export potential in the years ahead. This also affects South Stream directly, placing it in competition with Nord Stream and other Russian pipeline projects, all now reliant on Siberian gas in limited availability. Shtokman’s postponement has left Nord Stream –the Baltic seabed pipeline to Germany– without any source of gas for the project’s second stage. While Nord Stream One has Siberian gas earmarked for it, putatively at 27.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year, Nord Stream Two was planned to be fed to the same annual capacity from Shtokman in the Barents Sea. Instead, Nord Stream Two, as well as South Stream ,would have to draw on Siberian gas, where the shortfall looms.

Thus, apart from the undeclared rivalry with Nabucco, the South Stream project has entered an undeclared competition with Nord Stream Two, the Ukrainian transit system, and even the Blue Stream pipeline (which ENI built for Gazprom earlier on the seabed of the Black Sea to Turkey, and is only being used at one half of its 16 bcm annual capacity). All of these projects, existing or virtual, must vie for access to gas supplies from western Siberia, even as those fields move past their peak, while Russian domestic demand recovers.

It would be logical to anticipate that the Italians would lobby in Moscow for South Stream and against Nord Stream Two. It also seems logical that Moscow might prioritize its German, French, and Dutch customers in Nord Stream, ahead of the South Stream project. South Stream cannot count on the strong political lobbying at state levels that helps drive Nord Stream forward.

South Stream seems to have resulted in a no-win situation at this point. Ultimately, these insoluble dilemmas stem from the Kremlin’s pre-crisis policy to build export pipeline capacities in vast surplus, compared with Russia’s own export potential. South Stream and other projects are the fruits of that policy. It was wrongly premised on continuing Russian monopolization of Central Asian gas; European consent to high-priced, take-or-pay long-term commitments to Russian-delivered gas; predatory acquisitions of infrastructure assets in consumer countries; and, as an intent, a Russian-led cartel of gas exporters to Europe. Both Dmitry Medvedev (Gazprom chairman, then head of state) and Vladimir Putin (head of state, then prime minister) are closely associated with that policy.

Failure to invest in Russian field development (apart from Siberia’s east and far east) and loss of Gazprom’s dominance in Turkmenistan have left South Stream without dedicated resources. Market-transforming processes in Europe, through the surge of LNG and spot markets, have left South Stream behind both in a non-competitive position and as an unappealing investment prospect. Like Nord Stream in some ways, the South Stream project is rooted in the invalidated assumptions of past years.

ENI’s proposal to unify South Stream with Nabucco could provide a lifeline for the South Stream project, serving ENI’s corporate interest as well as Russia’s strategic advantage in Europe. Meanwhile, however, Moscow affects a lack of interest in such unification. Following Paolo Scaroni’s proposal, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and Energy Minister, Sergei Shmatko, have reasserted Moscow’s full confidence in South Stream and its resolve to press ahead with it. These responses did not even allude to ENI as such. As Russian officialdom has done all along, Lavrov and Shmatko each made self-contradictory arguments: that South Stream and Nabucco are not in competition against each other, but that South Stream is in a far stronger position to succeed, compared with Nabucco. For its part, Gazprom acknowledged –but downplayed– ENI’s proposal. Gazprom spokesman, Sergei Kupryanov, parried that Scaroni was merely trying to demonstrate that South Stream and Nabucco are not rivals (Interfax, March 14, 15, 16).

In a far more nuanced position, Russian Gas Society President Valery Yazev (who also lobbies for Gazprom as a senior Duma deputy), has suggested that the proposed South Stream-Nabucco unification “is worth considering” and “could make sense” from Moscow’s standpoint. In that event, Yazev said, Turkmen gas would be supplied through the planned Caspian Littoral pipeline and existing pipelines to Russia’s Black Sea coast and then pumped into South Stream on the seabed of the Black Sea. Thus, South Stream-Nabucco unification would “add a branch [Nabucco] to our South Stream” in Europe and “solve the problem of filling the pipeline with Russian and Turkmen gas,” Yazev pointed out. His statement entreated West European companies in the Nabucco project to cooperate in unifying it with South Stream (ITAR-TASS, March 14).

While Moscow’s political officials affect lack of interest for reasons of prestige (as some Western policymakers assume) or play hard to get (as seems more likely), Yazev has spelled out Russian interest in a possible unification of the two projects, depending on terms to be negotiated. Unification could perhaps rescue some downscaled version of South Stream, but only at the expense of the Nabucco project and of European energy security. Considering its recent and continuing advances, Nabucco does not need South Stream in order to succeed.

20 martie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

06/ian/2010 Invitatul din weekend: Vl. Socor din nou despre „dosarul Mistral” – contractul de armament dintre Rusia şi Franţa (2/2)

PARIS S’EXCUSE: FRENCH OFFICIALS TRY RATIONALIZING NAVAL REARMAMENT OF RUSSIA (Part II)

Vladimir Socor, The Jamestown Foundation

(pentru prima parte, aici)

While French officials improvise ad-hoc excuses, the French ambassador to the United States has exceptionally attempted a more comprehensive defense of the proposed Mistral deal with Russia. Responding to a letter of inquiry from six U.S. Senators, Ambassador Pierre Vimont made the following points in his letter: 

a) “We have been keen to consult our partners, notably Georgia, before any move. b) „We have to engage Russia constructively, so as to anchor it into a mutually beneficial partnership with Europe and NATO.” c) „France has used this [warship class] in particular for humanitarian missions, due to its transport and medical capabilities.” d) The advanced communications equipment will not be exported to Russia; e) The proposed deal with Russia „would not represent a credible threat to the North Atlantic alliance.”

