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Russia pays last Soviet debt

Payment of $152 million to Bosnia clears all outstanding Soviet debt

Alexander Mercouris

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This article was first published by RussiaFeed

An aspect of the events surrounding the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 which rarely gets discussed is that Russia took on itself the entire burden of paying the whole of the foreign debt owed by the USSR at the time of its collapse.

By contrast the other fourteen Soviet republics – now all of them independent states – were not required to pay any of this debt when the USSR collapsed.

The result was that from the moment it came into existence Russia found itself liable for the entire burden of the USSR’s debt – estimated to be around $70 billion – with just a few billion dollars held in the Russian Central Bank’s gold and foreign currency reserves to cover it.

By contrast the other republics of the USSR when they became independent found themselves entirely debt free.

Needless to say any comparison of the relative economic performance of Russia and of the other former Soviet republics since 1991 ought to take this fact into account.  Needless to say it never is.

In the event Russia has successfully discharged the whole of this huge Soviet debt burden it took on itself, steadily paying off all the USSR’s debt ever since Vladimir Putin became Russia’s President in 2000.

The final payment of $152 million to Bosnia has just been made, clearing the debt completely.

Following this payment the only bilateral debt Russia stills owes to another sovereign state is $594 million, which Russia itself borrowed from South Korea, and which it it due to repay in 2025.

The payment to Bosnia shows something else: Russia’s determination to discharge all its financial obligations even when it has an excuse not to do so.

At the time the USSR incurred the debt of $152 million which has just been paid to Bosnia, Bosnia as an independent country did not exist.  The USSR did not in fact owe this money to Bosnia but to the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia, of which Bosnia was a constituent republic.  Yugoslavia however no longer exists, just as the USSR itself no longer exists.

Another country in Russia’s position might have chosen to treat Yugoslavia’s disappearance as a reason for claiming that the debt which was owed by the USSR to Yugoslavia had also been wiped out.

Instead the Russians chose to negotiate repayment of the debt the USSR owed to Yugoslavia by agreeing to subdivide Russia’s liability for the debt proportionately between the various Yugoslav republics and to make payments of the debt to them proportionately on that basis.

The two final payments were a payment of $60 million to Macedonia made in February, and the payment of $152 million which has just been made – on 8th August 2017 – to Bosnia.

The collapse in oil prices in 2014 and the sanctions imposed on Russia that year were supposed to precipitate a payments’ crisis in Russia, with claims often made at the time that the country would be pushed into crisis and default.

Instead Russia has effortlessly paid off all its Soviet era debt, has Central Bank foreign currency reserves that now amount to $420 billion, is currently running a surplus on its consolidated budget, and has a public debt to GDP ratio of less than 15%, the lowest of any G20 state.

Moreover it seems that most of the foreign debt owed by Russia’s companies to Western banks will also be paid off by the end of this year.

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ruca
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ruca

What would Ukraine or US have done?

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

The same as any mendacious scoundrel would have done…

Suzanne Giraud
Guest
Suzanne Giraud

You mean like israel, 😉

Seán Murphy
Guest
Seán Murphy

Defaulted, or, in the case of the USA, just refuse to pay. “After all, we are the exceptional nation, your rules don’t apply to us”.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

Nice quote, which made me laugh. So true.

AM Hants
Member
AM Hants

That is seriously interesting. Funny, how the Soviet Union nations, that emerged in 1991, the ones that embraced their independence, work happily with Russia. The ones that ran with their begging bowls, boulders on their shoulders, blaming Russian for everything, ran to the EU, which was run on the same ideology as the EU. Ukraine, who got paid $millions for giving up the ICBMs, that actually belonged to the Sovietr Union and not the nation of Ukraine, are still whinging, whining , moaning and playing the Professional Victimes, worthy of an Oscar, when they actually meant something. Russia paid the… Read more »

FlorianGeyer
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FlorianGeyer

All of which apply to the UK today and the US for decades.

Alex Popoff
Guest
Alex Popoff

It is 10th or 12th time when Russia pays the very absolutely ultimate last soviet debt, as long as I remember.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

I am sure the Khazar Jews of Russia now residing in Israel and living in Palestinian houses etc will soon claim compensation for the distress they had when the Jew dominated NKVD and Cheka were ‘forced’ to murder tens of millions of Russian Christians. The Holodomor being just one example.

An NKVD ‘kill room’ is an exhibit in Riga,Latvia. Jews are still not very popular there .

Peter Hallam
Guest
Peter Hallam

Every Western country, for some reason all of them, is awash in debt and can’t pay it off. Why is that? Why can Russia; with what some would have called at the time, insurmountable problems; be able to pay off all its debts, even those it could legally have discharged of itself because it wasn’t legally liable; whist the West is facing bankruptcy? What is going on? Actually, we all know what is going on, I just had to posit it. It is a debt trap; put in place on the citizens of those trapped countries by their Rothschild rulers… Read more »

John Burns
Guest

Eminently sensible advice. There will be much wringing of hands and beating of breasts when the World Economy collapses.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Not to mention the usual western deflection when one of its charter members reaches pitchover: “Nobody could have foreseen this. And this is no time for pointing fingers. We all have to work together to solve the problem”. It is worth mentioning, however, that the west will not quietly go under owing to being overcome by debt. It will either invent an excuse to wipe out its debts and start afresh, or – more likely – invent an excuse for a major war in the hope that acquiring fresh conquests will allow it to continue the exploitative policies which initially… Read more »

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Indeed, Debt is Slavery. Even those of us who have no debt are forced to pay for Government Debt that is far larger than it need be due to all the useless and wasteful wars our corrupt leaders rush to take part in with the US.

The British military operations in Afghanistan this century cost the taxpayer circa 34 billion pounds and we achieved bugger all except over 400 dead soldiers and thousands wounded and crippled.

John R. Nolan
Guest
John R. Nolan

Wouldn’t it be good to live in a country that is economically free from the usurpers, the scum bags who have, since the creation of credit, kept the West in darkness?
The only way we are to be free is to nationalize the entire banking system, put control of creation of credit back in the hands of the citizens, and, instantly, we are all out of debt!

desertspeaks
Guest
desertspeaks

hmm no Rothchilds running Russian banking anymore and viola! Russia is nearly debt free.. well, aside from $594 million, which Russia itself borrowed from South Korea, and which it it due to repay in 2025. Further, Russia could actually become debt free, if they so chose to.. And they should, imho. Russia’s Central Bank foreign currency reserves that now amount to $420 billion, the Russians wouldn’t even miss the $594 million!
NO ROTHCHILDS BANKERS = Russia’s debt almost paid off.. ANYONE SEE THE CONNECTION YET??

CumExApostolatus
Guest
CumExApostolatus

Russia is in real trouble now.

Gordon
Guest
Gordon

International Bankster S..m, and their drunken in debt puppet:- Churchill.
UK, WW1:- The national debt increased from £650m in 1914 to £7.4 billion in 1919.
By the end of World War II Britain had amassed a debt of £21 billion, which we only paid back in 2006, very few people were aware of this financial debt.
The debt to white European Christians and their countries, due to the loss of all of those men is coming home to roost at present.
War is Murder.

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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