Friday 12th of August 2022

home improvements...


When oil prices were at record highs, many non-energy sectors of the Russian economy developed weakly, the Kremlin admitted in April. But the era of cheap crude and sanctions has forced the country to find other sources of revenue.

US predicted that sanctions would tear Russian economy apart, but they didn’t – finance minister

“New drivers for growth have already appeared in the economy - agriculture, chemicals, the food industry, domestic tourism. They haven’t yet made up for a drop in non-tradable sectors, which was one-off and structural,” Deputy Finance Minister Maxim Oreshkin told Bloomberg.

The analysis is backed by figures. Federal Statistics Data show the economy contracted 3.7 percent last year, although it’s still far from 2009 when it declined 7.9 percent in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

Farmers are one of the biggest contributors to easing the tightening budget. Their share of Russian GDP has grown to 4.4 percent, the highest figure since 2003. Such growth is linked to the weaker ruble and the Russian embargo on foreign produce.

According to Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev, Russia has become the world’s biggest wheat exporter, outpacing the United States and Canada. The country plans to export up to 25 billion [sic, should be million] tons of wheat this year.

Output in pharmaceuticals soared 8.8 percent and in chemicals by 4.4 percent. The biggest winner was the IT industry with 28 percent growth.


adding ridicule to the porkie sauce...

A startling claim that the west is on course for war with Russia has been delivered by the former deputy commander of Nato, the former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff.

In a book published on Wednesday, 2017 War With Russia, Shirreff argues that the events in Crimea have destroyed the post-cold-war settlement and set the stage for conflict, beginning next year.

In a chilling scenario, he predicts that Russia, in order to escape what it believes to be encirclement by Nato, will seize territory in eastern Ukraine, open up a land corridor to Crimea and invade the Baltic states.

Shirreff, who was deputy supreme allied commander Europe from 2011 to 2014 and before that served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and the Balkans, is risking his reputation by making such a bold prediction. But he claims his narrative is closely modelled on his Nato experience of war-gaming future conflicts.

His scenario is specific, naming Latvia as the first of the Baltic countries to be invaded, in May next year. Such specifics open him to potential ridicule. 

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...Yep... and Saddum had weapun of muss destructium...

epo anyone?...

Russia says a new comprehensive system to fight doping in sports should be introduced, pledging to fully support an international probe into alleged violations by its athletes. Russian teams may face collective punishment over doping scandals, the IOC said.

Several doping scandals have hit Russian athletes over the past month, with the latest alleging that doping was used during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee said should the scandal widen further, Russian athletes would possibly be considered guilty until proven otherwise.

"Should there be evidence of an organized system contaminating other sports [apart from athletics], the international federations and the IOC would have to make the difficult decision between collective responsibility and individual justice," the committee’s president, Thomas Bach, said on Wednesday.

because NO US athletes would use drugs...


The revelation that the Justice Department is looking into allegations of doping by Russian athletes seems to be the latest example of American law enforcement reaching beyond U.S. borders to target corruption — a noble effort, experts say, that nonetheless opens the country up to criticism about trying to serve as the world’s prosecutor.

In recent months, the Justice Department has assigned 10 new prosecutors to work exclusively on foreign bribery cases, while the FBI has created three squads dedicated to international corruption. The department also has proposed legislation to give prosecutors more tools to ferret out such wrongdoing.

While federal prosecutors’ efforts have long been focused on corrupt foreign businesses and elected officials — they recently announced that the Amsterdam-based telecommunications company VimpelCom had reached a deferred-prosecution agreement that required it to pay a criminal penalty of more than $230 million to the United States — they have also shown a willingness to examine wrongdoing in sports.

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American exceptionalism smells of fascism...

The chairman of the Russian Constitutional Court has said that Barack Obama’s statements about American exceptionalism were very similar to propaganda used by Nazi Germany and equally dangerous to world peace.

The idea of specialness, exceptionality and unique rights of the American state and American people has been used in US internal political rhetoric for quite a while, but in the recent years it is being actively and persistently offered in US foreign policy documents and public speeches on international politics delivered by US officials,” Judge Valery Zorkin said at the St Petersburg international legal forum on Thursday.