Contrary to Vimont’s first point, however, Georgia has objected loud and clear to the Mistral sale, through Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze in Paris last November, and President Mikheil Saakashvili most recently in the French press (Le Monde, January 15). Meanswhile, Paris is attempting to put a multilateral NATO and EU cover on a strictly bilateral Franco-Russian affair. It even implies that Russia might perhaps after all use this class of warship just for philanthropic purposes. Vimont avoids the basic issue, which is about equipping the Russian navy with these powerful platforms for offensive operations; he only addresses a possible aggravating circumstance–the handover of advanced electronics. And his final point digresses from the issue at hand, which is not global, but theater-specific in the Baltic and or the Black Sea.

Following that exchange of letters (December 18 and 21, with copies to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in both cases), French embassy spokesmen have reprised those same points for Washington media in recent weeks. While France considers equipping Russia with four or five Mistral-class ships, Russia insists on basing its Black Sea Fleet on Ukrainian territory indefinitely and has recently practiced offensive operations with its Baltic Fleet, as part of the Zapad 2009 combined-arms exercises.

Asked recently about where Moscow might deploy Mistral-class ships, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov replied cryptically that Russia is riparian to five seas (Le Monde, January 26). This number matches the maximum proposed number of ships under discussion. Lavrov follows Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s line that Russia would use such ships “wherever they would be needed.” This seems to imply that Moscow would not accept restrictions on deployment, if the sale goes ahead.

A Mistral-class ship carries 16 attack and landing helicopters (while allowing the operation of up to 30 on both decks), 900 troops, four conventional landing craft (also allowing the operation of two hovercraft), and 40 Leclerc tanks, or alternatively 13 tanks and 40 other vehicles (http://www.netmarine.net/bat/tcd/mistral/histoire01.htm). These are the figures for short-term operations, which are primarily relevant to Russia for possible actions in theaters nearby.

NATO seems politically reluctant to face the implications of the proposed sale for the Alliance itself. Some member countries are reluctant to take up the issue with Paris, while some others (including apparently the Alliance’s leadership) seem unilaterally to shoulder the onus of „resetting” relations with Russia. However, serious examination of the proposed Mistral sale in NATO need not be construed as jeopardizing NATO-Russia relations. The more relevant issue is that of integrity of NATO’s internal consultation processes and procedures.

Moscow would like–and NATO seems about to tolerate–an entirely new dispensation, whereby one or more allied countries would sell armaments to Russia in bilateral deals, uncoordinated with NATO and without objections from the Alliance as such. Ideally, from Russia’s standpoint, European countries would ultimately even compete with each other on arms offers to Russia. Trying to induce such competition even now, Moscow continually hints at buying Dutch or Spanish warships, if France does not come to terms with Russia on the Mistral. Should this sale go ahead, other West European countries might well use it as a “precedent” for selling their own military production to Russia, with a similar disregard for the security of Russia’s neighbors. Moscow has already expressed its interest in purchasing the “soldier of the future” integrated kit “Felin” from France’s Sagem company (Izvestiya, January 12).

Some safeguards may be invoked outside NATO. These include the European Union’s Code of Conduct on Arms Sales, as well as the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. However, these instruments are not legally binding; and relegating the issue to these arrangements would signify an abdication of NATO responsibility, further eroding confidence in the Alliance.

The Mistral affair should bring the wider issue of arms sales to Russia onto NATO’s agenda. The new NATO Strategic Concept, currently being drafted, provides a compelling opportunity to deal with this issue before it spins out of NATO’s ability to control (see EDM, September 18, November 2, December 2, 2009; January 7, 2010).

6 februarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

02/febr/2010 Analistul Vl. Socor revine asupra contractului de armament dintre Franţa şi Rusia – dosarul „Mistral”

The Jamestown Foundation, 26 ianuarie a.c. 

PARIS S’EXCUSE: FRENCH OFFICIALS TRY RATIONALIZING NAVAL REARMAMENT OF RUSSIA

(partea I-a)

Vladimir Socor

The approval process for boosting Russian naval power is moving forward in the French government. Paris and Moscow are negotiating the sale of one French-built Mistral-class warship to Russia, to be followed by construction of three or four such ships in Russia under French license (Interfax, January 15; RIA Novosti, January 22).

These intentions amount to a program of naval rearmament for Russia, an openly revisionist power in Europe and on its periphery. Mistral-class ships constitute by definition a power-projection capability, carrying tanks and helicopters for offensive landing operations, with an intimidating potential in Russian hands vis-à-vis maritime neighbors. NATO member and partner countries in the Baltic and Black Seas are concerned about the possible appearance of Mistral-class ships in the respective Russian fleets, if the French sale goes ahead.

France’s Inter-ministerial Commission for the Study of War Material Exports (French acronym CIEEMG), has now cleared the deal with Russia in a report to the French government. At the next higher level, the General Secretariat for National Defense and Security (SGDSN) is preparing its report on this issue for President Nicolas Sarkozy (Le Monde, January 26).

Representatives of French authorities at various levels are invoking justifications that range from the politically expedient to the crassly commercial; adding an ingredient of historical nostalgia for the Franco-Russian entente on the part of Prime Minister Francois Fillon, who actively promotes the Mistral deal.

According to two prominent French analysts receptive to government views, the Mistral deal is in line with “French diplomatic tradition…which holds that engaging Russia is better than isolating it.” Paris ought to address Russian complaints about the lack of Western technology transfers to Russia since the end of the cold war; and the Mistral deal could elicit Russian cooperation on larger strategic issues. The Sarkozy presidency regards the Russians “more as partners, albeit difficult ones. This more global vision does not [see] Georgia or Ukraine as a top priority” (Eurasianet, January 21).

