Category Archives: Economy & Investment
Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding his annual news conference in Moscow. 2016 press conference lasted over four hours! Similar Q&A sessions in the past have lasted similarly, several hours. The record was set in 2008, when Vladimir Putin spent four hours and 40 minutes speaking to journalists.
RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air
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Thanks to FT contributor Masaki/AKAIDA @ for the link!
Business & Economy December 20, 20:13
Russian Railways is working on the concept of a cargo train, which will be capable to carry from 300 to 600 tonnes of cargos at a speed up to 300 km per hour.
Cargo transit shipments from Europe to China by Russian high-speed railway will take two days instead of 60 days by sea, President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov said speaking at a meeting of the United Russia faction.
“We plan to reach China via Kazakhstan and to carry special high profit cargos to Europe via Russia, because a ship sails now 60 days, which is a long time. It sails round India and only than arrives to Europe. With a high speed (railway) transport we will be able to deliver goods in two days, and to earn extra money for our country,” he said.
Russian Railways’ main task for 2017 is the launch of the project and the start of the construction of the Moscow-Kazan high speed railway.
The Moscow-Kazan High Speed Railway’s total length will stand at around 770 kilometers. Trains may go at a speed of 350-400 kilometers per hour, and the time en route between the two cities could be 3-3.5 hours against the current 14 hours. According to Belozerov the railroad may be commissioned before 2022-2023.
The total cost of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway line is estimated at 1.068 trillion rubles ($16.8 bln). The Moscow-Kazan section may later be extended to China, connecting the two countries across Kazakhstan. According to the Russian Railways, the length of Moscow-Beijing railroad will be 7769 km, travel time – 32.8 hours (four times faster compared to current 130.4 hours). The average annual passenger traffic is estimated at 195 mln people.
China intends to provide 400 bln rubles ($6.5 bln) for the project of Moscow-Kazan high speed railway as a credit for 20 years and more than 100 bln rubles ($1.6 bln) as a contribution to the charter capital of the special project company.
The German Initiative Consortium (includes Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bahn and other companies) is ready to allocate 2.7 bln euros to finance the construction of the high-speed railway line and to attract up to 800 mln euros for the project.
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Russian Aviation Consortium OAK and China signed contact to create a joint long-distance passenger super-jet, which will compete with Boeing and Airbus. The jet will come in three modifications with 3 different passenger capacities, basic being 240 people. The effectiveness is expected to be 10-15% higher than competitors, with lower price compared to corresponding Boeing and Airbus models, while the materials and tech used are cutting edge. First contracts are expected in 2019 and the jet will be sold internationally. The jet will begin flying in 2023. Regular flights will begin in 2026. The program will run till 2045. Video of the new jet:
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LadaRayLive 18. TRUMP vs CLINTON: How Will Electors Vote on Dec. 19?
Elector Rebellion on Dec. 19? Can Hillary Still Win Presidency?
Soros financed protests. NWO collapse and the fight of the US elites.
Trump already making a difference, before taking office? Trump’s pre-White House moves: appointment of Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil to the post of the Secretary of State, Airforce 1 Boeing Tweet, IBM promises jobs and ‘made in America.’ Fed rate hike.
Who is trying to sabotage Trump’s presidency? Trump’s assassination?
Oil vs clean energy, and more…
Plus, Lada Ray predictions.
Appointment of Rex Tillerson of Exxon Mobil to the post of the Secretary of State and the clash of the US elites:
Recall what I said in ESR16: the elites that get it and don’t want to be left behind during the Great Earth Shift are behind Trump. Now we are beginning to see what kind of elites are behind Trump. Tillerson is a prominent representative of such elites. Being pro-Russian or at least neutral to Russia, is a major pre-requisite. Tillerson spoke up against Russian sanctions, for which he and his company got in trouble. He continued working with Russian partner Rosneft, despite sanctions. Received Order of Friendship from Putin. Tillerson appointment is a strong message by Trump.
As I have discussed before, Russia – The Great Balancer is presently rebalancing the world into a new reality.
About Russia-The Great Balancer and the Earth Shift (on LadaRay.com)
For Lada Ray’s complete predictions listen to full (incl. addendum)
Free part 1 of this report is available on Lada Ray Channel!
PRE-Announcing 2017 LADA RAY WEBINARS!
Some of the topics that will be covered:
1. Why USA hasn’t collapsed yet and its future timeline. Comparisons of the collapse of the USSR vs USA & EU. Why various gurus got the timing and details wrong? How the collapse of the USA and West is similar, and how it’s completely unlike the USSR collapse?
2. Will Trump be able to change the outcome and save America from collapse? What to expect from Trump’s first term and how will his destiny shape up?
3. The future of America and the West. What do you need to do to prepare for what’s to come. Lada Ray’s Futurist Trendcast.
4. Global relocation to avoid the collapse, or taking a stand in your country? How Lada sees it.
4. Dollar collapse and the multi-currency world. Why the West pushes for cashless society? How dangerous is it for our freedoms and democracy? The multidimensional perspective: how Lada sees the future of money. Predictions regarding gold and silver, Bitcoin and digital currency. What if you keep your dollars or euros in the bank? Plus, what kind of investments may be favorable going forward?
All this and much more to come in 2017! Participants of live Lada Ray Webinars will have the opportunity to ask questions! Those who want to listen at their leisure, will be able to do so later. First Lada Ray Webinar will be announced in January 2017.
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Journey through authentic Uzbekistan in pics!
Pictures and excerpts from Lada Ray’s latest Earth Shift Report 14:
SILK ROAD-ISLAMISM-MAIDAN-EURASIAN UNION
Where Uzbekistan falls on the new Eurasian map (2014)
Map of the Soviet Union: Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) is in purple, below Kazakh SSR
1. Uzbek SSR flag with Uzbek SSR crest superimposed (both based on the USSR flag and crest)
2. Today’s Uzbekistan flag (with decided influences from Muslim and US traditions)
Uzbekistan was always famous for its cotton and its food: cotton harvest
Famed Uzbek Plov, a very delicious dish, consisting of rice, meat, garlic and spices; carrots, raisins or other dried fruit could be added as well.
Vibrant Central Asian / Uzbek bazaars haven’t changed much since the times of the old Silk Road: local breads, vegetables and spices are sold.
The only difference: now women sell produce, while in medieval times only men were allowed to trade. A woman’s place was at home, cooking, cleaning, rearing children, while her face and body had to stay hidden at all times underneath a burqa.
It has to be strongly emphasized that this was a life of a woman in Central Asia before the 1917 Russian Revolution.
With all its shortcomings, the Revolution and new ideas by Lenin brought a true social revolution to backwards areas like Central Asia. Women suddenly could go to school, vote, gain professions and work outside of home.
Per Muslim custom, only males are allowed at President Karimov’s lavish funeral ceremony inside the historic Samarkand cemetery
PM Dmitry Medvedev, who has represented Russia at the late President Karimov’s funeral, consoles Karimov’s wife Tatyana Karimova and younger daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva.
Notice that Karimov’s wife is Russian, and his daughter is married to a Russian, which we can tell by their names. Like in Kazakhstan, despite 25 years of ‘independence’ and attempts to distance away from Russia, national elites remain Russian-speaking and largely connected to Russia via education, culture, wives and various relatives.
The USSR invested untold billions into meticulously restoring and preserving the historic Silk Road city of Samarkand and another gem, Bukhara. If not for Soviet restoration and preservation, today little would be left of both.
Today, Samarkand is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Beggars in Samarkand, 1905
Painting: 19th century Samarkand, remnants of the Silk Road
Restored Samarkand today: UNESCO World Heritage site
For many more spectacular images of Samarkand, Tashkent, Uzbek bazaars and customs, along with history, lore, geopolitics and Lada Ray prognosis for Eurasia, EAEU and the New Silk Road
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Eurasia Developments: Belarus Monetary Reform; Moscow World’s Most Dynamic City; Armenia Joins Russian Air Defence
Eurasia and EAEU Developments: Goodbye Belorussian Millions (Belarus Monetary Reform); Moscow – World’s Most Dynamic City; Armenia Joins Russian Air Defence Network
Since there is a demand among my readers for the positive and noteworthy news from Russia and Eurasia, here are some breaking news of interest. I am combining these three items in one as they are loosely related.
