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  #761  
Old 04.08.2014, 22:30
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

Sanctions, bad business model, or Putin encouraging Russians to vacation in Russia rather than abroad?

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Labirint's sudden failure on Saturday left some 27,000 Russian tourists without return tickets, Turpomoshch said.


Anxious Labirint customers are bombarding Turpomoshch with calls at a rate of five per minute, the agency says, adding that "our managers are working flat-out" to help them.


Another reason Labirint gave for its move was the Russian state's advice that military or security service officials should not go abroad.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28637794
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  #762  
Old 05.08.2014, 12:32
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

It seems Russia can't even be truthful with their retaliation towards sanctions. Suddenly in the last few days/weeks/months Russia's Health Ministry has found all kinds of "health violations" in food imported from Western countries.

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Indeed, Russian media has been almost as committed to reporting the unfolding serial drama of food regulations as it has to documenting the tit-for-tat accusations of cross-border shelling between Russia and Ukraine.

In the past few days, the scope of the limitations has expanded rapidly: As of Friday, Russian officials have banned most grain imports from Ukraine, stopped bringing in produce from Poland and are murmuring about potentially expanding the food blacklist to include European fruits and vegetables, U.S. chickens, and flagship items from U.S. fast-food restaurant chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC, according to reports. Separately this week, Wendy’s announced it would be closing its locations in Russia.
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  #763  
Old 05.08.2014, 12:40
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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You are joking, Russia wanted to buy the Kazakhstan oil and gas but the Chinese beat them to it. China is also buying vast quantities from other ex Soviet countries.

If these ex Soviet countries are "within the sphere of Russian influence" then Russia needs to refresh their influence. Reality is these countries are moving away from Russia and selling ever more to China.

Russia is today nothing like the world power that the Soviet Union was at its peak.

Russia recently signed a huge deal to supply China with gas but first they have to build a new pipeline for at least +$50 Billion; interesting to see where they will raise the necessary funding now Western banks are closed to them? And how many years it will take them to complete the pipeline, meanwhile China is building pipelines across Asia like crazy.
I do not see China investing billions here like they do for the ex Soviet countries?

Read here for more background.

Thank you for the article....I had not seen this one and its good to read as much as possible on this topic....I don't think its going away any time soon. You in turn may be interested in the attached Forbes articles on the subject.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoz...-europe-await/

It is interesting that so far China has made no comment (that I have seen) about the Ukraine situation. I am also not convinced that China would not invest in Russia....over the past 20+ years China has been quietly investing $billions into Africa, mostly building roads and football stadiums for free, just to be able to secure mining concessions at 'some point'...which they are now finally reaping the rewards of. If China values its connection with Russia (which the protocol established by the Chinese President's visit to Moscow suggests) and wants to buy oil and gas from it, then I would not be surprised if they built the pipelines themselves. China has much to gain by having an ally to its north-west.

Countries like Belarus and Kazakhstan are not moving away from Russia....far from it; the EEU officially starts next year with common markets for oil and gas established not later than 2025. Furthermore, as western sanctions kick in I would expect them to be drawn closer together. The new Ukrainian President is more Russian facing than western....this is what Putin wanted - President Poroshenko has his $billions in chocolate factories in Russia! And is it any surprise that Minsk is being chosen as the possible negotiation seat between Ukraine and Russia?

Aside from this Gazprom is still the largest foreign supplier of natural gas to Europe, with a significant amount of the gas it supplies to Europe coming from Kazakhstan.

We also need to be careful about reference or inference about Soviet Union....Russia is not the Soviet Union, nor is it trying to be. It has its own history and own agenda. The Cambridge Initiative for Security Studies coins a phrase "historic attention span deficit syndrome", and by that they mean that people don't have an accurate historical background to the whole situation.