By such French logic, withholding arms sales would be tantamount to isolating Russia, or undermining the credibility of political overtures to Moscow. Further by such French logic, Russia’s “difficult” behavior vis-à-vis the West would justify Western concessions to Moscow, at the expense of Russia’s neighbors in this case. And conversely, Russian cooperative behavior would have to be rewarded with arms transfers. Such official arguments need not be taken at face value, however. They purport to invoke overall Western interests in justifying a purely bilateral Franco-Russian transaction.

French government officials say off the record that no ultra-sophisticated electronics would be transferred to Russia in a Mistral transaction. By the same token, Russian officials anticipate having to buy some of the more advanced communications equipment from other suppliers. Withholding the state-of-the art French electronics, however, would not significantly diminish the Mistrals’ potential to overturn the naval power balance, if deployed with Russia’s Baltic or Black Sea fleets.

Aware of those implications, some senior officials speaking on the background at the Quai d’Orsay would prefer that Russia quietly renounce the Mistral deal: “this would be an ideal solution.” This could even help Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner out of his dilemma. The global humanitarian physician regards the Mistral affair as a “choice between consciousness and realism.” President Sarkozy and other political figures, however, are also concerned to rescue the crisis-hit French shipyards. According to management at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire (the former Chantiers de l’Atlantique, now partly state-owned), the sale of just one Mistral-class ship would save “approximately one thousand jobs for two years.” One more ship (the third overall) of this class is due for delivery to the French navy by June 2011, whereupon the shipyard has no further orders (Le Monde, January 26).

That logic implies that arms sales to Russia could be justified as an anti-crisis measure and employment-generating program by a NATO member country. It also seems to imply an open-ended policy extending well beyond 2011 and with potential spinoffs, if a Mistral contract with Russia is signed. This could create a precedent for other bilateral deals between individual NATO countries and Russia, with corrosive effects on Alliance policies.

The financing of the Mistral deal is not being discussed publicly, although it must form a subject of Franco-Russian discussions. One ship of this class in a “naked” state costs an estimated $600 million to build in France. Given Russia’s current financial situation, it would hardly be surprising if French banks are enlisted to finance Russia’s purchase of the Mistral, under credit guarantees from the French government.

2 februarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

31/ian/2010 EURAST recomandă: Vl. Socor despre şansele lui Ianukovici de a deveni preşedintele Ucrainei şi propunerile acestuia privind relaţiile cu Rusia

YANUKOVYCH CONSISTENTLY RUSSIA-LEANING IN UKRAINE’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

 by Vladimir Socor

Russia’s authorities have adopted a position of studied equidistance between the two main candidates during Ukraine’s presidential election campaign. Moscow has interfered only to the extent of ostracizing President Viktor Yushchenko, whose re-election chances it knew to be nil. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Party of Regions leader (formerly two-time prime minister) Viktor Yanukovych will face each other in the February 7 run-off. Moscow as well as Western governments have insisted throughout the campaign that they would work with either winner after the election, only stipulating that the process be free and fair.

Formal equidistance seems to be the only possible option at this stage, in view of the volatile race with an unpredictable outcome. But this option also reflects the lessons of the 2004 presidential election in Ukraine, when the Kremlin’s Yanukovych project failed outright, and the opposite Yushchenko project unraveled soon afterward. His presidency already sinking in 2006, Yushchenko tried to keep afloat by bringing RosUkrEnergo into Ukraine (as Yanukovych had first decided to do in 2004 as prime minister) and bringing Yanukovych back as prime minister (2006-2007) on a fast track toward the presidential candidacy again.

Yanukovych’s programmatic statements during this campaign differ starkly from Tymoshenko’s positions regarding Ukraine-Russia relations and Ukraine’s place in Europe. Theirs are, in major respects, two different foreign policies. Yanukovych’s stated positions are aligned with Russian policy objectives on some issues of central significance to Ukraine, his prescriptions opposite to those of Tymoshenko. (text integral, format word doc. – Socor – Ucraina 22 ian 10)

31 ianuarie 2010 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

09/ian/2010 Cititorii GEOPOLITIKON au decis: TOP 10 – Cele mai populare (şi cele mai „trecute cu vederea”) articole de aici, din anul 2009

Dumneavoastră, ca cititori, aţi hotărît!

– EURAST Center

Sitlog-ul GEOPOLITIKON (id est: combinaţia de site şi blog, pentru cei interesaţi de problematica propusă) a luat naştere în luna octombrie 2009, din ideea unui grup de iniţiativă care iniţial a subestimat nivelul de interes al tematicii „geopolitice & europene & eurasiatice” oferite (în sensul că nu se aştepta, ca în trei luni, aici să apară aproape 50.ooo de cititori, cu o evoluţie day by day în creştere). Unele dintre articolele postate pe sitlog poartă o dată anterioară – aceasta s-a petrecut din motive pur tehnice, pentru că acest sitlog este unul dintre puţinele care în momentul apariţiei propriu-zise au dorit să aibă deja postate mai multe texte, pe diferite teme. N-a fost tocmai uşor, dar a meritat efortul.

