Monthly Archives: August 2014

Russia blocks alcohol imports from Ukraine

Russia suspends alcohol imports from Ukraine – consumer rights watchdog

Russia has decided to suspend alcohol imports from Ukraine on August 15. On Wednesday the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said there had been a number of breaches in consumer legislation.

The restrictions apply to beer produced by Obolon and SUN Inbev Ukraine, and alcohol from the Ukrainian Distribution Company.

“When scrutinizing imports of vodka, beer and other beverages from Ukraine a number of breaches in consumer protection legislation were discovered,” the watchdog’s statement said.

Rospotrebnadzor said Ukrainian beer doesn’t meet the nutritional value written on the bottles, and its branding broke the rules as it doesn’t have the right alcohol content.

The watchdog cited “numerous violations of the law on protection of consumer rights” as the reason.

Rospotrebnadzor added that the state monitoring of alimentary goods, in particular of vodka and beer, found numerous violations of consumer rights.

Following WTO rules, the information has been sent to the relevant body, the Federal Customs Service and to offices of Rospotrebnadzor across the Russian Federation.

Earlier this month, the watchdog found dangerous substances in Bourbon, a US-made whiskey.

According to the sanitary authority, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey produced by Barton 1792 Distillery Company did not comply with Customs Union technical regulations, although the whiskey label has the Eurasian Conformity, or EAC, mark, used for products on Customs Union member state markets, on it.

Falsified products were found in supplies from Germany, the Czech Republic and France.

On July 29 the watchdog banned the import of Ukrainian fruit and vegetables and canned fish claiming they also broke consumer legislation.

Join the discussion on Russian/Ukrainian sanctions using the comment box below or you can also join in the conversation about the retaliatory sanctions Russia placed on imports on the >>Russian Forums<<. Continue reading

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Russia’s Cunning Plan on Sanctions, Europe and the US.

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has implemented a cunning plan in relation to Europe and their sanctions on Russia. I call it “Right back at ya – watch this!”

“Russia is finished! Sanctions from Obama and the European Union will finished the Russian economy and now it will become the poorest country in the world! Russia can not do anything to answer the West! We will all die”

So love to scream those who do not know about Putin’s cunning plan.

Europeans believed that Russia does not respond to sanctions; but Russia has. The EU will soon feel the pain as they now know that they will lose at least 12 billion euros by being Washington’s puppet.

Putin has decided to act on the principle “I will beat gently, but firmly.” The effects wont take long to be seen.

European politicians have expressed “surprise”, “confusion”, “misunderstanding” and the hope that we can somehow “get out of the logic of sanctions.”

For the European Union, Russia is a key market. The EU’s share in the Russian food imports was 42%, and for the EU, Russia was the largest consumer, after the United States.

It is significant that the European politicians console themselves in the fact that sanctions are only imposed for a year, but the Russian market can be lost forever. Therefore, the damage from the “sanctions” Putin has retaliated with will be long-term.

In addition to the direct economic effect, the Russian sanctions will create permanent political problems. It turns out that Putin has – as Russians say – generously laid out a whole constellation of buttons on the chair – and the European Union will soon think twice about imposing sanctions on Russia.

The fact is that now all the affected countries will require from the European Commission compensation for loss, and the European Commission has to then find an extra 12 billion euros a year – and it can’t.

Finland is asking already for money: Finland is worried it will slip into another economic crisis due to the fact that Russia introduced sanctions against it. The Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said, “There is the potential that it will be the economic crisis number two,” at a press conference yesterday. It’s funny that the Finnish politician immediately demanded compensation from the European Union: “It is absolutely clear. If sanctions hit Finland disproportionately, we will try to get help from our partners in the EU. he said”

With a flick of the wrist, Putin has turned a few EU countries into clones of Ukraine. They will now also lose money just for the fact that they hate Russia (or believe they should). For Ukraine, this disease has already ended badly, but Finland and other countries will be cured of it quickly.

The treatment with be with the favorite German medicine – budget austerity policy, better known as the “healing by starvation.”

Another headache for the EU is the need to somehow arrest the indirect consequences of Russian sanctions. For example, farmers are unable to repay part of the loans that they have secured via export contracts in Russia.

