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Putin’s Gambit: Germany To Replace Ukraine as Russian Gas Transiter

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Putin’s Gambit: 

Germany To Replace Ukraine as Russian Gas Transiter 

(LadaRayLive 15 episode)

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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:

Greek PM Tsipras at St. Petersburg Economic Forum 2015: Geopolitical and Economic Center of the Planet Has Shifted

Putin addresses St. Petersburg Economic Forum 2015: ‘Russia is open for the world’ (FULL SPEECH)

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.

Nordstream

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.

Putin and Erdogan

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.

Ukraine Prediction

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

And read: Russia Pivots to Asia: Putin goes to Mongolia and Opens Power of Siberia Pipeline to China

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.

Listen to video/audio version of this article on YouTube:

Putin’s Gambit: Germany Will Replace Ukraine as Russian Gas Transiter (LadaRayLive 15)

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Related LadaRayLive episodes:

NEW! Camp Bondsteel: How US Controls Gas and Oil Flow to Europe (LRL14)

Secret Connection: Russian Gas to Turkey-Greek Election-EU Breakup (LRL6)

FT articles:

Greek Default and Grexit? Analysis and Predictions

The Greek Dilemma: Between Russia and EU. PREDICTIONS by Lada Ray

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Putin’s New Ally: Pope Francis

2014 Pastoral Visit of Pope Francis to Korea Closing Mass for Asian Youth Day  August 17, 2014  Haemi Castle, Seosan-si, Chungcheongnam-do  Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Korean Culture and Information Service Korea.net (www.korea.net)  Official Photographer : Jeon Han This official Republic of Korea photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way. Also, it may not be used in any type of commercial, advertisement, product or promotion that in any way suggests approval or endorsement from the government of the Republic of Korea. If you require a photograph without a watermark, please contact us via Flickr e-mail. --------------------------------------------------------------- 교황 프란치스코 방한 제6회 아시아 청년대회 폐막미사 2014-08-17 충청남도 서산시 해미읍성 문화체육관광부 해외문화홍보원 코리아넷  전한

Pope Francis: Catholic Church’s Pope, an ancient title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, in which capacity he is Sovereign ad vitam of the Vatican City State. Born: December 17, 1936 (age 78), Flores, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaFull name: Pope Francis. Nationality: Argentine. Parents: Mario Jose Bergoglio, Regina Maria Sivori.

pope and putin

During his visit to Italy two days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Pope Francis at the Vatican. It has to be noted that, while the Pope is obviously not fooled about what’s happening in the world – undoubtedly, his Argentine roots play a role in his clear vision – Italy as a state also is trying to find a way to quietly mend relations with Russia outside of the EU. It’s interesting that Putin’s visit took place directly after the G7 bash in Germany, during which Merkel and Obama sang a lot of anti-Russian songs in-between of sips of banana-flavored beer (not kidding) and vowed more anti-Russian sanctions.

It is also happening against the backdrop of the US trying to sneak its mid-range nuclear missiles into the EU, targeting Russia, and many other ugly things that signal the fresh push for World War IV (WWIV because, in all truth, we should really consider the Cold War as WWIII). But more about that in another piece.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s third meeting with Putin in the past year is a signal that Italy is attempting to distance itself from Germany and the US. Italy is obviously trying to wiggle its way out the crippling anti-Russian, and return Russian, sanctions. Italians have told me that Italian agriculture is hard hit by the quid pro quo sanctions.

At the same time, Italy is trying to revive its lucrative energy cooperation with Russia, which the US and its vassals in the EU are actively sabotaging. Italian energy companies have been working on deals with Russia since Berlusconi. The most important component of these deals was the direct supply of the Russian gas to Italy via the southern route, which was supposed to be accomplished via South Stream. The northern route – Nord Stream – was successfully and very quickly pushed through by Germany, utilizing the German clout in international affairs.

Italian clout isn’t nearly as substantial. Moreover (I wrote about that in the past), Berlusconi’s reputation with women notwithstanding, he was undoubtedly pushed out of his post because of his close relationship with Putin and ‘excessive’ friendliness towards Russia.

The Italian energy companies, first of all Eni, took a blow after US managed to sabotage South Stream and the project was closed. The new Turkish Stream project is needed like fresh air by many countries, but it is already running into significant difficulties due to sabotage from the same source. See my video: Macedonia Coup Attempt – War Against Russia & China (LRL12). The new twist in this saga is coming up in one of my future vids. Stay tuned!

Pope Francis is another thing all together. Catholic church and the Vatican continue to hold a very substantial sway over worldly affairs, even if this soft power is invisible to most.