Am decis, în spiritul de transparenţă amicală şi complicitate intelectuală  pe care îl dorim în relaţia cu cititorii noştri fideli, evidenţierea la începutul acestui an 2010 a celor mai populare – şi celor mai puţin populare10 texte postate de la apariţia sitlog-ului. Facem precizarea că acest clasament – familiar pentru autorii/gestionarii de site-uri & bloguri – nu are nimic de-a face cu valoarea textelor propuse în fiecare zi – ci mai curând cu disponibilitatea unora dintre cititorii noştri de a recomanda anumite texte prietenilor/cunoscuţilor.  Aşadar, în cazul în care regăsiţi/descoperiţi texte care v-au interesat (sau nu), nu ezitaţi să transmiteţi mai departe acest lucru celor din agenda dvs.!

O amprentă aparte în acest clasament a dat-o detaliul că toamna 2009 a fost una electorală la Bucureşti – ceea ce explică, probabil, prezenţa detaşată în fruntea topului a unui text (non-geopolitic) a dlui Adrian Cioroianu despre dl Traian Băseascu, în condiţiile în care alte articole pe teme geopolitice/istorice ale aceluiaşi autor ocupă o poziţie subiacentă. Cum se va vedea, există printre cele „mai puţin populare” texte ale sitlogului unele analize – Vladimir Socor, Dan Dungaciu etc. – care, credem noi, sunt cu mult mai valoroase (ca informaţie şi interpretare) decât poziţia lor efectivă în lista de preferinţe a celor ce le-au accesat.

La fel, o anumită bibliografie a prof. Adrian Cioroianu a întrunit mai multe „lecturi” decât numărul total al studenţilor la ştiinţe/discipline umaniste din Universiatea Bucureşti din 2009 – ceea ce e măgulitor pentru sitlog, pentru autor şi pentru cititorii în speţă (şi arată că textul respectiv a fost accesat de studenţii mai multor facultăţi/universităţi din România), dar este nerelevant dat fiind că pe acest sitlog vor apărea, în curînd, şi alte bibliografii tematice ale aceluiaşi profesor. 

Facem precizarea că am eliminat din aceste clasamente  articolele & postările strict referitoare la sitlog (gen datele de identificare propriu-zise etc.) sau cele conjuncturale (gen teasing-uri, avanpremiere ale unor articole viitoare, caricaturi tematice etc.).

Aşadar, iată clasamentul pe ultimele trei luni ale anului 2009:

Primele 10 poziţii – cele mai populare articole din lunile octombrie-decembrie 2009

1. 27/nov/2009 „Good point, domnule preşedinte

2. 05/aug/2009 Bibliografie – Curs „Intelectuali şi societate în timpul regimul comunist”

3. 26/nov/2009 Documente valide şi erori penibile despre Nicolae Ceauşescu

4. 08/oct/2009 Herta Müller este româncă sau nu?

5. 25/nov/2009 Vladimir Putin merge mîine la cumpărături de lux la Paris

6. 22/dec/2009 Lucian Boia – calmul, eleganţa şi dubiul în istorie

7. 02/oct/2009 Rusia, UE şi proiectul Nabucco

8. 18/nov/2009 După 20 de ani – între Războiul Rece şi conflictele viitorului

9. 27/oct/2009 Imaginea reală a României în în lume (I)

10. 05/oct/2009 Rusia de azi şi nostalgia imperiului de ieri (I)

… şi ultimele 10 poziţii ( altfel spus, articolele cele mai „”trecute cu vederea”, pe drept sau pe nedrept – verificaţi! – în ordinea inversă a „lecturilor” primite)

10. 14/nov/2009 Invitatul din weekend: D. Dungaciu despre R. Moldova şi Tratatul de la Lisabona

9. 10/nov/2009 EURAST recomandă: Reportaj multimedia Berlinul cu şi fără Zid

8. 10/nov/2009 EURAST recomandă: Zidul Berlinului, 20 de ani mai tîrziu

7. 08/nov/2009 Ultima oră: o analiză „la rece” a situaţiei Republicii Moldova

6. 04/mart/2009 Intelectualul şi partidul comunist. Cazul Edgar Morin

5. 07/nov/2009 Invitatul din weekend: Vl. Socor despre rolul Rusiei în politica Republicii Moldova

4. 03/oct/2009 Intelectualul român în postcomunism. O înfrîngere în victorie

3. 04/febr/2009 Geopolitică şi propagandă – PR by Gazprom

2. 04/febr/2009 Ce putem aştepta de la un an electoral în Republica Moldova

1. 04/febr/2009 Cum s-a ajuns la guvernul Boc (primul dintre ele, 2008)

9 ianuarie 2010 Posted by | Bibliografii, Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

11/dec/2009 Invitatul din weekend – Vl. Socor: R. Moldova pe pilot automat după eşecul numirii unui preşedinte

December 8, 2009 — Jamestown Foundation

MOLDOVA ON AUTOMATIC PILOT AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FAILS AGAIN

by Vladimir Socor

On December 7 Moldova failed in its fifth attempt this year to elect a head of state in parliament. The Communist Party, which governed from 2001 to September 2009 and retains 48 seats in this parliament, blocked the election of Marian Lupu, presidential candidate of the now-governing Alliance for European Integration (AEI) of four parties. Lupu, who leads the Democratic Party within the AEI, received all of the AEI’s 53 votes. Under Moldova’s constitution, however, the president is elected with at least 61 votes in favor in the 101-seat parliament (Moldpres, December 7).