The news are: 1. The long-overdue Belorussian ruble monetary reform; 2. the recognition of Moscow as the world’s most dynamically developing city; 3. Armenia Joins Russian Air Defence Network
Why are they related? It’s clear to me that despite Russian sanctions, despite attempts to destabilize Eurasia and EAEU, despite US attempting to generate color revolutions and conflicts between members of the EAEU, the big Eurasian ship is continuing its steady movement forward. And that’s good news.
I do recommend, for those of my readers who never got the chance, to go ahead and read/watch my Earth Shift Reports dedicated to the topic at hand (ESRs are donation-based and you’ll find full instructions on report page). These reports summarize and pull together all the relevant intel, plus my analytics and predictions, thus giving you a complete and diverse picture of everything surrounding EAEU and Eurasia. Here they are:
- ESR1: IS PUTIN PART OF NWO? (on Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan)
- ESR9: ATTACK ON KAZAKHSTAN: WHO DESTABILIZES EURASIAN UNION (all about Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Caucasus, Armenia featuring prominently)
Goodbye Belorussian Millions! (Belarus Monetary Reform)
Till today, in order to do some basic shopping Belorussians had to carry large wads of cash. Say, a kilo of meat would cost you 120,000 Belo-rubles (incidentally, Belo-rubles is my own witty abbreviation for Belorussian rubles). In reality, the whopping 10,000 ruble banknote has been small change, while the actual metal coins haven’t been seen in Belarus since Soviet times. I traveled to Belarus in 2015 and I can tell you that trying to figure out what costs what in real terms while pulling out of your wallet banknotes worth ‘millions’ to make a minor purchase was awfully awkward. Other than that I enjoyed my trip tremendously. Belarus has problems of its own, but overall it looks pretty good, especially in comparison with neighboring Ukraine and Baltics. I describe how it all compares in ESR1.
For a moment and a half I even considered moving to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, after a lucrative advisory offer I received.
By far the biggest problem Belarus has is rampant inflation and lack of confidence in the national currency. I told my contacts in Belarus that this problem isn’t Belarus’s fault. Moreover, it simply cannot be fixed under today’s global economic and financial conditions, until 4 things change globally:
1. There is no way to correct this problem for as long as the US dollar is the dominant and practically only global reserve currency;
2. In order for Belo-ruble to stabilize, a new multipolar world has to emerge and take hold;
3. Belarus has to integrate much more into the Eurasian Union and the new common currency has to emerge;
4. The new global economy must be based NOT on money, as the Western-centric model does today, but on resources and production. In other words, the predatory Western economic/finance model has to be replaced.
All these processes have to develop together, and once the critical mass is reached the stabilization will occur naturally.
The above 4 conditions apply in different degrees to Russia, Brazil, China and absolutely all economies of the world. Some, due to added political factors, are hit harder than others. So add to the above list the change in the political system of the West.
However, Belarus can’t wait that long. Monetary reform was planned in 2008, yet it was postponed due to the global crisis. The money printed and coins stamped in 2008 sat in the vaults. This new money is being released tomorrow, July 1, 2016.
Belarus is saying goodbye to the easy ‘Belorussian millionaires’ whose real assets would be meager compared to small potatoes in nearby Russia. June 30 was the last day the astronomical multi-million ruble store prices were in effect. Starting tomorrow Belo-ruble slashes four zeros and what has been 10,000 rubles will become just 1 ruble.
It has to be noted that Belorussian ruble is not the same as Russian ruble, although it shares the name. The traditional Russian ruble got divided as a result of the 1991 USSR breakup. In the ’90s the worst plunge the Russian ruble experienced was $1 to 600 rubles, and that was a catastrophe. At the very same time Belo-ruble fell by hundreds of times against the plunging Russian ruble.
The Belorussian monetary reform will be gradual and old money will be accepted for a while next to the new ruble. Here is a video in Russian, showing Belarus and some of the Belorussian money – the old and the new rubles:
Moscow as the world’s most dynamically developing city
Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has announced that Moscow tops the global list of seven most dynamically developing cities. A number of new high-profile city development projects were presented at today’s Moscow International Urban Development Forum. Moscow also has been named one of the world’s ten cities with best investment climate – VIDEO.
So much for sanctions, ‘international isolation’ and all that jazz.
Below some of my images of Moscow: 1. Moskva River embankment with Christ the Savior Cathedral and Peter the Great monument, 2. Alexandrovsky (Alexander) Gardens near Kremlin, 3. Novodevichy Monastery.
(Just recalling Obama’s last year’s pronouncements that ‘Russia’s economy has been blown to pieces’ and that ‘no one goes to Russia any more.’ Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama: what a fabulous match they are, and talk about being a laughingstock.)
Armenia Joins Russian Air Defence Network
Armenian parliament voted to join the Russian air defence network. The development is especially noteworthy because it happens after relentless attempts by US to create a rift between Russia and Armenia, plus multiple attempts of color revolution and political regime change, in order to tear Armenia away from Russia and Eurasian Union, which this post-Soviet republic joined in 2015. I describe all these subversive attempts and how Russia managed to fend off the attacks in ESR9.
Another interesting coincidence of Armenia joining Russian international air defence system at this very moment is that it happens within one day after Erdogan/Turkey issued official public apology to Russia for Su24 fighter jet downing last year. As I discussed in ESR9, Turkey and Armenia are mortal enemies, who happen to share a border. The timing is, therefore, significant and sends a specific message to Erdogan/Turkey and to the West.
I am coming out with a full report and analytics for the stunning Erdogan’s apology, its international effect and new Russia-Turkey relations as a result of this jaw-dropping turnaround. Why did Erdogan apologize after 7 months of denials and silence? What it means and how will it affect Turkey’s relations with Russia, EU, US, NATO? Stay tuned for my report.
Also coming! Breaking news: US warship harasses Russian frigate in the Mediterranean. Does US need a reminder of the 1988 Black Sea incident? (I am not even talking about the USS Donald Cook 2014 Black Sea incident). I’ll show you the jaw-dropping 1988 incident.
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Earth Shift Report 3:
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PUTIN & RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS
THE CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RUSSIAN & UKRAINE OLIGARCHS
Russia went through the oligarch infestation and wars in the 1990s. I worked at Smith Barney as financial consultant at the time and I managed some of the Russian oligarch assets; therefore, I am quite familiar with the Russian oligarch class. I described some of the oligarchs and their modus operandi in my two novels, GOLD TRAIN and THE EARTH SHIFTER.
Yeltsin was under the oligarch influence. Being a complete child when it came to economy and finance, he had no idea that the oligarchs, together with their Western handlers, were leading the country into abyss.
Although it is not the focus of this report, it must be noted that many, although not all, Russian oligarchs (and of course, Ukrainian too) served as agents for the Western shadow interests. The name of the Rothschilds is usually mentioned in relation to Khodorkovsky. Some acted on behalf of Western conglomerates, such as Exxon, Shell and others. That said, I strongly suspect that some of the former Russian oligarchs weren’t fronting Western oligarchs at all. In fact, they were direct assets of the CIA, Mossad or MI6. One such example is Jewish-Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who had Yeltsin’s ear. Throughout the ’90s there was no bigger name and bigger oligarch in Russia than Boris Berezovsky, until Putin got on his case.
