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Russia and Britain continue to mend economic ties

Here’s why the future of Britain’s economy rests in choosing the right “company”.

Haneul Na'avi

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Mock on; thou hast a place of refuge; I am alone, an exile soon to be.” —Euripides, “Medea”

The 29 November Russo-British Business Forum (RBBF), held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, hallmarked continued efforts to mend Anglo-Russian business ties.

Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (RBCC) Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent opened the event, followed by speeches from UK Trade Representative Boris Abramov, UK Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, delegates from the House of Lords and Commons, and many others.

Over 35 high-profile speakers in politics, business, AgriTech, FinTech, engineering and finance addressed pertinent topics. Bloomberg Radio’s Caroline Hepker moderated several open panel discussions and delegates signed numerous bilateral agreements.

Other notable projects were showcased, such as the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency (TIDA) and the Western Europe-Western China Transport Corridor (WE-WC), which aims to facilitate trade for the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative into the European Union.

In an interview, RBCC Board of Directors’ Chairman Roger Munnings expressed that “Brexit is going to require British companies to think adventurously and be faster on their feet — all of which is good,” drawing parallels to Russia’s economic rebound from international sanctions.

Many guests spoke on promising trends in increasing bilateral trade whilst underscoring the importance of closing trade deficits, to which Abramov noted, “Russia sells to Britain 1.7 times more goods and services than Britain sells to Russia”.

An RBBF press release extrapolates,

Over the first 9 months of 2017 Russian exports to the UK increased by 29.4% to US$ 6.5 billion compared to the 9 months of 2016 [whilst imports] from the UK, based on the results of the first 9 months of 2017, increased by 18.7% compared to the same period in 2016.

However, the event, full of optimism, laughter, and networking, was obscured by a dearth of attention to one of the most important obstacles sat in the way of progress: the British state.

In order to determine the future Russo-British ties, this issue must be addressed.

The “Special Relationship” and the State

Capitalism is an unabated sea of competition, alienation and monopolisation, which “always becomes the more destructive for bourgeois relations”, with the state determining such relations.

Vladimir Lenin defines it as,

[…] an organ for the oppression of one class by another [which] legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between classes.

Dialectically, Britain is undergoing a painful loss: its “special relationship” with the US empire, a product of the Cold War rising with former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and falling with current PM Theresa May.

Friedrich Engles saliently noted that,

The State was the official representative of society as a whole [only] in so far as it was the State of that class which itself represented […]

In this case, it operates solely for the dominant bourgeoisie to crush opposition at home with social-democracy and austerity, or abroad with NATO—the “strange fruits” of such a relationship.

Karl Marx highlights that,

The value of a thing consists solely in its relation to our wants [where] we wish to part with a useless thing, in order to get one that we need [and] exchange something superfluous for something necessary.”

A contradiction ensues: as the British state coalesces capital and power, sections of the bourgeoisie will revolt in order to circulate their commodities to accessible markets.

These two relationships find expression in diametrically opposed value-forms, with the former in the US petrodollar, a money-form used to suspend the production of commodities, and the latter commodities, which must circulate in return for money-forms; Solve et Coagula, in other words.

Marx also notes that hoarding becomes,

…a constantly extending market for gold and silver, unconnected with their functions as money [and] a latent source of supply [principally] in times of crisis and social disturbance.

One particular crisis—Brexit—has become so severe that the British state is compelled to hoard as it prepares for an uncertain future. The material evidence for this must be explored further.

Material Origins of Deteriorating UK-Russian Relations

Post 9/11, Russo-British relations began disintegrating with former UK PM David Cameron, whom reinvigorated the UK-US special relationship with former US president Barack Obama in 2010, cumulating with the 2014 fascist Ukrainian coup, in order to mitigate the EU-Russian trade deficit.

The Guardian quacked that,

[Cameron] said Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets and pushed for stronger sanctions against the country, after both the UK and US said they strongly suspect the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was struck down in Ukraine by separatists using Russian-made Buk missiles.

Pandering to Washington and Brussels, Cameron rallied against Russia by joining US-EU sanctions, military and media (propaganda) regimes, of course, for completely material reasons.

A Russian embassy communique from Ambassador Yakovenko noted,

The [2013 EU-Ukraine Association] Agreement stipulates that 80% of export tariffs are to be cancelled or lowered right away and further 15% – within 5 years. As a result, we expect the Ukrainian market to be saturated with European goods and components quite quickly, which can lead to Russian goods being displaced from Ukraine and EU [and] that Ukraine will be used as a low-cost transit channel for European goods, […] bypassing the agreed tariff schedule.