With this failure the parliament also lost its final chance to preserve its full constitutional legitimacy. This parliament itself is the product of repeat elections, which were held on July 29, after the parliament that had been elected on April 5 failed to elect a head of state and was consequently dissolved.

text integral, format word doc.Socor – R. Moldova – 08 dec 09

______________click pe imagine pentru rezoluţie mai bună

by Ed Allison 02 dec 09

11 decembrie 2009 Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

02/dec/2009 EURAST recomandă o excelentă analiză: Vl. Socor – Cum „pescuieşte” Rusia în apele politicii de la Chişinău

MOSCOW FISHING IN CHISINAU’S TROUBLED POLITICAL WATERS

by Vladimir Socor  

(The Jamestown Foudation, December 1th, 2009)

Moldova’s parliament, a product of the repeat elections in July and deadlocked since then, has scheduled its fourth official attempt this year (technically the fifth attempt) to elect a head of state for December 7.

The governing Alliance for European Integration (AEI) officially supports Marian Lupu, leader of the Democratic Party (third-largest in the four-party Alliance) as its collective candidate for head of state. However, Lupu has gone far in courting Russian support and risks being abandoned by the AEI. Unofficially, some AEI factions are considering ways to scuttle Lupu’s candidacy. The nominally Communist opposition has refused to designate a candidate thus far. The Communists, in power from 2001 to 2009, hold more than enough seats to block the election of the head of state in parliament and force new parliamentary elections.

While the tug-of-war between the Communists and the AEI captures public attention, a parallel contest is ongoing within the AEI itself. Behind the Alliance’s façade of unity, certain leaders have not conclusively given up their own presidential ambitions, which they had seemed to renounce when nominating Lupu as joint candidate. With the presidential election turning into a long-drawn-out process, and Lupu’s chances consequently looking more uncertain, internal rivalries are recrudescing in the AEI.

The incumbent prime minister, Vlad Filat (Liberal-Democrat Party leader), and the leader of Moldova Noastra (AEI’s smallest party) Serafim Urecheanu, had announced their presidential ambitions prior to AEI’s nomination of Lupu. The parliament’s incumbent chairman and acting head of state, Mihai Ghimpu, has repeatedly announced his readiness to continue as acting head of state for as long as necessary to change the constitution.

The gathering threats to Lupu’s candidacy have forced him to seek Russian and local Communist support (see EDM, November 4, 30). Lupu unveiled his predicament publicly for the first time in his November 24 news conference. Alluding to „differing positions and voices [within the AEI] regarding the presidential election”, he could not predict „whether these would unify or would divide even further.” Lupu warned against the intractable situation that would result „if the principles, adopted at the Alliance’s foundation [i.e, the presidential nomination], are not respected.” If the presidential election fails again and new parliamentary elections are held, Lupu said, the Democratic Party might run separately from the other AEI parties, seeking „ideologically compatible” allies in and out of parliament (Moldpres, November 24). He went on to characterize Moldova’s nominal Communist Party as largely compatible (Timpul, November 30, citing Pro-TV, November 27).

Concurrently, Lupu has proposed a 12-point platform for cooperation with the opposition Communist Party. Initiated by him and said by him to carry AEI’s endorsment, the platform is subject to further negotiation with the Communist Party, as a possible basis for Lupu’s election as president with that party’s support (Basapress, NewsIn, November 25).

Lupu’s AEI rivals have seized this opportunity to threaten his candidacy openly. On November 30 the Chisinau newspaper „Timpul,” closely linked with Filat’s Liberal-Democrat Party, vehemently attacked Lupu’s platform and sharply questioned whether it carried the AEI’s endorsment. The attack focuses on perennial, emotional issues of national identity. It rejects the Lupu platform’s planks about „creating conditions for ethnic groups’ active participation in political life,” „a balanced approach to the teaching of history,” and „combating irredentism.” It interprets these three, semi-coded planks as implying a privileged treatment to „Russian-speaking” ethnic groups, renouncing the teaching of Romanian history, and resisting Romanian influence („irredentism”). And it takes equally vehement issue with Lupu’s recent statement (Pro-TV, November 27) about strict observance of Moldova’s permanent status of neutrality and Moldova being a „multiethnic and multicultural country.”

Those parts of Lupu’s platforms read like a desperate attempt to secure Russia’s and the local Communist Party’s support. „Timpul” is almost certainly accurate in its interpretation of Lupu’s planks. This influential newspaper speaks for Romanian-minded Chisinau circles across party lines, including Filat’s latent rival, the Liberal Party of parliament chairman and acting head of state Mihai Ghimpu. With six days to go until the presidential election, „Timpul”‘s assault on Lupu indicates that AEI leaders are seriously considering abandoning Lupu’s presidential candidacy and prolonging Ghimpu’s acting presidency for an undefined period of time, in breach of the admittedly flawed constitution, and pending changes to that document by referemdum.

Thus, Lupu’s tactical rapprochement with Russia is playing into the hands of his rivals within the AEI. His tactics risk squandering his reputation as a Western-oriented politician, favorably regarded in Brussels and other European capitals, and with no personal links to Russia thus far. Unlike the other AEI leaders, Lupu has no personal links to Romania either. He and a few other AEI politicians of Lupu’s generation (now in their early 40s) represent a cultural leap from the post-Soviet era into the European integration era for Moldova. Nevertheless, feeling cornered inside the AEI, Lupu has reached out recklessly close to Russia and the Communists.

Russia would prefer a Moldovan leadership that modifies the existing, unambiguous European orientation by introducing a two-vector policy between Europe and Russia. By the same token, Russia would welcome a Moldovan leadership that sets limits to Romanian influence in Moldova.

Moscow’s optimal solution would be to support a respected Moldovan politician with a European face, who would preside over a two-vector policy. Furthermore, such a Moldovan president would have to operate in alliance with one or several political groups amenable to Russian influence. Moscow apparently hopes that it could embed Lupu into such an arrangement. However, the Kremlin’s attempts to persuade the Moldovan Communist Party or at least a part of it to break the deadlock and support Lupu’s election as president (see EDM, November) have not borne fruit thus far.