After that Beresovsky quickly fled to London. He was an agent of MI6 and CIA, and possibly of Mossad as well. Berezovsky’s story is very remarkable. A couple of years ago, he wrote a secret letter to Putin, begging for pardon and for the possibility of returning back home to Russia. According to many witnesses, in his later years, he missed his homeland terribly, always asking for treats to be brought to him from Russia and greedily listening to the Russian news. The letter was sent with a trusted messenger and Putin got it. Berezovsky could tell a lot of things, including how and by whom the wholesale looting of Russia was organized in the ‘90s. Shortly after, Berezovsky suddenly ‘hung’ himself in his London mansion.
This wasn’t the original story. Originally, the UK authorities were supposed to blame Putin and Russians for Berezovsky’s death, just as it happened a few years prior with ex-KGB Litvinenko. Russian authorities got the wind of what was to come and quickly produced Berezovsky’s letter to Putin, in which he was asking for pardon and return home in exchange for spilling the beans on his handlers. Then, the hastily put together ‘self-hanging’ theory emerged, despite strange bruises on Berezovsky’s neck.
After Putin came to power in 2000, the status quo in Russia changed. It shifted gradually, but Putin let everyone know that he would not allow the wholesale looting of Russia any more. Putin slowly but surely restructured tax laws, making oligarchs and foreign oil interests pay taxes – something that, amazingly, Yeltsin and his sold-out advisors were unable to figure out for 8 years in power!
Those who didn’t want to play ball went to jail, like Khodorkovsky. Others, like Berezovsky, fled the country, taking their assets with them. The Western howling was deafening for years, accusing Russia of the roll-back of democracy and a return to dictatorship. Of course by then I left Smith Barney and generally US corporate world, having understood what was happening and having been disgusted with all that I discovered.
Russian oligarchs were losing power and influence in Russia throughout 2000s. Khodorkovsky was in jail on official charges of money laundering and tax evasion (all true), but in reality, for trying to execute a coup d’état and for attempting to sell the country to the US. (Incidentally, I write about that in THE EARTH SHIFTER; oligarch Konukovksy in the book is modeled after Khodorkovsky). The last oligarch who attempted to obtain the power in the country officially, via presidential elections, was Mikhail Prokhorov in 2012. One of Russia’s richest men, he ran against Putin. Prokhorov got a surprise almost 8%. Putin got almost 64%.
After winning, Putin invited all former presidential candidates who ran against him, aka, leaders of opposition parties, to his Kremlin office and consulted with them on various matters, making sure their voices were heard. This was basically the end of Prokhorov’s political ambitions. I think Prokhorov isn’t dumb. Hopefully, he understood he had no chance against such man.
I usually say that the class of oligarchs ceased to exist in Russia in 2013, but it may have happened as early as 2012, after Prokhorov’s failed bid. Presently, Russia has plenty of rich people and lots of business people. The business class is quite active and there are lots of those who have made their fortunes by building their business from scratch through their own wit and hard work, after the roaring ’90s.
Prokhorov isn’t one of them. He is the owner of Norilsk Nickel, which was the giant Soviet-built enterprise and the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium. Norilsk Nickel was one of the victims of the ’90s privatization, having been given away literally for free. Prokhorov also owns gold-producing companies. All that he acquired on the cheap during the 1990s wholesale robbery of the country, when prized Soviet properties were sold for pennies. That said, Prokhorov has proven to be a very good manager, and responsible owner. He pays his taxes and conducts his business transparently.
Here is Putin’s plan that is now bearing fruit: oligarchs who acquired their properties that way, but who proved later that they managed them well, cared about their workers, paid taxes, didn’t launder money, conducted honest business and didn’t try to undermine existing authorities, could continue owning what they had, as long as they invested into the country.
I foresee additional change coming soon. Some are proposing a one-time, retroactive tax on assets acquired during the ‘90s for an unfairly low price. These former oligarchs may be required to pay a fee of varying amount.
I like this idea. My advice to Russians to do it this way:
This retroactive tax must be calculated based on a variety of factors, including the fair and prevailing global asset value at the time of purchase, how much the asset has been developed since, how much out-of-pocket money has been invested to develop such asset, and how much more profitable a plant or company may have become. If a person invested a lot of their own money, hired additional employees and expanded the company, they may not owe anything. Many Russian business people expanded and modernized their Soviet inheritance and made it pay.
If they just sat on their acquisition, doing nothing with it and simply milking the original Soviet asset, they should owe a lot, with interest. Some may have to sell their company or give it back to the Russian State, to repay what they owe. I can tell you that this proposed new tax could do wonders for the Russian business class investing in their companies to avoid paying tax, therefore boosting Russian productivity and GDP! I hope this tax is enacted soon.
Oligarch Roman Abramovich, Governor of Chukotka
Roman Abramovich is a great example of how Putin got some of the oligarchs to invest back into the State. Abramovich is one of those who got filthy rich on the unfair ’90s privatization. He was a Berezovsky crony. But later, there was a falling out. Not only that, Abramovich apparently grabbed some of Berezovsky’s assets when the latter fell out of favor, for which Berezovsky sued Abramovich in London court.
One thing Abramovich did much better than Berezovsky was to work with others and achieve a compromise. Putin told him: fine, you can keep your assets, which you manage pretty well, but under one condition. You become the governor of Chukotka. Historically, in Russia wealthy people gave back to the country by serving the State and helping locals.
The Chukotka peninsula is one of the easternmost Russian territories, which has been neglected for the past 25 years. There is no ready access to oil or gas there, with a lot of pristine wilderness. The population is rather small and climate is very harsh, therefore developing infrastructure is very expensive. Consequently, there was no interest in developing it, like for instance, on the nearby Island of Sakhalin.
If you ask me, it’s actually a great idea to preserve some pristine corners of the globe, unspoiled by humans. But locals do demand modern conveniences.
Abramovich had to demonstrate his worth as a governor to earn his ‘pardon,’ so to speak. During his tenure Abramovich invested his own money into building roads, renovating the city and building hospitals, schools and new companies in order to give locals steady employment. There was a situation when Abramovich had to pay regional salaries out of pocket and he had to shell out to fix housing too. Basically, the region was fixed up using his own money. After several years as Chukotka governor, locals started talking about naming one of their streets, or even a town, after Abramovich as a thank you. This was what Putin wanted to hear – Abramovich did a good job; he earned his pardon.
When Medvedev became president, Abramovich appealed to him to be ‘let go.’ Medvedev at first said he was still needed for the second term as governor since he was doing so well, but I think after some consultations with Putin, he did let him go. After that, Abramovich moved to London, preserving his money and the good will of the Russian government.
This is a very good example of how Putin put the oligarchs, their business skills and their money to work for the good of the State and society. He didn’t fight with them, he didn’t take their assets and money away (except for Khodorkovsky and a few others, who committed direct treason). These drastic measures would have been disruptive for the economy and would have created an even bigger backlash against Russia in the West.
Instead, Putin made the oligarchs serve the country they once robbed.
Another example of how he did it was Sochi. Putin compelled practically all biggest Russian oligarchs to invest in the Sochi 2014 Winter Games: from building hotels and sports venues to financing high-speed railroad, trains, new port and train station. This is who paid for a chunk of the $50bln invested. As is well-known, most Olympics don’t pay for themselves since many venues don’t find enough usage after the Olympics are over. If Sochi doesn’t pay for itself, a lot of it will be the former oligarchs’ loss. If it does – good for them, they will make profit.
Ukraine oligarchs are very different. They never invested in anything, just demanding more and more eggs from the golden goose they stole from the people. As a result, they killed that golden goose.
Certainly, in the case of Russia we also have a president who isn’t only intelligent and balanced, but who is also a wise leader of a sovereign country, who cares a lot for the well-being of his people and land. It is no accident that US, France and some other countries, have a movement, “Putin for President.” They want to borrow Putin for their respective countries. It is also no accident that Putin has recently topped the TIME 100 Readers’ Poll, leaving any competition far behind. More here: Vladimir Putin Steals the Show in TIME 100 Readers’ Poll.