Francis’ interest in meeting with President Putin isn’t so much economics, although this issue concerns anyone who lives in Italy; while the Vatican is a separate state, it is, after all, geographically a part of Rome. Additionally, much of the Pope’s flock resides in Italy and surely, his people are well-aware of those farmers and shippers who are going bankrupt because of sanctions; they know of losses Italian energy and industrial companies are suffering.

Still the Pope’s main interest at this point is geopolitics and the diplomacy of peace. And that’s where it gets interesting.

During Putin and Pope’s behind-the-closed-doors visit, which lasted 50 minutes – longer than prescribed – Pope Francis gave Putin the “Angel of Peace” medal. This medal is said to have the ability to create peace and protection, as well as the solidarity among peoples. The choice of words is very interesting: a symbol – ‘talisman,’ ‘wish’ – of protection and peace is being given to Putin by the head of the Catholic church. ‘Solidarity’ is the word feared terribly in the US, but used broadly in socialist and left-leaning societies, including South America and Pope’s native Argentina. Pope Francis has also mentioned that the Bible addresses not just spiritual matters, but also geopolitics as one of the important aspects of human co-habitation. The above language of symbols and hints, typical for the Vatican, thus reflects an important message.

The US pressured (and by pressure I mean blackmailed, coerced and attacked in the media) Francis to take a tough line on Putin and condemn Russia. Meanwhile, the head of the so-called Greek-Catholic church of Ukraine archbishop Shevchuk criticised  the Pope for meeting with Putin and urged him to shorten or cancel the meeting.

The Greek-Catholic church of Ukraine is something that was created in the 18-19th centuries, during a forceful Catholic conversion of the western Ukraine population – at the time under Catholic Poland and Austria-Hungary. It is in fact Catholicism disguised with a thin layer of Greek flavor (the words ‘Russian Orthodox’ were banished).

Since the 2014 Kiev maidan coup, Ukraine’s Greek-Catholics took a very violent posture against Russian Orthodox churches and priests, traditional for most of Ukraine. Many Orthodox churches in Donbass were destroyed by bombings or burned down and looted. Many priests and church-goers continue being threatened and humiliated. A large number of Orthodox churches all over Ukraine were forcibly taken away from the rightful owners and converted into Greek-Catholic ones.

Someone asked me last year, when all this was going on, whether Pope Francis was becoming a hidden ally of Russia. My reply was that the only thing Francis could do as far as Ukraine was to offer an olive branch and try to distance himself from what was happening in Ukraine. This is what he did.

The extreme violence and rage of the primarily Greek-Catholic element from western Ukraine isn’t something he can control. But after the violence finally calms down and the right people come to power in what is now Ukraine (recall my timeline: 2016 -2018), all the churches wrongly taken away from the Russian Orthodox church will be returned to the rightful owners. Let’s consider this one of my little predictions. Putin and Francis spoke behind the closed doors and the topics of their conversation were not disclosed. But knowing Putin, I am sure that he got a promise from the Pope that he would use his power to return the churches.

The Vatican continues being a powerful and deep-reaching conglomeration of various interests, from spiritual to financial and geopolitical. This is one of those entities that can subtly influence world opinion and serve as part of the diplomatic solution, when used for good. There are one billion Catholics in the world today. The power of the Catholic church stretches through Europe and Latin America, as well as many countries of Asia and Africa. Catholic influence in the US is not as significant and it is doubtful that Pope Francis would be able to talk any sense into the US ‘leadership.’ On the contrary, US has the audacity to admonish the Pope and read him lectures on how he should conduct his affairs. What else is new?

But it is out there for all to see that this Pope is different. Pope Francis clearly disagrees with the West and the US and he clearly prefers Putin. In fact, there is a talk of an unlikely alliance. Call it a soft-power diplomatic-spiritual alliance. Francis likes the fact that Putin has positioned himself as defender of Christians, who are under attack in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. Francis also took a pro-Assad and pro-Syrian government position against the US.

Pope Francis and all heads of the Catholic Church – as leaders of most other main religions – prefer Putin to Obama, or other Western leaders. The reason lies in Putin’s straightforward conservative values combined with his active stance in promoting religious tolerance, equality, friendship and cooperation between various religions. I hear the same from prominent leaders of Jewish and Muslim religions. Since most people on the planet are religious, this is something that endears Putin to many.

Pope Francis is undoubtedly anti-US hegemony, anti-Western imperialism and militarism. He has to be as diplomatic and possible, but the fact remains: this is certainly his Argentine roots talking. Based on the above, Putin and Francis hit it off pretty well.

But it goes deeper than that. I believe that it’s well beyond Pope Francis and his personal preferences, although it helps to have the right man at the helm.

The Vatican elites aren’t blind. They see where the wind is blowing – and it’s away from the US and West, towards the East. Call it abandoning the sinking ship of the West OR steering the Vatican ship into more promising waters…

The Vatican is re-orienting towards the East, Russia and China.

