Ask Lada 2. Russian Asset Seizure in Belgium and France: Does It Mean War?
All posts in this series will appear under CATEGORY: Ask Lada
Our reader and fellow blogger Nemo has asked this question in one of the previous articles.
Pre-history: Shortly before the Sochi Olympics Putin personally pardoned a former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was serving a sentence on official charges of tax evasion and money laundering. Charges that didn’t make it into the court verdict were much more serious: Khodorkovsky and his crony Lebedev were about to secretly sell-out strategic Russian oil assets over which they took control in the ’90s, during the wholesale looting of what was all of Russian people’s common property.
Khodorkovsky was literally about to board the plane to the US, where he was to make the deal of the century – sell his company Yukos to the US oil interests. In exchange, he was promised an easy election and post of the Russian president. The idea was for him to preside over the completion of the demolition of Russia. The process of the demolition of the country was stopped in its tracks by Putin, and Khodorkovsky’s handlers couldn’t wait to get back on the destructive mode.
However, in his arrogance Khodorkovsky didn’t realize how much the Russian government knew about his plans. He was arrested and tried on the superficial and easily provable money laundering charges.
The real story of Khodorkovsky’s plan and his exposure constitutes one of the main themes of my mystical thriller THE EARTH SHIFTER. Read the book here. Excerpts are here. I also write about Khdorkovsky and other Russian oligarchs in ESR3: OLIGARCH WARS. A Russian oligarch is also one of the main characters in my thriller GOLD TRAIN.
The biggest proponent and intermediary for Khodorkovsky’s early release was Germany, including personally Merkel, citing Khodorkovsky mother’s poor health and other humanitarian reasons. The condition for his release was that he wouldn’t go back into politics. Both Khodorkovsky and his German guarantors swore to that. But then again, Germany swore in 1989, as Gorbachev allowed Germany’s reunification (over USA’s objections!) and as Soviet troops pulled out of Germany, that the unified Germany wouldn’t be a part of NATO…
Of course, the moment Khodorkovsky was out of jail, he immediately started talking about running for Russian presidency, interfering in Ukraine and rejoicing over anti-Russian sanctions.
Another thing he and his cronies, some of whom are hiding in Israel and others in London, have done was to re-initiate a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against Russian Federation for restitution to Yukos shareholders.
This lawsuit was attempted several times before and EU courts threw it out every time. This time, however, the entire EU and US jumped on it as if it was an anchor to which they needed to hang on for dear life.
What was different this time? Simply put – Ukraine, Crimea, Donbass and anti-Russian sanctions. Yukos ‘shareholders,’ in fact a lot of shadowy entities, most of which were hiding behind bogus fronts, have their own interests. Their goal is to try to squeeze as much money as possible out of Russia after the nationalization of Yukos, following Khodorkovsky’s conviction. They have judged correctly that this time the Hague court would look favorably upon their claim for political reasons, and they were right.
No question, this lawsuit was suggested by the US and coordinated with the EU – the US fingerprints are all over its timing. Shortly after filing, the court in Hague delivers verdict: Russia is to pay Yukos shareholders $50 bln. Russia’s reply: we won’t abide by the decision of the court we don’t recognize.
As a result, Russian property and asset arrests and seizures began in France and Belgium. The amount cited is so far $1.3 bln. These include: arrests of bank accounts of the Russian companies with any stake by the Russian State, such as Rosneft; Russian Orthodox Church properties; Russian embassy, EU/Council of Europe representation diplomatic accounts.
Diplomatic accounts are illegal to seize in any country. If Russia wanted to escalate, such act could be construed as a declaration of war. Both France and Belgium ‘apologized,’ saying they have an absolutely and totally independent legal system; as such, they ‘didn’t know’ of the diplomatic accounts being seized and that they would release them.
Seizure of the Russian Orthodox Church property (such as Russian Orthodox places of worship) isn’t just illegal, since it’s not a property of the Russian State, but also despicable from the human and spiritual standpoint. It’s low even for them. Let’s recall that a similar war on Russian Orthodox Church property and threats against priests are taking place in Ukraine. All this appears to be a very well-coordinated action – and as my readers know, I am non-religious and therefore my point of view is neutral and detached. Read: Pope Francis and World Religions – Karma and Consciousness.
As to the property of the Russian banks and Russian companies, it’s more complicated. At present, Lavrov and other ministers announced they will use all legal means necessary to protest this decision and that companies can feel free to file claims in the Russian court, in return for which Russian court can seize appropriate assets of foreign countries in Russia.
Why Belgium and France?
This is a trial run, for now. They want to see how far they can get and what Russia’s response will be.
It’s interesting that at the very same time during the St. Pete Economic Forum, dozens of business leaders from all over Europe tripped all over themselves to assure Russia they wanted to continue doing business. Afraid for their properties in Russia? German business, as usual, was some of the most active during St. Pete forum.
Why is it being done?
Let’s face it, my early 2014 predictions that US/EU won’t achieve their goals in Ukraine, are coming true. Ukraine isn’t working out for them the way they wanted. Moreover, anti-Russian sanctions aren’t working either. Recall my prediction that in the long-run sanctions will be beneficial to Russia as they will stimulate sovereign innovation and production.
Let’s also face it, certain forces in the US and EU are livid. They can’t accept that things didn’t go their way and they want revenge. The pinprick of the Yukos decision is one of those pinpricks Russia, unfortunately, has to endure. Certainly, $50 bln isn’t a huge blow for Russia. Pinprick it is. It’s also a test: how will they respond? Can we dislodge them by doing it? Will Putin lose his cool?
And what if there are many other pinpricks coming at Russia at the same time? Can we make Russians completely lose it if we prick them from all directions? Let me remind everyone that that’s how WWI and WWII started – lots of humiliating pinpricks, resulting in countries losing their cool.
But Putin’s Russia isn’t Hitler’s Germany or Austria-Hungary.
That’s why all these NATO drills, deployment of thousands of tanks and other heavy machinery to Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe. It’s a bigger pinprick. Macedonia’s (FYROM) recent announcement that it will only allow Turkish Stream through its territory if EU agrees to it – is another pinprick. For more on what happened lately in Macedonia see: Macedonia Coup Attempt – War Against Russia & China (LRL12) and my upcoming LRL14 episode about Camp Bondsteel and Kosovo. Subscribe to Lada Ray Channel to keep on top of new videos.
However, this is still not all. The new attempted ‘electric maidan’ in Armenia (under the pretext of 16-17% hike in the price of electricity!) is yet another pinprick.
And the crowning pinprick achievement: Saakashvili as the governor of Odessa and subsequent attempts by Ukraine and Romania to re-ignite the Pridnestrovie conflict! I will soon have new LadaRayLive analytical episodes about that. Stay tuned for these new revelations.
Everything is going the way I predicted. I warned from the start that US would not accept defeat, and wouldn’t look quietly as its power and dollar dominance are slipping away. Unlike the USSR in 1991, which disbanded quietly and peacefully, It would fight tooth and claw, trying to drag everyone with it into the abyss. I also said that USA’s prime directive is not only to weaken Russia and EU, but also put a wedge between the two, especially, between the what was a newly thriving relationship between Russia and Germany.
Will Russia lose her cool because of these pinpricks? Nope. Russia, as predicted from the beginning, will again achieve a slow change in her favor through quiet and peaceful means.
Related article: YUKOS: Murder Incorporated, and the EU Schizophrenia
Read ESR3: OLIGARCH WARS
Find all EARTH SHIFT REPORTS
Read THE EARTH SHIFTER
Read GOLD TRAIN