This is where the destructive power of capitalist alienation began. Cameron, hoping to alienate British goods to Ukraine via the agreement, was instead alienated by his European counterparts.

The Normandy Four—France, Germany, and Ukraine, and Russia—negotiated the Minsk agreements without London’s participation, infuriating Cameron.

A Russian Embassy resumé discloses that,

Outside the ‘Normandy Four’ and with no stake in the political solution, Britain became the most vociferous critic of Russia and supporter of Kiev’s flawed strategy of military solution.

Thus, Cameron begot Brexit—the perfect alibi. Kowtowing Brussels, Washington and Kiev cost London billions due to collapsing exports to the EU and Russia, with nothing in return.

The OEC stresses that,

During the last five years the exports of the United Kingdom have decreased at an annualized rate of -11.966%, from $446B in 2011 to $404B in 2016.

RT elucidates the timing even further,

Russia-UK trade has almost halved in 2015 as a result of the tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and the European Union [and that] the total trade between the two countries fell by nearly 50 percent compared with 2014, and the loss is estimated at about $10 billion.

In short, there was nothing special about the special relationship. Even worse, whilst the UK accuses Moscow of hostile “aggression”, it was Britain who severed diplomatic ties to Moscow.

The Russian Embassy highlights,

[At] the moment Russo-British political dialogue is non-existent. London unilaterally froze all the bilateral formats of Inter-Governmental cooperation which proved their worth […] Regular consultations between the foreign ministries have actually ceased.

It continues,

London is not ready either to drop its [visa] sanctions [against] Russian officials, introduced earlier [and still refuses] to fully restore the contacts between special services, [damaging] Russo-British counter-terrorism cooperation.

Not since the 1927 ARCOS incident has a Tory-led government become such a cacophony of Russophobia. Even today, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson channels the humiliation of 1st Earl Stanley Baldwin of Bewdley. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

To understand why, a UK Parliament paper explains,

EU statistics indicate that EU goods exports to the UK amounted to €314 billion in 2016; more than EU goods exports to Brazil, Russia, India and China combined.

So, betrayed by the EU and US, yet dependant on the American state and European economy. Alienated by Brussels, and, under US president Donald Trump, alienated “at the back of the queue”, Britain becomes a shameless Ouroboros of self-destruction. Potentially without markets to which it can alienate its commodities, Britain began doubling down on hoarding.

An Inc. article details why,

[Imagine] you’re in charge of a large public company [and every] three months, investors are picking apart your balance sheets. […] Companies look better on the balance sheet if they hoard their cash–or spend it on low-risk, short-term, in-the-box, incremental innovations.

The British superstructure is being devoured by its material reality, ab irato, whilst its capital and stability remain under constant scrutiny from investors, the European Commission, and the public.

Unfortunately, after PM Tony Blair’s transatlantic honeymoon in Iraq and Afghanistan, British gold reserves plummeted from 588.27 to roughly 310 tonnes (2000-2002) and never recovered, which threatens British quantitative easing plans post-Brexit.

The 2008 global financial crises also aggravated matters to the point where QE began failing for the Bank of England. So, instead of hoarding gold, Britain hordes money-forms via austerity and prints cash via the BoE, to the chagrin of its citizens.

Should Westminster not change course, one can expect several phenomena to come to pass:

  1. With EU productive forces merging with the OBOR, defeat in ALL Brexit negotiations.
  2. To avoid a monetary collapse, hoarding via social welfare cuts and military/ security spending
  3. Massive capital flights to other European finance centres and tax havens
  4. A rapid collapse in Conservative (Tory) leadership and violent in-fighting
  5. A rise in the UK Labour Party (social-democrats) to capitalise on and mitigate capitalist crises

To survive, Britain must choose the OBOR, where commodity and money-form exchanges (non-USD) can prosper via emerging markets and kickstart its sluggish growth. Many EU nations are already doing so, and as Europe’s third-largest Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank member since 2015, it makes perfect sense. However, if it chooses the opposite, then prepare for the worst.

Furthermore, it is senseless why the British bureaucracy refuses to exploit all possibilities with organisations like the RBCC, even from a realpolitik perspective, or a Machiavellian one. It must integrate, not alienate itself from emerging economies like Russia, China, and countless others, particularly in the absence of the European market, and increase production of commodities of use-value, not exchange value. Cameron understood this when he joined the AIIB, and subconsciously, Theresa May also understands this and is reshuffling her cabinet in response.

As a final anecdote, one should recall the prophetic “wisdom” of Karl Kautsky,

There is no economic necessity for continuing the arms race [as] the capitalist economy is seriously threatened precisely by the contradictions between its States.

Every far-sighted capitalist today must call on his fellows: capitalists of all countries, unite!

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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