There are no pro-Russia elements in the AEI; and few such in the opposition Communist Party’s leadership (which had distanced itself dramatically from Moscow in recent years). All Moldovan political leaders including Communists subscribe to the goal of European integration (despite differences of degree in their understanding of that goal). The Communist Party, however, has switched from a pro-Europe stance to an equidistant stance between Europe and Russia in its electoral rhetoric this year.

While some AEI politicians feel close to Romania, and some are prone to Romanian national irredentism, no significant Moldovan politician is oriented toward Russia. Even among Communist parliamentarians, political Russophiles (as distinct from cultural ones) are a few passive backbenchers. Russian direct political influence in Chisinau had been nil during the nominally Communist Vladimir Voronin’s presidency (2001-2009). Pro-Moscow groups operate outside the Communist Party, on the left fringe of „Russian-speaking” ethnic groups.

However, Chisinau’s intense partisan, factional, and personal rivalries–coupled with the urgency of external economic support to the new government–impel some leaders and groups to reach out not only to the European Union or Romania, but also to Russia. In this situation, presidential aspirants and government leaders responsible for the economy are engaging in tactical fence-mending with Moscow.

Consequently, Moscow sees an opportunity to build political influence in Chisinau for the first time after 1991. It has started this effort almost from scratch in recent months. The Kremlin and the Russian government are approaching Moldovan political groups and key contestants for power, seeking to shape the outcome and create a basis for working with a post-crisis government. However, the Communists are not readily amenable, and Lupu is overplaying his tactical hand.

_______________________

(click pe imagine pentru o rezoluţie mai bună)

 by Bill Schorr, 05 nov 09

2 decembrie 2009 Posted by | caricaturi / comics, Geopolitica, Intelo | , , , , , , , , | Lasă un comentariu

08/nov/2009 Ultima oră: o analiză „la rece” a situaţiei Republicii Moldova

UCRAINIZAREA REPUBLICII MOLDOVA AVANTAJEAZA  RUSIA

Vladimir Socor

(Jamestown Foundation & Europa Liberă), 6 noiembrie a.c.

(textul şi diacriticele sînt păstrate în forma în care ne-au parvenit de la dl Vl. Socor – EURAST).

 

Criza politica si constitutionala a adus Republica Moldova pe pragul unei situatii cunoscuta din alt context ca “Ucrainizare.” Partidele lipsite de cultura cooperarii, si urmarind interese de grup pe termen scurt, au incapacitat sistemul politic.

Aproape toate partidele reprezentate in noul Parlament contribuie la mentinerea paraliziei si ne-respectarea legalitatii.

Partidul Comunistilor, nemaiavind majoritatea, dar inca detinind aproape jumatate din numarul scaunelor parlamentare, a  ratat  sansa de a participa ca factor important la tranzitia post-comunista. El a refuzat sa devina un partid socialist de tip european. In locul unei tranzitii normale, bazate pe consens politic, Comunistii promit o tranzitie agitata, cu invrajbire si instabilitate. In locul unei tranzitii posibile impreuna cu ei, o tranzitie necesara impotriva lor. In loc sa contribuie la  gestionarea inevitabilei tranzitii, in cadrul unei coalitii majoritare durabile, Partidul Comunistilor a preferat sa devina o minoritate de blocaj.
Ponderea Comunistilor in parlament le permite sa joace rolul de blocaj pe termen scurt. Dar e un rol pagubos, care va duce Partidul Comunistilor la infringere sigura in cazul unor alegeri anticipate, si poate chiar la disparitia partidului in forma sa actuala. Dupa exemplul Partidului Comunist din Ucraina. La Chisinau, Partidul Comunistilor pare sa se lase ghidat de spiritul revansei, desi posibilitatile unei revanse sint in  scadere rapida.
Blocind alegerea prezidentiala acum, Partidul Comunistilor nu face decit sa asigure propria-i infringere in alegeri parlamentare anul viitor.

Pe de alta parte, Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana abuzeaza de acea subtire majoritate aritmetica pe care o detine in Parlament. Presedintele Parlamentului, Mihai Ghimpu, nu demonstreaza respectul cuvenit nici fatza de opozitia parlamentara in persoana deputatlor Comunisti, nici fatza de procedurile legislative ca atare. Domnul Ghimpu reproduce chiar modelul de comportament pe care partidele Liberale il reprosasera domnului Vladimir Voronin cind acesta conducea Parlamentul (si, anterior, statul). In loc sa impace spiritele, actualul presedinte al Parlamentului le incinge si mai tare prin interventiile sale.
Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana foloseste tactica periculoasa de a schimba din mers regulile jocului. Prin aceasta, Alianta contribuie la prelungirea starii de incertitudine si instabilitate. Schimbarea unilaterala, abuziva a regulilor in avantajul propriu, este o metoda cunoscuta sub denumirea de “nihilism legal” in asa-zisul spatiu post-sovietic. Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana, insa, venise la guvernare cu promisiunea de a abandona definitiv spatiul post-sovietic si metodele
caracteristice acestuia.

Personal, nu cred ca partidele reprezentate in Parlament doresc sa se razboiasca vesnic intre ele. Probabil, leaderii si echipele conducatoare—cu rare exceptii–pur si simplu nu au reusit inca sa asimileze cultura cooperarii si a respectului reciproc. Presa afiliata principalelor partide intretzine si ea, cu harnicie, climatul intolerantzei.