I welcome debate on this subject....I don't think anyone has the answer yet and whilst we search for tangible predictions of the future outcomes, the variables are so significant that we will need to follow this closely for some time.
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  #764  
Old 05.08.2014, 13:01
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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It seems Russia can't even be truthful with their retaliation towards sanctions. Suddenly in the last few days/weeks/months Russia's Health Ministry has found all kinds of "health violations" in food imported from Western countries.
Interesting to see if there is any reaction from the local population when these popular foods cease to be available.
So far as I know McDonalds and Burger King (maybe Wendy also) are franchises so these Russian actions will damage their own Russian people; the franchise owners?
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  #765  
Old 05.08.2014, 13:04
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Countries like Belarus and Kazakhstan are not moving away from Russia....far from it;
I wouldn't just paint the former Soviet countries in Russia's "sphere" as simply being "pro-Russian", it's a little more complicated. Belarus, for example, has not been a staunch Russian ally in the Ukraine situation, but rather seeks to stay in the middle and try to benefit by playing both sides..


Quote:
A Russian lawmaker wants to stop the delivery of Russian oil products to Belarus.



Media reports in Belarus and Russia on Augsut 5 quoted Russian Duma deputy Roman Khudyakov as saying that the shipments to Belarus must be stopped to prevent Minsk from delivering the petroleum supplies to Ukraine.
Khudyakov said oil products delivered by Minsk to Kyiv "are used by tanks involved in military operations against" pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.


Khudyakov said that by supplying oil products to Kyiv, Belarus "is helping Ukrainian armed forces to destroy the Ukrainian nation."


Khudyakov's statement came after Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko by telephone on August 4 that Minsk is ready to supply Ukraine with oil products.


Belarus is considered a close ally of Russia and also maintains close ties with Ukraine.
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  #766  
Old 05.08.2014, 13:14
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Interesting to see if there is any reaction from the local population when these popular foods cease to be available.
So far as I know McDonalds and Burger King (maybe Wendy also) are franchises so these Russian actions will damage their own Russian people; the franchise owners?
Putin says Russia can make their own version of Mc Donalds:
http://www.schweizerbauer.ch/politik...lds-16137.html

Basically, it looks like it will return to the Soviet Union, where they say "we don't need Coca-Cola, we can make our own Russian cola, we don't need BMW's we can make our own Russian cars, we don't need Western technology like Windows, we can make our own, etc."

...let's see if Putin can keep a 80% approval rating when everyone in Russia is driving Lada's and buying McPutin burgers
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  #767  
Old 05.08.2014, 13:40
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Thank you for the article....I had not seen this one and its good to read as much as possible on this topic....I don't think its going away any time soon. You in turn may be interested in the attached Forbes articles on the subject.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoz...-europe-await/

It is interesting that so far China has made no comment (that I have seen) about the Ukraine situation. I am also not convinced that China would not invest in Russia....over the past 20+ years China has been quietly investing $billions into Africa, mostly building roads and football stadiums for free, just to be able to secure mining concessions at 'some point'...which they are now finally reaping the rewards of. If China values its connection with Russia (which the protocol established by the Chinese President's visit to Moscow suggests) and wants to buy oil and gas from it, then I would not be surprised if they built the pipelines themselves. China has much to gain by having an ally to its north-west.

Countries like Belarus and Kazakhstan are not moving away from Russia....far from it; the EEU officially starts next year with common markets for oil and gas established not later than 2025. Furthermore, as western sanctions kick in I would expect them to be drawn closer together. The new Ukrainian President is more Russian facing than western....this is what Putin wanted - President Poroshenko has his $billions in chocolate factories in Russia! And is it any surprise that Minsk is being chosen as the possible negotiation seat between Ukraine and Russia?

Aside from this Gazprom is still the largest foreign supplier of natural gas to Europe, with a significant amount of the gas it supplies to Europe coming from Kazakhstan.

We also need to be careful about reference or inference about Soviet Union....Russia is not the Soviet Union, nor is it trying to be. It has its own history and own agenda. The Cambridge Initiative for Security Studies coins a phrase "historic attention span deficit syndrome", and by that they mean that people don't have an accurate historical background to the whole situation.