Meanwhile, in Ukraine we have a regime that consists of foreign marionettes, bandits and fascists. At best they are incompetent, at worst – simply insane. For the past 24 years, Ukraine has been under oligarch/raider/mafia control. In addition to that, it is now under the control of the violent and greedy fascist gangs. As if all that wasn’t enough, Ukraine is firmly under foreign management.
Tragically, Ukraine has no possibility of resolving any oligarch-related problems under such circumstances. The euro-maidan slogans were ‘away with oligarchs.’ Instead, they got one of the biggest oligarchs of them all – Poroshenko – as their president.
Ukraine oligarchs finally understood that they were also losing from the war with Donbass and standoff with Russia. At least some of the oligarchs, whose assets are threatened and whose power is dwindling, wouldn’t mind the end of war in Donbass. They may be even trying to pressure Poroshenko to keep peace and agree to federalization. Poroshenko may even be interested in that himself.
But there are two other forces in Ukraine: 1. ukro-nazis and their armed battalions that are ready to go to Kiev and start another maidan; 2. US, whose interest is to keep as much turmoil and disorder in Ukraine as possible for as long as possible.
It is a further tragedy of Ukraine that oligarchs themselves have created the monster, inviting and encouraging these dark forces. Karma is a bitch – oligarchs can’t win against those two forces. Therefore, however you look at it, the fights between all factions will continue until… all these ugly and dark forces are booted out of Ukraine by a popular uprising.
The rich Soviet inheritance isn’t the only thing that has ended in Ukraine. For years, the oligarchs and the rest of Ukrainians lived off leaching the Russian transit gas to the EU, which they stole from the pipes. Ukraine also lived better than economically predetermined because of the heavy discount on Russian gas it received for years as another left over vestige of the Soviet system, when Russians often robbed themselves to give to the republics. But all of it ended with the advent of euro-maidan and war on all fronts against Russia. Gas price is up and Russian loans no more. As a result, Ukraine is facing total collapse.
Ukraine in this state can only be unified if there is war. During active war in Donbass the oligarchs all seemed united in their hatred against Donbass and Russia. The shift in priorities occurred once the shaky peace process was established. Russia insisted on peace negotiations because Donbass was in desperate need of reprieve for its citizens. But apart from that, the brilliance of the Russian insistence on peace process was that the moment peace started spiders started devouring each other.
In truth though, the country is so filled with energy of anger, confusion and confrontation that this destructive energy has to be directed against someone. If it’s not directed against Donbass, it has to be directed against other forces. The problem is that with very weak central government and almost non-existed legal system, including inadequate private property protection laws, it becomes extremely destructive.
Oligarchs are used to easy money they stole during the ’90s privatization robbery and through later re-distributions of property. Now, with the dying economy, they are staring into abyss. They are losing assets and their cash flow is catastrophically drying up. Bankruptcy is looming.”
“Pictures – top to bottom, left to right:
1. No comment: Putin as Bad-Good Santa for naughty and nice children, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Roman Abramovich.
2. Khodorkovsky during trial.
3. Putin receiving Abramovich – notice their body language!
4. Roman Abramovich as governor of Chukotka, with indigenous Chukchas.
5. Abramovich being congratulated by David Beckham for Russia winning World Cup 2018 (Abramovich was an active part of the Russian bid – another way Putin used oligarch influence for good).
6. Swimming in excess money, Russian oligarchs jumped on ownership of prestigious Western sports clubs. For example, Mikhail Prokhorov bought New York basketball club Brooklyn Nets. Roman Abramovich is the owner of the British football club Chelsea. From left to right: Chelsea and Abramovich celebrate winning a trophy; anti-Abramovich protest by ukro-nazis in the UK; the oligarch scandal – Boris Berezovsky sues Abramovich in the UK court with similar accusations as ukro-nazis to the left. Berezovsky accused Abramovich in taking his part of the joint business and in being Putin’s lackey, to put it simply. UK court didn’t find substantiated evidence confirming Berezovsky’s complaint. Shortly after, Berezovsky secretly wrote to Putin asking for pardon in exchange for juicy intel against his US/UK bosses. After that, Berezovsky ‘committed suicide’ in his London home. This unlikely verdict was given by London police despite suspicious bruises on his neck.”
There are more pictures inside the report. Some new, fresh ones have just been added!
For the full picture on Russian and Ukraine oligarchs, Putin, Poroshenko, Kolomoysky, and what wizard behind the curtain is really pulling the strings, read
Earth Shift Report 3 OLIGARCH WARS
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One of my top recommended Russian geopolitical authors and analysts, Nikolai Starikov, weighs in on Dollar, Ruble, global economy and geopolitics, as well as Ukraine, Russia and the West. Starikov is the author of 14 books, rising politician and founder of the new Russian political party: Partia Velikoe Otechestvo (PVO).
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We’ve decided to disable the discussion on YT. Any comments, as always, can be posted here.
Video is in Russian, with English subs.
As my readers/listeners know, I happen to agree with Starikov on most of his points in this vid. Much of what he says confirms my predictions and analysis on Ukraine, Russia, US, West, dollar and ruble. We had discussed all this in many of my articles, videos and Earth Shift Reports. It’s good to hear the corroborating viewpoint from one of Russia’s top geopolitical analysts and authors.
Disclaimer: This piece provides ample food for thought for the awakened truth seekers and is posted for the purposes of information, education and mind expansion. The opinions expressed here do not always coincide with Lada Ray’s and FuturisTrendcast views.
We are starting a new LADA RAY RECOMMENDS series on Lada Ray YT channel. Usually, posts in this series will be in English, or with English subs. Sometimes, we may have Spanish or German translations. We will also have some pieces in Russian. The views expressed in such pieces may not coincide with Lada’s own, but we think they are interesting or valuable and are worth hearing. Any comments can be left here on FT, as discussion will be disabled on YouTube. Let’s see how it goes with this trial run.
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This controversial piece gives a lot of food for thought.
Philosopher Slavoj Žižek, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange discuss Europe’s future. With the recent economic crisis in Greece, unprecedented challenges to centralised European policy, and the lack of consensus on the ongoing refugee crisis, many would agree that Europe faces its greatest ever predicament. Slavoj Žižek, regarded as ‘the most dangerous philosopher in the West’ (The New Republic), and Yanis Varoufakis, self-described ‘erratic Marxist’ and economic ‘rock-star’ (Business Insider and other publications), met in Croatia in 2013. They have never appeared together on the public stage – until now. Take your seat to hear them discuss the urgent task of building a different and more democratic Europe. The conversation explores the contradictions of late capitalism and some of the solutions that might just save the European project. It is moderated by Croatian philosopher Srecko Horvat.
Nov 2015. Content warning: adult language.
Disclaimer: This video is posted for the purposes of information, education and mind expansion. The views and opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of Lada Ray and FuturisTrendcast.
Event venue: Southbank Centre, UK, http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/what…
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Food for thought, wherever you live, especially if you feel as a citizen of the world…
Interesting recent piece re. passports and global relocation from 1EarthUnited blog.
Keep in mind that the situation with borders and country-to-country visa-free travel will continue changing in the next 10 or so years, so this may not be as accurate say by the end of this decade. But so far this is the up-to-date stuff.
The meat of the story is this:
Starting July 1, 2015, 19 small countries and territories joined EU visa-free list. They were officially approved late last year and reaffirmed at the summit.
“They are: Colombia, Peru, Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, UAE, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
It is possible to obtain citizenship and a passport from another country. This means more options to travel and more options to live and work somewhere else should you want.
Panama is a great example. There’s still an easy and inexpensive process to obtain residency in Panama, and in 5-years time you’ll be able to apply for naturalization, and then a passport.
Of the 19 countries that join the EU visa-free list this July, both Grenada and Dominica have “economic citizenship” programs where you can make a low six-figure investment in the country in exchange for citizenship.
Colombia and Peru are two places where you can become a legal resident and apply for citizenship in 2-5 years.
This can be very cost-effective, as in Colombia it can cost less than $1,000 to obtain residency, including legal assistance.”