Rusia este cea care profita de pe urma invrajbirii interne si dezorientarii Republicii Moldova. Anume Rusia a aparut, acum, in rolul de arbitru al vietii politice si posibil factor de decizie in competitia pentru putere de la Chisinau. Asa ceva nu s-a mai intimplat de douazeci de ani incoace. O asemenea intorsatura a lucrurilor ar fi fost de ne-conceput inca acum citeva luni.
Daca Ucraina vecina, cu toate disfunctionalitatzile, poate totusi—prin dimensiunile si resursele sale–sa evite amestecul direct al Rusiei in politica interna, o Republica Moldova “ucrainizata” nu va reusi decit sa deschida calea amestecului rusesc. 

Criza politica si constitutionala a adus Republica Moldova pe pragul unei situatii cunoscuta din alt context ca “Ucrainizare.” Partidele lipsite de cultura cooperarii, si urmarind interese de grup pe termen scurt, au incapacitat sistemul politic.

Aproape toate partidele reprezentate in noul Parlament contribuie la mentinerea paraliziei si ne-respectarea legalitatii.

Partidul Comunistilor, nemaiavind majoritatea, dar inca detinind aproape jumatate din numarul scaunelor parlamentare, a  ratat  sansa de a participa ca factor important la tranzitia post-comunista. El a refuzat sa devina un partid socialist de tip european. In locul unei tranzitii normale, bazate pe consens politic, Comunistii promit o tranzitie agitata, cu invrajbire si instabilitate. In locul unei tranzitii posibile impreuna cu ei, o tranzitie necesara impotriva lor. In loc sa contribuie la gestionarea inevitabilei tranzitii, in cadrul unei coalitii majoritare durabile, Partidul Comunistilor a preferat sa devina o minoritate de blocaj.
Ponderea Comunistilor in parlament le permite sa joace rolul de blocaj pe termen scurt. Dar e un rol pagubos, care va duce Partidul Comunistilor la infringere sigura in cazul unor alegeri anticipate, si poate chiar la disparitia partidului in forma sa actuala. Dupa exemplul Partidului Comunist din Ucraina. La Chisinau, Partidul Comunistilor pare sa se lase ghidat de spiritul revansei, desi posibilitatile unei revanse sint in  scadere rapida.

Blocind alegerea prezidentiala acum, Partidul Comunistilor nu face decit sa asigure propria-i infringere in alegeri parlamentare anul viitor.

Pe de alta parte, Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana abuzeaza de acea subtire majoritate aritmetica pe care o detine in Parlament. Presedintele Parlamentului, Mihai Ghimpu, nu demonstreaza respectul cuvenit nici fatza de opozitia parlamentara in persoana deputatlor Comunisti, nici fatza de procedurile legislative ca atare. Domnul Ghimpu reproduce chiar modelul de comportament pe care partidele Liberale il reprosasera domnului Vladimir Voronin cind acesta conducea Parlamentul (si, anterior, statul). In loc sa impace spiritele, actualul presedinte al Parlamentului le incinge si mai tare prin interventiile sale.
Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana foloseste tactica periculoasa de a schimba din mers regulile jocului. Prin aceasta, Alianta contribuie la prelungirea starii de incertitudine si instabilitate. Schimbarea unilaterala, abuziva a regulilor in avantajul propriu, este o metoda cunoscuta sub denumirea de “nihilism legal” in asa-zisul spatiu post-sovietic. Alianta pentru Integrare Europeana, insa, venise la guvernare cu promisiunea de a abandona definitiv spatiul post-sovietic si metodele
caracteristice acestuia.

Personal, nu cred ca partidele reprezentate in Parlament doresc sa se razboiasca vesnic intre ele. Probabil, leaderii si echipele conducatoare—cu rare exceptii–pur si simplu nu au reusit inca sa asimileze cultura cooperarii si a respectului reciproc. Presa afiliata principalelor partide intretzine si ea, cu harnicie, climatul intolerantzei.

Rusia este cea care profita de pe urma invrajbirii interne si dezorientarii Republicii Moldova. Anume Rusia a aparut, acum, in rolul de arbitru al vietii politice si posibil factor de decizie in competitia pentru putere de la Chisinau. Asa ceva nu s-a mai intimplat de douazeci de ani incoace. O asemenea intorsatura a lucrurilor ar fi fost de ne-conceput inca acum citeva luni.
Daca Ucraina vecina, cu toate disfunctionalitatzile, poate totusi—prin dimensiunile si resursele sale–sa evite amestecul direct al Rusiei in politica interna, o Republica Moldova “ucrainizata” nu va reusi decit sa deschida calea amestecului rusesc.

8 noiembrie 2009 Posted by | Intelo, Istorie | , , , , , , | Un comentariu

04/nov/2009 Vladimir Socor despre contractul de armanent dintre Franţa şi Rusia

Allons Enfants de la Russie in the Black Sea ?
FRANCE READY TO SELL OFFENSIVE HELICOPTER-CARRYING SHIPS TO RUSSIA

Vladimir Socor

 

(Recomandăm acest text scris de Vl. Socor – pentru Jamestown Foundation – despre un recent contract între Franţa şi Rusia şi posibilele sale consecinţe în aria Mării Negre – Adrian Cioroianu)