I welcome debate on this subject....I don't think anyone has the answer yet and whilst we search for tangible predictions of the future outcomes, the variables are so significant that we will need to follow this closely for some time.
About "It is interesting that so far China has made no comment (that I have seen) about the Ukraine situation" Take a look at the Security Council discussion of 16th March on Crimea here.
This was a first for China as they abstained from the voting instead of supporting Russia as usual.
China also said during this debate "China had always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States"

About "The Cambridge Initiative for Security Studies coins a phrase "historic attention span deficit syndrome". Ah, a quote direct from the Russian propaganda sheet RT; good to know where you are coming from

About "Russia is not the Soviet Union, nor is it trying to be"
Did you see "Vladimir Putin stated in November 2011 that the Eurasian Economic Union would build upon the "best values of the Soviet Union"?

About "I am also not convinced that China would not invest in Russia....over the past 20+ years China has been quietly investing $billions into Africa" Well I am convinced; their 20+ year track record proves it.

About" Gazprom is still the largest foreign supplier of natural gas to Europe, with a significant amount of the gas it supplies to Europe coming from Kazakhstan." Russia used to be able to buy 100% of the Kazakhstan gas but this percentage is ever decreasing as Kazakhstan finds better paying customers.

About "President Poroshenko has his $billions in chocolate factories in Russia! " let us also not forget the $billions Poroshenko had in Crimea businesses before the Russians confiscated them!
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  #768  
Old 05.08.2014, 14:23
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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About "It is interesting that so far China has made no comment (that I have seen) about the Ukraine situation" Take a look at the Security Council discussion of 16th March on Crimea here.
This was a first for China as they abstained from the voting instead of supporting Russia as usual.
China also said during this debate "China had always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States"

About "The Cambridge Initiative for Security Studies coins a phrase "historic attention span deficit syndrome". Ah, a quote direct from the Russian propaganda sheet RT; good to know where you are coming from

About "Russia is not the Soviet Union, nor is it trying to be"
Did you see "Vladimir Putin stated in November 2011 that the Eurasian Economic Union would build upon the "best values of the Soviet Union"?

About "I am also not convinced that China would not invest in Russia....over the past 20+ years China has been quietly investing $billions into Africa" Well I am convinced; their 20+ year track record proves it.

About" Gazprom is still the largest foreign supplier of natural gas to Europe, with a significant amount of the gas it supplies to Europe coming from Kazakhstan." Russia used to be able to buy 100% of the Kazakhstan gas but this percentage is ever decreasing as Kazakhstan finds better paying customers.

About "President Poroshenko has his $billions in chocolate factories in Russia! " let us also not forget the $billions Poroshenko had in Crimea businesses before the Russians confiscated them!

Its important to read all areas...quoting the CISS as printed in RT doesn't say any more about where I am coming from than providing links to the English speaking SCMP says about you . This debate is useful though. China has not always supported Russia, and remaining neutral in this context doesn't demonstrate anything - neither does the quote, which is laughable given China's historic position on borders closer to its home! I think in the big scheme of things China has its own problems to address over the next 10 years, so does not want to burn too many economic bridges.

Despite all, there is no question that Russia is trying to establish a degree of control over its region of Eurasia. I doubt if that statement is in question. The purpose of considering all this, is what impact will this have on the rest of the world in the near to mid term. If we are heading towards a new Cold War, or freezing of relations, its better to understand what that will look like. It is unlikely to be something that happens over night, and it will not be triggered by one single event - it is likely to be a slower transition over a period of time and multiple events. The danger is that since many people understand the economics of the last cold war, slipping back into it holds no great fears, except these things are never the same again. As Mark Twain said : “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
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  #769  
Old 05.08.2014, 14:45
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

Well, I'm worried because in Eastern Europe nothing it's predictable.
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  #770  
Old 05.08.2014, 16:42
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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"...we don't need BMW's we can make our own Russian cars..."
Spot-on except for this. Not even the staunchest Russian patriot has any faith in their countrymen's abilities to make cars anymore.
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Old 05.08.2014, 17:08
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Spot-on except for this. Not even the staunchest Russian patriot has any faith in their countrymen's abilities to make cars anymore.
I was going to point to the much hyped (within Russia) Marussia cars, but then I just saw they went defunct this year:

Quote:
Marussia Motors (Russian: Маруся [ma´rusja]) was a Russian sports car manufacturer founded in 2007 and defunct in 2014.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marussia_Motors

Interesting, I didn't realize the "Russian premier sports car" was equipped with English-built motors (!!)