And the Vatican isn’t the only one. Israel is doing the same, and not just Israel.

But what about Putin? Oh, he plays his master chess as usual. I wrote in 2014 that Putin, with his out-of-this-world tireless productivity, circled the world and managed to glue together a network of various allies all over the globe. Sure, the US has the biggest and scariest army in the world; it also controls the world media and financial system. It can intimidate, bribe, blackmail or attack anyone. That’s why countries are afraid to speak up. But the future is behind the alliance that is forming quietly, and often secretly, behind the scenes.

Putin continues looking for new allies, quietly weaving together the new world, where the US won’t be hegemon. And now the Vatican is slowly but surely shifting towards this alliance.

Italy is the friendliest towards Russia out of all significant Western economies. The Vatican, located in the middle of Italy, is positioning itself for the future. The Pope’s friendly position towards Putin and Russia also reflects the opinion of the majority of Catholics in Italy, Spain, Greece, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and all of Latin America, as well as Asia and Africa. And it’s not what Washington has hoped for.

vatican

An interesting confirmation of what I said from an unlikely source, CNN!

I really don’t read or watch CNN. But as I was looking for the Pope and Putin’s image online, this popped up: ‘Why only Putin could turn up late for meeting with the Pope’ – Link to article. Moscow (CNN):  

There aren’t many world leaders prepared to keep the Pope hanging around for a meeting. Russia’s President is perhaps the only one.

Pope Francis discovered this on Wednesday as he waited, patiently, for more than an hour at the Vatican for his guest to finally arrive. There aren’t many world leaders either who could annex one part of a neighboring country while backing a bloody rebellion in another part, and still avoid strong criticism from, arguably, the world’s most influential religious figure. Vladimir Putin appears to fall into that narrow category too.

The issue of Ukraine was raised, we’re told, during their brief, closed-door meeting. According to a Vatican statement, “The Holy Father affirmed that it is necessary to make a sincere and great effort to forge peace,” in the war-ravaged country. Pope Francis and Putin also agreed to “restore a climate of dialogue.”

But the exchange was not the condemnation called for by many, including members of the Greek Catholic congregation, who number millions in Ukraine, and who have expressed frustration at the Pope’s failure to criticize Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict. Nor are the words likely to satisfy the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, who urged the Vatican, ahead of the Putin meeting, to “say more about concerns on territorial integrity” in Ukraine.

To be fair, the Vatican is not following the same diplomatic agenda as Western governments regarding Russia.

Hale goes on to suggest that Francis may play a diplomatic role in resolving the conflict in Ukraine too. But if Wednesday’s meeting was anything to go on, in which the Pontiff and the President exchanged gifts, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

No, that meeting was more about Putin than the Pope. Just a day after being publicly scolded by the world’s industrial powers, the G7 — including a particularly strong rebuke from U.S. President Barack Obama — Putin was shoulder to shoulder with the spiritual leader of 1 billion Roman Catholics worldwide.

Russia may not be quite so isolated after all.”

New related article: Ask Lada: Pope Francis, Satanic Cults, Religions and Consciousness (Ep1)

To form a complete picture, also read it in concert with: Putin and Erdogan Troll EU at Baku’s First European Games

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How to Resolve Ukraine Problem: “Crimea Belongs to Russia, Transcarpathia to Hungary”

RT, April 10, 2014: “The Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe (PACE) has suspended Russia’s right to vote and excluded them from leadership positions in retaliation for Crimea voting to join Russia. The Russian delegation will also be omitted from all positions of leadership, the Bureau, Presidential and Permanent committees. Russia’s right to attend observer missions and monitor elections was also suspended, with the head of the country’s delegation, Aleksey Pushkov saying “this is an awful violation of Russia’s rights.” (This effectively means Russia is being denied the observer status for the Ukrainian elections in May – LR). Pushkov stated: “The resolutions look like they are from NATO, not from an institution meant to unite Europe. This is a triumph of double standards.” More on RT

Russian delegation left the ongoing PACE session in protest. Russia has announced that they will be considering leaving PACE altogether, although they won’t rush with this decision. Read the rest of this entry

Prediction: New Economic Axis of Power and The Grand Chessboard

I came across this very interesting report about #Germany’s push for a “special relationship” with #China (see video at the bottom of post). I think it illustrates clearly where the wind blows. Today, Germany’s trade with China already amounts to a whooping 145 bln euros, which makes China Germany’s #3 trading partner. Especially popular in China are Germany’s luxury vehicles, like Porsche, as well as other high-tech products based on superb German engineering.

In all this flirting of Germany with China, the rest of the #EU is threatened to be left behind as EU’s dominant and most vibrant #economy looks into the future, while others have to deal with the imposed austerity. Read the rest of this entry

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