The French government and, apparently, the Élysée Palace are moving fast to sell at least one Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russsia–along with a license to build several such ships–possibly for deployment in the Black Sea. Such a sale would endow Russia with a modern naval and amphibious warfare capability that Russia currently lacks. The Mistral is by definition a power-projection capability and it can be deployed for intimidating effect on Russia’s maritime neighbors.
Less than two months ago the Russian Navy’s Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Vladimir Vysotskiy, had announced Moscow’s intention to buy a Mistral-class helicopter carrier from France and the license to build several ships of this class in Russia. He also hinted at possible Russian deployment of this capability to meet contingencies in the Black Sea: “In the conflict in August last year [against Georgia], a ship like that would have allowed [Russia’s] Black Sea Fleet to accomplish its mission in 40 minutes, not 26 hours which is how long it took us [to land the troops ashore]” (Interfax, September 11, 15).
The Mistral is a state-of-the-art class in the French naval inventory, with only two vessels of this type on active duty thus far and a third under construction. It carries 16 attack and landing helicopters (while allowing the operation of up to 30 on both decks), 900 troops, four conventional landing craft (also allowing the operation of two hovercraft), and 40 Leclerc tanks, or alternatively 13 tanks and 40 other vehicles (http://www.netmarine.net/bat/tcd/mistral/histoire01.htm). These are the figures for short-term operations, which are mainly relevant to Russia for possible actions in theaters nearby.
According to West European observers (Financial Times, October 13), Russian deployment of a helicopter-carrying ship in the Black Sea would not necessarily violate the 1936 Montreux Convention. While that convention bans aircraft carriers from passing through Turkey’s Dardanelles and Bosporus Straits, Russia could argue that a helicopter carrier does not qualify as an aircraft carrier. The interpretation might then depend on Turkey, Russia’s latest “strategic partner” in the Black Sea.
With Russia’s other strategic partner, France, negotiations are proceeding apace over the technical and financial terms of the Mistral sale. As currently envisaged, the first ship and, possibly, a second one would be built in France, to be sold without sophisticated electronics. Two or three additional ships would then be built jointly, under French license in Russia. The French decision is expected to be finalized during the first half of November.
Selling the Mistral without sophisticated electronics would not reassure Russia’s maritime neighbors. Russia would even in that case acquire a potentially threatening capability for power projection vis-à-vis most of its European maritime neighbors. The Russian military intends to put Russian Ka-27 and Ka-29 helicopters on the Mistral, if the sale goes ahead (Interfax, October 23; RIA Novosti, October 31).
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has declared in a speech at the École Militaire that partnership with Russia “can take several forms in the defense sphere, from military cooperation to close industrial partnership,” alluding to the Mistral deal (Agence France Presse, October 9). Last year at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Fillon had voiced concerns that membership action plans for Georgia and Ukraine would upset the “balance of power” to the detriment of Russia. Whether delivery of the Mistral would upset the balance of power to the detriment of France’s NATO allies and partners in the Black Sea or other theaters, however, does not seem to be very important to official Paris.
The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Defense Minister Hervé Morin, discussed the Mistral sale during their latest visit to Moscow, where Russian President Dmitry Medvedev received them. Kouchner and Morin joined their Russian counterparts, Sergei Lavrov and Anatoly Serdyukov, in the regular Franco-Russian 2+2 ministerial consultations on foreign and defense policies. At the joint news conference, Morin welcomed Russia’s intention to purchase the Mistral; while Kouchner voiced hope that Russia would soon acquire this “great,” “wonderful” class of ships, once the technical and political procedures are completed (Interfax, Ekho Moskvy, October 1).
From the official French standpoint, the Mistral sale to Russia would both express the “strategic partnership” and provide an economic stimulus for the crisis-hit STX France shipyard. The latter would team up with the French DCNS naval shipyard to build the Mistral for Russia. The STX, traditionally known as Chantiers de l’Atlantique, currently two-thirds South Korean-owned and one-third French state owned, badly needs shipbuilding orders to save the threatened French jobs. President Nicolas Sarkozy promised this when visiting the shipyard almost one year ago. Apparently, he wants the government to secure the Mistral contract for Russia (Les Echos, October 7).
Meanwhile, Moscow is alluding to possible deals with the Netherlands or with Spain for helicopter carriers made in those countries. Such hints serve to goad Paris into rushing the sale of the Mistral.
Russia’s naval command is now equivocating about the number, possible missions, and basing for the Mistral in Russia. According to Vice-Admiral Oleg Burtsev, First Deputy Chief of the Russian Navy’s Main Staff, Russia may acquire, and build under French license, up to five ships of this class for possible deployment anywhere, from the Northern or Pacific Fleets to Somalia. The Russian shipyards in Severodvinsk or in St. Petersburg could build these ships, he told Russian media (RIA Novosti, Ekho Moskvy, Zvezda TV, October 31).
French authorities ignore warnings such as that of Sorbonne professor Francoise Thom: “Is it wise to arm a country that has just dismembered a neighboring state, Georgia, and no longer conceals its intentions to restore, by force if necessary, its hegemony in the ex-Soviet space? Is France, in the name of its ‘strategic partnership’ with Russia, closing its eyes to Russian preparations for future wars of aggression, which will become possible once Russia’s military reform, launched in September 2008, will have borne fruit? We must not be deluded into selling offensive armaments to Russia” (Le Monde, October 7).
In Brussels, however, an unidentified “senior figure at NATO Headquarters” sees no problem there: “This is a legal and bilateral issue between France and Russia and there has been no discussion about it at NATO” (Financial Times, October 13). If this is indeed an official position, it would only reflect the deterioration in the quality of consultation processes there since August. Candid discussion of this issue among NATO Allies could be one way toward restoring that quality.

4 noiembrie 2009 Posted by | Geopolitica | , , , , , | 3 comentarii