It seems strange that a complete accident of birth has such a massive impact on someone’s life.
We don’t get to control where we’re born. It’s a fluke really. Yet as soon as we come into this world a particular nationality is thrust upon us like a birthmark that stays with us for life.
Our nationality dictates so many things throughout our life.
It might mean that we’re required to serve in the military– to go fight and die in some foreign land at the behest of an insensitive, out of touch politician.
It might mean that we’re required to pay an ever increasing portion of our income to finance government largess that we don’t agree with at all.
It can also substantially restrict the places we can go and travel in this world.
That last one is a major issue, because travel is a huge opportunity.
The world is…
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My readers who follow me regularly know that I’ve dedicated a big part of 2014 to trying to talk some sense into the EU politicians and Europeans in general. I wrote countless articles explaining how harmful it was for the EU to continue as a US slave, and how necessary it was for the EU to make a turnaround towards cooperation with Russia. By 2015, I became so disgusted with European ‘leaders’ that I stopped talking about that.
However, to the surprise of some of my readers, I continued being long-term mildly optimistic about the EU turnaround, saying that it would have to happen sooner or later because there really was no other way for the future to play out.
Sooner or later EU would have to deal with Ukraine’s bills they couldn’t carry on paying (it is happening now); with the influx of armed ukro-nazi thugs on EU territory (may happen soon as Ukraine continues to disintegrate); the aftermath of sanctions forced on EU and Russia by the US and corrupt European politicians could become unbearable (farmers all over EU are protesting as we speak).
I also said from the very start of 2014 that just like with the Georgia/S. Ossetia crisis of 2008, the 2014 Ukraine would also blow over. They would yell and scream for a couple of years, and then start forgetting about it, turning to business as usual. They’d eventually tire of anti-Russian statements, remembering that, after all, EU and Russia did share one continent and trade between the two was too significant to jeopardize.
It turned out that the shock of Syrian refugees became the event that broke the camel’s back. Oh yes, the US prostitutes such as Merkel and the bought-and-paid-for EU MSM still puff their cheeks in the direction of Russia. But many of EU’s elites, as much as ordinary citizens, approve of Russia’s actions in Syria. The approval of Putin’s actions is through the roof, the fact being diligently hushed up.
Bought-and-paid-for or not, EU politicians have to start responding. And the turn begins.
The desperate need for a turnaround in European politics was crystal clear to me and my smart readers from the start of the 2014 Kiev maidan and coup. But EU politicians are awfully slow. Almost two years later, EU governments and individuals are finally timidly starting to see Poroshenko and the ukro-nazi junta for what they are. Poroshenko was again called on the carpet, this time in Paris, and admonished personally by Hollande, Merkel and Putin for non-compliance with Minsk agreements. Again, the meeting lasted for four or five hours, while Poroshenko was left humiliated waiting for his turn as Putin talked in private with Hollande and Merkel.
But on the global stage Ukraine events have now been relegated to the second tier of importance . The Syrian refugee crisis takes the cake. EU has never expected such massive inflow of refugees. More so, EU’s top bras have never expected such fight between countries regarding refugee passage and quotas. EU is strained to the core and is showing cracks, while the economic crisis makes countries question their participation in the EU. Crisis shows that the only unifying factor in the EU was ‘having good times and prospering together.’ The good times are gone, and so is unity.
This reminds me of Napoleon, who was the first to voice the idea that Europe should be ruled from one center, thus being considered the father of the EU. His multinational army only held together while it was advancing and winning. The moment hardship set in and the mighty Napoleon began losing to the Russians, his army disintegrated like a soap bubble.
The pro-Russian moods in the EU are growing, despite all the resistance by the US and anti-Russian/pro-US lobby. Pro-US moods are waning, and rapidly, although it is still far from reaching the level of real change. We can be assured that US itself and USA’s Trojan Horses in the EU will continue putting enormous pressure on Europe to toe the line.
For how this works see companion post: Bulgaria Returning to Native Shores: ‘Thank you Russia – 1878 and 1945’
EU may have not liked so much the latest pronouncements from the insane asylum formerly called Ukraine. During his UN speech drunk Poroshenko announced that “Russia is attempting to destabilize ISIS,” which I think embarrassed every remaining sane Ukrainian on the face of the Earth. Later Poroshenko proposed that Ukraine should gather data on families of Russian pilots in Syria in order to pass them on to ISIS so they would terrorize these families. Anton Gerashchenko, former advisor to Poroshenko and present Ukraine’s interior ministry advisor, announced that Ukraine should send troops to help ISIS take revenge on Russia.
I think even the sold-out EU politicians would experience nausea listening to such lunatics, who now scare to death many of their former supporters and maidan instigators from Poland, Brussels, UK and Germany.
However, for the anti-muslim-immigration countries such as Hungary, Poland, Czechia, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia and Bulgaria, nothing has worked as well as the cold shower of the mass Middle Eastern migration. Rhetoric towards Russia changed overnight once they realized Russia could quickly accomplish what US and their own NATO were unable and unwilling to do for years: get rid of ISIS and stabilize Syria.
Again, like 70 years ago (WWII), 130 years ago (Ottoman Empire), and 200 years ago (Napoleon), Russia has to rescue these countries or territories, which in good times seem to forget everything that Russia has done for them, betraying their savior on a whim, once someone dangles a bigger and shinier carrot. In some cases, such as the traditionally pro-Russian Bulgaria and Slovakia, we are talking about US-bred russophobic elites installed as puppet governments, and equally puppet MSM. In cases of Hungary and Czechia we actually have relatively pro-Russian heads of state, who are surrounded by the same US-grown russophobic elites.
Out of all the above countries I want to single out POLAND, who for the longest time worked the hardest to damage Russia and whose not very intelligent policies turned it into the biggest US Manchurian Candidate and Trojan Horse in Europe.
It’s hard to turn around the EU. But the process of the EU turning away from the US and towards Russia and China is unavoidable and historically predetermined, unless EU wants to go down together with the mothership. They don’t seem to desire such outcome…
It will be a treacherous and lengthy process, as I’ve predicted in 2014. But this epic turnaround, when completed, will finally re-unite Eurasia, which still remains one continent with one single unified space, the need for cooperation and common goals, despite what some may want you believe.
So, the turn of this huge, misshapen ship has begun, despite the resistance. It is being signaled by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has said in a surprise speech in Germany: “Europe must treat Russia with more decency, improve the relationship, and not let EU policies be dictated by Washington.”
Video: EU turn: ‘European policies must not be dictated by Washington’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsB0039hUik
And another one, with additional analysis: ‘EU seeks for any possibility to stop Syrian-migrant crisis’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfrNMt8tt_w
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First ever East Russia International Economic Forum (Vostochny Economichesky Forum), aka, Eastern Economic Forum, is taking place in Vladivostok, Russia. Vladivostok is Russia’s port and international hub in the Far East, located very close to Japan.
During Soviet days Vladivostok was a closed city, where foreigners were not allowed. After the breakup of the USSR it became a hub for trade with Japan, sometimes illegal.
However, as Russia continues its historic pivot to the East (as I predicted since the beginning of 2014) more and more interest in free and legal country-to-country trade is developing. What a turn around from the Soviet days!
During the East Russia Economic Forum Putin announced that Vladivostok would become first Free Trade Port in the Far East, a development eagerly awaited by Japanese, Korean and Chinese business and investors. Putin also announced that following Vladivostok, other Russian Far Eastern ports will become Free Trade zones. He didn’t specify which ones, but I believe we are talking primarily Khabarovsk and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, but also probably Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Komsomolsk-na-Amure and a few others.
Why is this announcement being made now:
This proposal had been on the table for the Japanese investors for some years. Russians promoted it as a way to make peace with old Japanese claims for Kuril Islands and Sakhalin (the latter has been withdrawn, as far as I know). However, Japanese, due to the internal politics and American pressure were unwilling to move the issue along. The elegant solution of the free trade zones, while Russia keeps the political, administrative and military control over its strategically important islands is a very wise solution of the old dispute.