READ MORE: ‘American exceptionalism’ hampers its war on terror – Lavrov

Any unbiased and educated person would see that this statement by Obama is an almost exact copy of leading politicians and propaganda specialists of the Third Reich, including Adolph Hitler… In essence, Obama is using the exact same thing that Nazi bosses said about the German exceptionalism when they started the world war,” he added.

The judge also said that in his view the exceptionalism concept had direct influence on the modern US concepts of military planning and these concepts see the main objective of all activities as reaching such degree of military might that the United States remains out of reach of other nations, on land, sea, in air and in space.

According to Zorkin, the same applies to the US doctrines on development of mass media and electronic communications – the US authorities see their goal as establishing absolute global domination of their country in the global information space. This idea also constantly appears in Obama’s public speeches.

Obama says that Americans and the USA are an exceptional people and an exceptional state and thus they can pretend for much more than any other people or state. In other words, he follows the plot of James Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ dystopia and, while formally not rejecting the principle of equality of sovereign states and peoples, fixed by the UN Charter, he still declares that Americans and America are ‘more equal’ than any other country and the rest of the planet’s population,” RIA Novosti quoted the judge as saying.

Zorkin also told his colleague at the forum that he considered such approach to be a blatant violation of international legal norms.

Russian politicians and officials have repeatedly addressed the topic of American exceptionalism when talking on bilateral relations with the US and of international politics in general. In particular, in mid-2015 President Vladimir Putin said in his speech before the UN General Assembly that attempts to influence internal politics of sovereign nations should not be tolerated regardless of where they are taking place and who are making such attempts.

necessity — the mother of invention...


Moscow does not consider the issue of lifting Western anti-Russian sanctions relevant with economic restrictions viewed as an opportunity to develop country's economy, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The economic restrictions imposed against Russia are viewed as a window of opportunity that must be used to strengthen food and technological security, as well as to diversify Russia's economy, broaden foreign trade channels and create alternative financial accounting systems, he added.

"I would say that the issue of when the anti-Russian sanctions is irrelevant for us. It was not us who imposed sanctions and we will not discuss any criteria or conditions. The only issue relevant for us is how efficiently we use the current situation in the interests of our economy and development," Lavrov said during a live linkup on news portal.

Read more:


See toon at top...


necessity is the mother of more flops...


On Monday, the People’s Republic of China revealed a new supercomputer, complete with 10.65 million computer cores made exclusively by Chinese-built microprocessors.

No American-made system quite competes with the Sunway TaihuLight, the new Chinese system. According to the Top500 list, which catalogs the world’s fastest supercomputers, it can perform up to 124.5 petaflops, and is the first system to surpass 100 petaflops. 

One petaflop is equal to one quadrillion sustained floating-point operations per second.

China’s efforts in developing their own processors stems from Washington’s decision to block Beijing’s access to Intel’s processors last February. This was based on an unfounded fear that the Chinese government would use the technology to develop nuclear weapons, though some Chinese critics feel American politicians used this excuse to stymie progress of the Eastern nation’s supercomputer development. 

The US Department of Commerce accused four Chinese companies of "acting contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States."

China's Tianhe-2, the world’s second fastest supercomputing system, uses Intel Xeon processors and maxes out at 54.9 petaflops. 

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See toon at top...


producing 35 per cent more stuff...

In an attempt to shift the economy from raw materials, Russia is putting effort into the agriculture sector. From January to June, the country produced 35 percent more tractors and harvesters than in 2015.

"The growth of the industrial production of agricultural machinery could be estimated at double-digit figures. The increase in production of combine harvesters in the first half exceeded 35 percent year on year, we will increase it to 50 percent," said Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Aleksandr Morozov on Friday.

Agriculture Minister Aleksandr Tkachev added the government budget has allocated 10 billion rubles (about $160 million) to update machinery.

“Such a volume of state help will allow farmers to purchase 17,000 new items of machinery on favorable terms,” said Tkachev. There will be $3.57 billion in state support for Russian agriculture in 2016, he added.

Last week, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projected a record crop for Russia this year. Russia produced almost 105 million tons of cereal in 2015 and has plans to boost production to over 111 million tons by 2017, the agriculture ministry reported.

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russian sav...