Quote:
The English company Cosworth supplies Marussia with two different V6 engines.
Putin doesn't look too happy sitting behind the wheel of a VW with Merkel riding shotgun ( I really wish I could say this picture was photoshopped, but it's not)



http://www.autoevolution.com/news/vl...ept-57618.html
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Old 06.08.2014, 12:13
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

Looking at the headlines this morning, Russian state media ITAR-TASS:

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American media refuse to meet with Ukrainian servicemen who asked for asylum in Russia
http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/743699

After watching a BBC video interview with the soldiers, none of them applied for asylum, but had simply run out of ammunition and under heavy fire, took the nearest exit, and don't seem to want to stay in Russia longer than necessary.. And I'm note sure why Russian media would run a headline like the US media was "refusing" to meet with them? Like they would tell them something they didn't want to hear? Would they say something to the BBC that they wouldn't say to a US media outlet?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28652096
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  #773  
Old 06.08.2014, 14:13
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Looking at the headlines this morning, Russian state media ITAR-TASS:

http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/743699

After watching a BBC video interview with the soldiers, none of them applied for asylum, but had simply run out of ammunition and under heavy fire, took the nearest exit, and don't seem to want to stay in Russia longer than necessary.. And I'm note sure why Russian media would run a headline like the US media was "refusing" to meet with them? Like they would tell them something they didn't want to hear? Would they say something to the BBC that they wouldn't say to a US media outlet?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28652096

What a mess! Its hardly surprising given the escalating cost to life and property in this conflict that both Ukrainian and Russian media want to soften the blow and maintain as much support as possible, both at home and abroad, for their actions as well as provide them with possible exit strategies.

This is going to get worse over the next few days and weeks before an 'end' is reached, and even that end will only be the start of the next phase of political wrangling. The foreign journalists certainly have a hard time trying to decipher what is genuine or not, and what is really going on.

It was interesting to see that on one hand the Ukrainian Generals are saying that they expect victory soon, but at the same time a Battalion of soldiers walk into Russia as they had run out of supplies and support and basically had no options left. This would suggest that the Ukrainian military is running out of resources and funding (as was predicted as at 1 August), which does not bode well for a swift and positive conclusion to this. Sadly, if this is the case, this conflict could go on for a long time. Asymmetric wars are hard to conclusively end, and they are never ended purely by military means. We need only consider Syria and how that is being played out - and more importantly how it is affecting the region. Is it surprising that other old wounds in the region are flaring up again (Armenia and Azerbaijan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq)?

It is possible that the Ukrainians could isolate Donetsk and cut off supplies to the pro-Russian rebels...but then what? Would Russia look to fly in supplies to help the civilians still in Donetsk (as well as militia) in a strangely reverse fashion to the Berlin blockade? Or would the rebels fall back on Luhansk, sparing a potentially bloody and extremely costly street to street battle in Donestsk, and placing them in a stronger position where they can be better supplied and supported by the Russians?

As for the American press staying away, this may actually be on the advise of the likes of OSAC, following updated warnings to US nationals, including high risk of kidnap - the last thing anyone needs right now is a bunch of US journalists being held hostage, or being accused of being spies by pro-Russian rebels. I would not read much into this, other than what we are reading and hearing in the news is still not the full picture.
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  #774  
Old 07.08.2014, 00:42
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

From today's Guardian "Vladimir Putin has banned the import of agricultural goods from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia in a tit-for-tat move that deepens the economic standoff between the Kremlin and the west.

Russian government officials have been told to draw up a list of western agricultural products and raw materials that will be banned or restricted for up to one year, according to the decree published on the Kremlin website.

In tacit recognition that Russian consumers will bear the cost of the import ban, the decree also instructs officials to come up with measures to stabilise commodity markets and prevent food price rises
."

Does not sound very practical? I assume Russia currently imports this stuff because they need it? Preventing price rises sounds like the failed Argentine idea.