The free trade ports issue stalled until China and Russia were literally pushed towards a very close alliance after the blatant intervention of the US and West in Ukraine and after the anti-Russian sanctions. The multi-faceted Russia-China alliance is making new leaps forward, the latest being Putin’s trip to Beijing for the Chinese parade (I’ll have a separate post about that).
As the trade between Russia and China is making these giant leaps, Korean and Japanese investors have to scramble to catch on while they can. The alternative is losing the lucrative Russian market, which is now opening up. But this rare opportunity will only last until the market is taken.
Japanese interest in the East Russia Forum is overwhelming, same as Chinese, S. Korean, Singaporean, etc. The organizers said that they planned for 1000 participants, while they got over 5000 participation requests. The interest from Europeans is just as huge.
The systematic Russian pivot to the East is continuing. It is helped by the short-sighted and silly policies of the West (recall my many predictions!).
Japan, usually identified as part of the West, is seeing the writing on the wall and is trying to shift towards the East as well. Japanese businessmen declared during the forum their desire to keep politics and business separate.
Video: Vladimir Putin proposes to create free trade zones in Vladivostok and other Far East ports.
Владимир Путин предложил распространить режим свободного порта на гавани Дальнего Востока
Video: Putin guarantees complete support for investors in the Far East:
Putin: Rosneft will invest 1.3 trln rubles in the Far East projects:
Putin: The Far East is welcoming to anyone who is ready to cooperate:
Synchronicity in action:
As I was getting ready to publish this post, I received three tweets from my Japanese friend Akaida. Here they are:
@LadaTweets Even Japan going #BRICS? Sanctions could lead to Russia-Japan currency swaps https://www.rt.com/business/314193-japan-russia-swap-sanctions … hmm! 🙂
These are all positive signs, at least on the economic front. I spoke in my article Pro-US and Anti-Russian Japan: Eyewitness Overview and Predictions about Japanese business interests diverging from Japanese politics. Dependence on the US and habitual political confrontationism with the neighbors will continue putting the brake on Japan’s integration into the new model of development. I think US will keep its influence over Japan for another 5 or more years.
But cracks are showing, and they are showing on the business side. Japan, still being 2nd largest Asian economy and 3rd-4th largest global economy, plus possessing advanced technologies, is a very valuable business partner. Meanwhile, the ongoing weakening and collapse of the West is causing Japan to reconsider its tight economic alliance with the West. Japanese business has no choice but diversify in order to survive.
Japanese business is eager to set politics aside and set up alliances with the growing world and Asian powers, where the future development is, but old Japanese political allegiances are holding this process back.
This is my summary analysis of the most important features of the slow, ongoing shift of Japan’s position on global arena.
- It has to be remembered that while Japan has no global political power, serving basically the US Trojan Horse in the region, it is an economic powerhouse, which at one point was the engine of the global economy. Also, Japan’s regional political and military ambitions are on the rise. All this together means that when Japan switches allegiances, it will be a huge blow to the US empire.
- We should expect Japanese switch in conjunction with the EU switch, of which I briefly wrote in the above-linked article. This will be a slow and tedious process, to be sure.
- Because Japan has built walls of confrontation and animosity against so many countries in Asia, it is difficult for them to reintegrate. Many in Asia distrust Japan utterly, based on history and present policies.
- My prediction is that Japan will be able to re-integrate into Asia economically through the unifying factor of Russia. Generally, Russia will serve as the bridge and peacemaker for re-creating understanding and cooperation not only in Asia, but also in all of Eurasia, including Europe. The Middle East will take longer, but that will also happen eventually (not for a while, the wounds are too deep). Eventually, Russia’s role will be to re-establish the principles of cooperation and friendship on our entire planet.
- Fro the time being, we should have no illusions about Japan politically and militarily. The confrontational approach will persist for as long as Japan’s best buddy is USA. The new Japanese military doctrine for the first time since WWII allows Japanese troops to be deployed oversees. This, understandably, makes everyone in Asia jittery, as people still remember the destructiveness of the Japanese militarism in the past.
- There is a clear bifurcation (and rift?) forming between Japanese economic interests and its political direction. This will have to be resolved eventually. I give it 5-7 years. As USA empire weakens, Japan will gradually shift away from the West and closer to the East and Russia. Eventually, economic interests will prevail over politics. Japanese business must now scramble to catch up to China. Incidentally this applies to S. Korea and Singapore as well. If they don’t, in the shifting global economic landscape Japanese companies will start losing out to competitors, weakening the country’s economy.
- On some level, Japanese government understands this gloomy scenario. This is why they quietly allow their business to disregard politics. Make no mistake, there is clearly a secret understanding between Japanese big business and the ruling elites (some might say they are one and the same). This is why publicly there is support of the US-Japan alliance, and behind the scenes, economic integration with Russia and the BRICS.
- Incidentally, the same is happening with S. Korea, Singapore and other countries. In the next post I will have a telling story about the pressure applied by the US on S. Korea to prevent it escaping US clutches. Same kind of situation is applicable to Europe as well. Everyone sees the writing on the wall. But for the time being, US is still strong enough keep its ‘allies’ in its clutches.
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For those who prefer to read, below is the written version
(the video above contains additional relevant maps and pics)
As we know, Greece is in technical default on its 1.5 bln euro payment to the IMF/EU creditors. Experts tell us that this could snowball, with Greece going into default on all its debt, which is over $350 bln. If Greece defaults on its entire debt obligation, it will send huge shocks through the world financial system and will seriously undermine Eurozone and Germany.
This is why Greece’s negotiation position isn’t that hopeless. They have aces up their sleeve. EU can’t afford Greece’s total default, neither can it really afford Grexit. US cannot afford Greek default either, because it can signal the beginning of the end of the whole dollar-based empire.
The national referendum announced by the ruling Syriza party on the future of Greece is to take place on July 5th. Greek PM Tsipras urges people to vote ‘no’ to creditor demands, in order to improve his negotiating position.
My prediction: The Greek referendum will deliver the majority NO vote to austerity and creditor demands.
The fact that creditors didn’t give an extension to Greece so people could vote, instead squeezing the country on June 30th, is very telling. I wonder, what happened to the supposed ‘democracy’ the West is so proud of? How democratic is it to sabotage the Greek national referendum – a true voice of the people?
First, it’s clear double standards: Greece, a member of the EU, is treated as an unloved, unwanted child by the EU and IMF. IMF, of course, represents the interests of the US and EU, where US rules supreme.
At the same time, IMF’s Christine Lagarde tells us that Ukraine, not a member of the EU, will continue receiving IMF loan tranches, even if it defaults on sovereign debt it owes Russia. This is in direct violation of the IMF laws.
So, the West is now in violation of both self-professed cornerstones of its society: democracy and law.
Do you know how empires die? That’s how – they implode on themselves, confused and in denial. We are observing a slow disintegration of the Western (US-EU) empire. This is the time when only the blind and the unscrupulous don’t see that the king is naked.
Second, and most importantly, the difference in position on Ukraine and Greece by the IMF and EU is clearly geopolitical in nature and has absolutely nothing to do with economy. The common denominator in both is the country’s relationship with Russia.
The present Kiev junta in Ukraine is supported because it’s at loggerheads with Russia, yelling and screaming on every corner that Russia attacked them. No one believes that, but this narrative is diligently parroted by the Western MSM, nevertheless.
This has to be expected, if whistleblower journalists from countries such as Ukraine and Germany come out with revelations that they are given the text of what to say in their reports – a text written at the US embassy – and told not to deviate from it. A well-known Kiev journalist Oles’ Buzina was recently killed after the publicly revealed that his publication was forced to print false information based on the US embassy in Kiev script. German whistleblower journalists who have revealed that the entire journalism profession in Germany is sold-out to the US, doing only USA’s bidding, are forced to go into hiding because of threats.