"Our economy is developing, despite the fact that forecasts of a disaster were voiced for us from different places, including from across the ocean. Even those whom it is hard to suspect of liking our country can see progress," the prime minister said.


Russia has been hit by a downturn that began in early 2015 after falling oil prices and Western anti-Russia sanctions took bite. The country's GDP fell 3.7 percent in 2015, according to the Russian Federal Statistics Service Rosstat.

Russia's Reserve Fund will not be exhausted this year in light of higher than expected earnings.

"We are managing to keep the budget deficit at an acceptable level. The main source of its absorption is the Reserve Fund, whose money was theoretically due to end by the end of this year. This will not happen," Medvedev said.

He said, "we earned more than planned, including through the mobilization of revenue."

"Two of the largest ratings agencies of the ‘big three’ have changed their forecasts of for the Russian economy from ‘negative’ to ‘stable.’ Another one, S&P, raised it to ‘positive.’ Russia could return to the category of countries with an investment rating," Medvedev added.

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Meanwhile in Australia, the deficit is going south, what should have been done twenty years ago is looked at as if an alien planet and the Libs (KONservatives) muck it up...

See toon at top...

russian sav = european pains...


Russia's agricultural boom continues to pick up steam. The government has committed 13.7 billion rubles in new subsidies to farmers, which will help them with the purchase over 21,000 new pieces of equipment, including tractors and seeders. The agricultural sector has only seen benefits from the three year sanctions war between Russia and the West.

The Russian government expects the 13.7 billion rubles in new assistance to help not only farmers, but the domestic agricultural machinery sector as well. In the first six months of 2016, Russia produced 35% more tractors and harvesters than it did in the same period in 2015, with farmers ever-hungry for new equipment. The Cabinet seems to be hoping to continue that trend.

Russia has enjoyed an agricultural boom since 2014, with the trend setting to enter its third straight year. In 2014, in response to a series of sanctions by the US and Europe on Russian companies and individuals, Moscow slapped a ban on the import of some agricultural products from the countries which introduced the anti-Russian restrictions.

The sanctions have hit Europe particularly hard, with estimates in mid-2016 indicating that the countersanctions had cost European producers $65 billion in lost revenues. Some countries, like the Baltic states, were hit especially hard: their dairy farms and fisheries have suffered catastrophic declines of 30% or more.


Russian farmers, on the contrary, only benefited from the restrictions, producing record harvests and even becoming the world's leading exporter of wheat and other grains.

Russian food security also stood to benefit. In 2016, Russia imported 22% of its total consumption of agricultural products, down from nearly 40% in 2013. 



Nigmatullin agreed, saying that given the right conditions, agriculture, which accounts for 5% of total exports, can continue to strengthen its position in Russia's export balance, outpacing chemicals and rubber goods (6%), and perhaps even metals and metal products (10%).


Best of all, the boom is expected to lead to lower prices for Russian consumers. Amid the shocks accompanying the decline of the ruble's value in 2015, prices for many food products have also crept up. However, according to Institute of Agricultural Marketing director Elena Turina, domestic production has already helped to stabilize prices, and even bring some of them back down.



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keeping sanctions for good...

Russia to keep counter-sanctions against the West for good

Russia » Economics

Russia will not be the first to abolish restrictive measures that were imposed in response to the sanctions against Moscow's current policy, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a news conference following his talks with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne.

"If we discuss first steps on the part of Russia, the abolition of some of our restrictive measures, retaliatory restrictive measures, then the answer is obvious: of course, we are not going to cancel anything," Medvedev said, answering the question of whether Russia could be first to lift counter-sanctions.

The Russian prime minister said that the "sanctions do not please anyone," nor do many find Russia's retaliatory measures pleasing either. However, according to Medvedev, there are Russian companies that support keeping Russia'a retaliatory measures in effect for good.

The prime minister emphasized that Russia could preserve counter-sanctions for a long time, but the Russian Federation could still develop relations with European countries. "We'll wait and see: if Ukraine can move forward in resolving the internal conflict, then maybe our relations with the EU, which made this inter-dependent, will become better. Well, if they fail to move forward, then these sanctions will remain for a long time, and our counter-sanctions will also remain in effect for a long time, but even in these conditions we can live and develop," Medvedev said.

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