Seems Russia imports 40% of its food; looks like there will be some belt tightening!!
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Old 07.08.2014, 01:42
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

Wonder how this ban on imports will work with the EEU. The EEU is claimed to be a commercial not political group so theoretically Belarus and Kazakhstan could import Western goods and sell them through the common market into Russia. I suspect that practically it will be different.

I foresee a big opportunity to start a re-packaging and re-labelling business in China!

Seems Putin really wants to go back to Soviet Union practices; I am thinking of food shops with empty shelves!
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Old 07.08.2014, 09:41
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Putin doesn't look too happy sitting behind the wheel of a VW with Merkel riding shotgun ( I really wish I could say this picture was photoshopped, but it's not)

l
But that IS his happy face.
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Old 07.08.2014, 11:48
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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Wonder how this ban on imports will work with the EEU. The EEU is claimed to be a commercial not political group so theoretically Belarus and Kazakhstan could import Western goods and sell them through the common market into Russia. I suspect that practically it will be different.

I foresee a big opportunity to start a re-packaging and re-labelling business in China!

Seems Putin really wants to go back to Soviet Union practices; I am thinking of food shops with empty shelves!

marton......I like your thinking
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Old 07.08.2014, 12:17
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

In terms of economic sanctions against Russia from the west, I wonder what potential impact the newly formed BRICS Bank will have, not just now but in the near future.

http://www.voanews.com/content/analy...n/1973248.html

This is an entity that neither USA nor Germany (World Bank, IMF) have any control over and it could conceivably be used to fund pipeline work and other resource development funding that would/could ultimately benefit Russia, as well as the other BRICS nations. In other words it could be used to negate sanctions imposed by the west.
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Old 07.08.2014, 12:44
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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In terms of economic sanctions against Russia from the west, I wonder what potential impact the newly formed BRICS Bank will have, not just now but in the near future.

http://www.voanews.com/content/analy...n/1973248.html

This is an entity that neither USA nor Germany (World Bank, IMF) have any control over and it could conceivably be used to fund pipeline work and other resource development funding that would/could ultimately benefit Russia, as well as the other BRICS nations. In other words it could be used to negate sanctions imposed by the west.
Good idea to start this bank, they will need to be careful who has the keys to the vaults
Key step will be when the partners actually pay their entry fees. For South Africa $10 Billion is 20% of their total foreign exchange reserves and around 15% of Brazil's.

About "In terms of economic sanctions against Russia from the west, I wonder what potential impact...." I suspect the current round of sanctions will not be impacted because it will probably be a long time before this bank gets into full action.

About "it could conceivably be used to fund pipeline work and other...." Indeed, of course with the current prices for building pipelines they will need a lot more than $100 billion.

Finally "The new BRICS development bank should have an initial authorized capital of $100 billion dollars. " Dollars? So much for any plans for moving away from the US dollar?
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Old 07.08.2014, 15:24
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Re: World War 3 or just a local spat in Ukraine?

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This is an entity that neither USA nor Germany (World Bank, IMF) have any control over and it could conceivably be used to fund pipeline work and other resource development funding that would/could ultimately benefit Russia, as well as the other BRICS nations. In other words it could be used to negate sanctions imposed by the west.
How would a pipeline benefit Brazil, India or S.Africa?

Assuming it even gets off the ground, I don't have too much faith in anything BRICS-based, because there is little cohesion there. Most of these BRICS countries are more competing with each other than wanting to help one another. "The West" (ie: US, EU, Canada, Australia) shares a long history together as well as a common set of values in democracy and human rights; while BRICS countries have not only various political structures, but various values, cultures, etc. There isn't much that binds them together other than their "up-and-coming" status.

However, as Putin continues to drive Russia away from the West, he will probably put more stock in BRICS in order to get some kind of international support, altho I don't know what level of support or what kind of friends he will find there. I guess we will find out soon, as Russia will need to go knocking on some Asian, African and S.American doors to find somewhere to import food from (assuming these countries can manage to pass Russia's apparently stringent health requirements that most EU countries recently failed )

Altho Russia is turning politically away from Europe, Russian people still like to have vacations in Italy, drive German cars, eat French food, etc. ...I don't think these can easily be replaced by Asian substitutes. But then I guess Russians aren't foreigners to the Black Market either
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