Greece is shunned and squeezed because it dares to have good relations with Russia, speak up against anti-Russian sanctions and participate in Turkish Stream project.
I talked about the geopolitics and economics of Turkish Stream in my previous episode: Macedonia Coup Attempt – War Against Russia & China (LadaRayLive 12).
GREEK DEFAULT AND GREXIT PREDICTIONS
You know my prediction about Greece: it will exit the EU by 2017. In my original prediction, which you can find in Secret Connection: Russian Gas to Turkey-Greek Election-EU Breakup (LadaRayLive 6) and my FT articles, I said that the reason it will take some time is because the relationship with the EU is so complex that it will take some time to untangle.
We already see that the energy is moving in the direction of Grexit. But it won’t happen yet. Greece and EU will be delaying it for now. The most important mark for Grexit will be the completion of Turkish Stream. Grexit will happen close to that date – this is the date to watch!
Of course, due to the importance of Turkish Stream for so many reasons, it will be sabotaged by the US, EU and Germany. It will be a difficult going, as I said in the previous episode. But it will be done.
From this perspective, it’s more beneficial for Greece and all other parties involved, including Russia, if Greece agrees to certain conditions by creditors and stays low for now. Direct confrontation with the EU will only make them sabotage Turkish Stream more forcefully.
For now, Greek debt will have to be a compromise, where EU will give some and Greece will, too. There is indication that that’s what Greek PM Tsipras is doing.
To conclude: will eventual Grexit cause a domino effect all over the EU? Yes, it would. However, it won’t be fast. I see it as a slow and gradual process, taking years and lots of negotiations.
For the next few years, the make-or-break moments of reckoning to watch are: completion of Nord Stream-2, Turkish Stream, discontinuing of gas transit to EU via Ukraine, and a change of power in Ukraine, accompanied with gradual weakening of the US. The timeline for all this is 2016-2019, with most events taking place between 2017-2019. US weakening will continue after 2019.
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P.S. I’ll be taking a few days off this weekend to meditate and relax (I’ll be checking in for emails and comments). Have a great weekend, all! See you next week!
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On video’s image: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 (SPIEF 2015) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 19, 2015
For those who prefer to read, below is the written version
(the video above contains additional relevant maps and pics)
A Latvian politician and member of Europarliament has told me that he recalls how several years ago any session of the EU-Russia Europarliament Commission would be packed because of the overwhelming interest in doing business with Russia. Everyone understood: that’s where the opportunity was. At the same time, sessions of the US-EU Commission would barely have a few people attending. Those days several years ago now seem to the EU like another lifetime. Events in Ukraine and anti-Russian sanctions changed perceptions and put a visible wedge between Russia and EU – a setback used by the US to continue pushing EU to accept the increase in its military presence, its LNG shale gas and its secret Transatlantic Trade Agreement.
I know what US apologists both sides of the Atlantic will say: it’s the EU people who demand our increased military presence, shale gas and Transatlantic Trade Agreement. I suppose the EU people also demand that NSA wiretap their presidents and business elites, along with every citizen. I suppose the EU people also demand to be robbed blind.
Seemingly, US can celebrate a victory. Seemingly, they have achieved their goals. However, per my 2014 predictions, this victory will be short-lived, followed by a huge reversal.
The top event of last week was the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, yet what happened there went almost unnoticed in the manipulated Western media, busy covering up the new French NSA spying scandal with a fresh dollop of Russia-bashing. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the moment the news that NSA spied on three French presidents broke up, French papers filled with anti-Russian propaganda, blaming Russia for not observing the Minsk peace agreements. Similar thing happened in Germany, where the public is still reeling from last year’s massive NSA spying scandal. Obviously, the news filled with bad Russia and bad Putin, their convenient boogeyman, are meant to distract from the real news.
It should now be clear beyond the shadow of a doubt who controls ALL of the world’s media, except some news outlets in Russia, China and a few other countries. The fact that French and German media immediately jumped to protect their real Transatlantic employer once the scandal against such employer broke out – speaks volumes. The prime directive of the Western MSM is to divert the sheeple’s attention and pull the wool over their eyes every time their puppeteer is in trouble.
What happened in St. Pete was sensational, and therefore, it should have been the stuff of front pages. Instead, it was shyly relegated to the back pages, or avoided altogether.
But at the same time as US and Brussels continued selling their naive populace the stale story of Russia’s isolation – and Russian aggression – a virtual fight over who would become a bigger and better partner for Russian gas transit was taking place in St. Petersburg.
See recent posts:
In light of what’s happening in Greece, what’s especially interesting is this: Greek PM Tsipras neglected his scheduled meeting with EU leaders, in which he was supposed to negotiate his country’s crucial pre-default debt restructuring. Instead, he chose to come to St. Pete, where he signed a $2 bln joint venture for building the Greek leg of Turkish Stream to southeastern Europe.
Nord Stream-2: Analysis and Prediction
Less noticed and very under-the-wraps was another mega-deal: potentially even bigger than Turkish Stream. During the St. Petersburg Forum Germany and Russia agreed to build Nord Stream-2, to deliver gas across the bottom of the Baltic Sea directly to Germany, for further distribution throughout the EU. Nord Stream-1 consisted of two branches and cost 8.5 bln euro. Nord Stream-2 will add two more branches, for a total of four, and will cost 9.9 bln euro.
Nord Stream – Rusian gas goes directly to Germany via Baltic Sea
The new pipeline will go on top of the existing Nord Stream. This means that, due to the same footprint, Nord Stream-2 won’t need to go through a very grueling and lengthy approval process with Euro Commission and deal with objections by all countries bordering the Baltic Sea. With German discipline and profit motivation, expect Nord Stream-2 to be built in record time.
Therefore, while Germany is making all kinds of public anti-Russian noises, it’s quietly making serious strides to fortify and expand business with Russia. However, make no mistake! Russian gas transit to the EU is as much in the realm of politics and geopolitics, as in the realm of business. I will illustrate that below.
Nord Stream-2 capacity will rival the current Ukraine pipeline capacity. Russia already announced that the aging Ukraine pipeline will be eventually phased out due to the political instability and inflexible position of the Ukraine government. In short, Russia won’t be held hostage to the whims of Kiev. Nord Stream-2 agreement means Germany is making a decisive move to take away gas transit business from Ukraine.
This led some to speculate that Germany facilitated the 2014 coup in Kiev on purpose: to create an impossible situation for the Russian gas transit through Ukraine, thus making Russian gas transit business its own. I won’t categorically agree or disagree with this opinion, and here is why. There is some logic to it. Germany and other strong EU economies were always worried about the insecure Ukraine gas route. Taking steps to ensure one’s country’s energy security are natural and expected. Still, at least in part, Germany is not initiating but rather responding to various threats, acting to secure gas supply route and quantities for itself and its close allies in northern and central Europe. Germany, of all countries, is able to use its considerable European pull to secure a fast construction of the new pipeline – and it’s doing it.
Is Germany making big anti-Russian noises to appease and fool the US, while behind the scenes making deals with Russia? Here is what I see: I do think Germany is continuing clumsy attempts to sit on two chairs, playing both Russia and US, in the hopes of wiggling its way out of unfavorable agreements with the US, while keeping the door to Russian business semi-open with one foot. It’s some fancy acrobatics, to be sure, and it does look desperate. Germany and German allies – in other words, the strongest northern and central EU economies – see the writing on the wall and they don’t want to be caught in the upcoming Ukraine/US fallout. They are also rushing to secure Russian gas agreements while they still can.
Turkish Stream Prediction
It’ll be somewhat harder for Turkey, Greece and Italy to push the Turkish Stream construction through. Their pull isn’t as hefty as Germany’s and the pressure on them will be significant both from the US and EU.
But my confident prediction is this: unlike the botched South Stream project, which relied on the weak key transiter, Bulgaria, the Turkish Stream project will be accomplished successfully. The reason is that Turkey is much stronger than Bulgaria as a key transiter. Greece (key transiter 2) will be fine as well, as long as it remains steadfast. This will be a tall order, but Greeks are fighters and they can do it.
The Myth of the United EU and NATO: Geopolitical and Economic Rivalries Explosion
What many are missing is that Germany and Greece are acting here as direct rivals. Germany wants to keep all of Russian gas under its control, in order to then distribute it to all of the EU, thus keeping its control over Eurozone. Meantime, for Greece their participation in the Turkish Stream and association with Russia is a terrific negotiation ploy and additional leverage in their fight for independence against the EU, IMF and German dictate. To top it off, Russian partnership is a lifesaver for the fledgling Greek economy.
As such, Germany sees Greek revolt as a challenge to their EU power and hegemony. From this it’s easily understood that Germany and Brussels would try to undermine and sabotage Greece and other countries who are participating in Turkish Stream.
US will also try to sabotage it for both geopolitical reasons and for their own economic reasons. US wants to sell its shale gas to the EU. Its dream is to push Russia out as the primary gas supplier to the EU, taking Russia’s place and, therefore, binding the EU to itself not just militarily and economically, but also energy-wise.
Consequently, the fight between Greece and EU/Germany we are presently observing is much more than a fight for Greece’s debt restructuring. It’s also beyond the projected Grexit. It’s about distribution of Russian gas and future control of European energy security.
When Bulgaria’s puppet government foolishly refused to allow South Stream through its territory, loosing potential billions in future profits, Turkish Stream was born. It will go through the bottom of the Black Sea, using Russian waters, a small stretch of international waters and Turkish waters. Then, it will go through the northwestern-most part of Turkish territory, with branch-outs to supply large parts of Turkey with Russian gas. Why is it important that it only goes through the northwestern part of Turkey? This is the quietest and most prosperous part of Turkey. The east and south are restive and volatile, with Kurdish and Syria-related unrest.
But Turkey isn’t a member of the EU. Turkish Stream will get to the border with Greece at which point Greece will take over the pipeline for further distribution to other EU countries.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Erdogan sign the Turkish Stream deal
As we see, Greece/Turkey and Germany are now in direct competition for the exceedingly lucrative Russian gas venture. Therefore, the fight between them is also the fight for future control and profits.
Putin’s Gambit: the all-around win for Russia
We spoke on many prior occasions about how Putin works. Sometimes, it appears he doesn’t respond directly to various threats and adversarial actions by the US, Kiev junta and EU, instead, he takes his time and acts asymmetrically, when he is ready. And every time Russia acts, it’s an unexpected and pretty crushing move. This is why they call Putin the Grand Chess Master.
Nord Stream-2 partner is the No. 1 German energy giant E.On, as well as Shell (Dutch-British) and other German companies, such as OMV and Wintershall. It is understood that such companies wouldn’t commit to Nord Stream-2 without securing a serious backing of the German government. It is also a given that Nord Stream-2 will be pushed through by Germany in record time. In fact, it will be built faster than Turkish Stream.
This puts fire under Turkey. The thing is that after the Turkish Stream deal was signed by Erdogan, he imagined himself in the driver seat. He began looking for more preferences, playing on the Crimean Tartar controversy and delaying the approval for the engineering survey of the pipeline route. Immediately after the Nord Stream-2 deal was signed, the Italian engineering survey vessel, which was sitting in the Bulgarian port of Burgas waiting for Turkey’s permission to enter the Black Sea for six months, was finally allowed to start work. Erdogan also changed his tack on a number of other issues.
Recall what I once said before: Erdogan and Turkey are attempting to play their own game in the Middle East and southeastern Europe, not always successfully and not always nicely. However, on balance Turkey is still a strong and convenient ally for the Turkish Stream and various other projects, for a variety of reasons – from geopolitical, to psychological and economic. For one, Erdogan is pissed at the US, EU and NATO, and two, he wants gasification of his country, whose archaic coal-based system is in desperate need of replacement with clean modern energy.
Therefore, Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream are in direct competition. This is excellent, as it will finally balance the situation with Russian gas supply to the EU, which has become precariously imbalanced after Ukraine, and sometimes Belarus, began playing blackmail games. The result was that Ukraine endangered EU’s energy security and Russia’s energy livelihood. And that’s just not done.
There is an ‘opinion’ of ‘the couch potato experts’ that Russia won’t have enough gas to fill both pipelines.
However, having reserve capacity on hand is actually the point! Two pipelines will be filled with gas as needed, reserve capacity used as necessary. The constant competition between the two will not allow either party to attempt what Ukraine has done for years: blackmail Russia either economically or geopolitically, while keeping EU gas customers hostage.
The realisation of the plan of the competing pipelines will put an end to the American Dream of cutting Russian gas from Europe. Will US try to stop the construction? Undoubtedly. My prediction: because of well-chosen allies, and unlike with South Stream, they will fail.
The deadline for the complete turn off of the Ukraine gas transit system is 2019. Until then, EU and Germany will have to continue paying for Ukrainian gas in order to ensure Ukraine doesn’t turn off the vent.
Alexander Medvedev, Gasprom Deputy Chairman said: “After the current gas transit agreement with Ukraine expires, there will be no new contract, nor extension of the existing contract, under any circumstances. Due to the economic, political, investment and technological risks, there will be no more Ukraine gas transit, not even if sun and moon switch places in the sky.”
China: Deeper reason for the stampede to secure Russian gas
In addition to the Turkish Stream and Nord Stream rivalry, for the EU and Germany there is another, more important consideration.
Germany must act now, before Russian gas gets redirected to China and Asia via the Power of Siberia pipeline. Let’s recall my 2014 predictions: once it happens, it will be too late and EU will begin experiencing gas shortages. Shortages can be avoided if Europe acts now to secure multi-year gas commitments.
Therefore, Russia is building a fully balanced and diversified Eurasian gas supply system, and Chinese counterweight plays a big part in it.
Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream will eventually take all gas transit business away from Ukraine. It means that regardless of how the power in Ukraine changes in the following 2-3 years (and it will), Ukraine will only be able to buy gas for itself – at market prices. It won’t be able to profit from the exclusive gas transiter status.
Poor, naive Ukrainians; while they were yelling and screaming on Kiev maidan that Russia was bad, shrewd Europeans nodded politely and did what they had to do to provide for their energy security. This eventually will render Ukraine unnecessary for either US or EU, and, as I predicted, it will simply be abandoned. Too bad the cost will be so great for the people… I wonder, will Ukrainians ever learn?
This effectively means that US will lose interest in Ukraine and drop it like a hot potato. Recall my timeline for the mega-changes in Ukraine: 2016-18.
US LNG Shale Gas
But what about the US and its LNG shale gas, you ask? Judging by the St. Petersburg deals, Europeans aren’t holding their breath for it.
Let’s be clear: US shale gas is yet another bubble. This, awfully harmful to the environment bubble, will burst, just like so many before it.
Where is China?
What went completely unnoticed in the media was the presence of China at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Too bad, because this is actually the country everyone should have been watching in the first place. Chinese press wrote after the event that China and Russia fortified their future-oriented, long-term strategic partnership. Russia is the key partner in China’s New Silk Road project, which will unite in one economic space China, Russia/Eurasian Union, most of Asia and EU.
For more listen to my interview: Putin’s Disappearance and the New Silk Road ~ The Plane Truth
I spoke many times about the need to reunify all of Eurasia. This is one continent. The artificial division on Europe and Asia has to come to an end. Through trade and energy, this is what Russia and China are working on.
While Germany, Turkey and Greece trip all over themselves to be first to sign gas transit agreements with Russia, China is continuing its patient long-term expansion. Unlike the expansions of the US and EU, it targets to cooperatively unite, not divide. Patience is one thing Chinese have lots of. Pragmatic wisdom and vision is another.
Europeans could learn a lot from both Russians and Chinese.
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