Some manufacturers will not be able to pay subcontractors, some will have to lay off workers – it’s creating problems; the solution of which requires money. And the most annoying is the fact that it is now or will need to accept the fact that the export potential of the EU is diminished. 10% or so is the food consumed in Russia from European exports. The EU will have to increase subsidies to European producers, so they have a chance in other markets.

The level of subsidies in the EU amounts to 30% already, and to increase it will be very expensive, and the WTO rules will not allow this. For some countries, even the increase in grants won’t help.

For example, the Minister of Agriculture of Poland has already admitted that to replace the Russian market will be extremely difficult. The Europeans do not even have options to respond in kind, because Russia does not export food to Europe.

Russia is a major exporter of grain, but does not sell it in the EU.

With the exception of certain premium goods like French wine, Italian ham and certain cheeses, all food exports from Europe are easily replaced by exports from other countries, or Russian production.

It turns out that for Russia, there is potential for growth of its own production, while for the EU losing money is guaranteed.

There is something to think about. Assessing the long-term problems that arise from the first Russian sanctions, EU bureaucrats are likely to come to the conclusion that it is much more profitable ignore Ukraine and forget about the situation there. It is very possible that such thoughts have already dawned on EU leaders.

Just a few hours after the administration of Russian sanctions, news feeds carried this message:

“We want to overcome the logic of sanctions, we want to sit down with the Russian to the table to jointly discuss further ways of development of Ukraine”, – said the spokesman of the European Commission in Germany, Austrian Richard Kuehnel, RIA “Novosti” with reference to Deutsche Welle.
Russia offered this at the beginning, but, apparently, the Europeans needed a demonstration of political will and proof that Russia can inflict pain, without even touching the gas valve.

They got the proof, and in a rather offensive manner.

One has to be very naive to believe that the Europeans would agree to suffer economic losses for Ukraine. As can be seen from the statement by Kuehnel, they can not even tolerate a couple of weeks in order to “save face” and at least pretend that they care about the problems of Ukrainians more than the problems of their own farmers.

It is possible that we will have to watch the show and it will become quite funny. Washington will put pressure on the European Union and demand the preservation and strengthening of the sanctions, or the European Union will require compensation from the United States.

Extra money, the Americans do not have now they are bombing Iraq again, and so they may be forced to run the printing presses (“quantitative easing”) this autumn for fear of completely undermining the economy.

The most likely scenario is the US and the EU will organise some kind of scheme that could pass for a “diplomatic solution to the issue”, allowing Europeans to wear the halo as peacekeepers.

Russian sanctions have freed the EU from its default feeling of invulnerability and exclusivity.

Understanding that the loss of good relations with Russia is an unaffordable luxury, will greatly help the EU to build a better relationship with Russia, in spite of pressure from Washington. Continue reading

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American “Democracy”, Russia, Ukraine and the EU.

Just ask yourself what would we do if Russia was spending billions of dollars propping up a coup in Mexico or Canada? How would we feel about them moving military weapons into adjoining nations if there were any?

Apparently this doesn’t bother the average American. That Germany is one of the members of NATO that is most supportive of the United States is totally lost on them also. The fact that 20 million Russians died dislodging the fascist German military machine, along with their Eastern European allies seems not to enter into the equation. The only predominant theme is the unrelenting propaganda coming from CNN, CBS and other mainstream media. The fact that most of what is being reported is retracted days later falls on deaf ears.

One reason I don’t write as often as I would like to is because it takes a chisel and a hammer to get things to register with most Americans. That and the fact that my writing is only carried on publications that people who already have a good grasp of what the score really is, actually read. I wish that every so often, people that don’t have an inkling of what is really happening would take a moment out of their precious, self-involved day and read what I’m trying to tell them.

Russia needs a civil war or a confrontation in Ukraine like most people need cancer. There is nothing in it for them. They sell natural gas to Ukraine and I’m sure they don’t want that income to stop. The provinces that are protesting against the people that pulled the coup in Kiev were given to Ukraine by Russia. Kerry is lying, Obama is lying and nobody seems to care. Well, after the sanctions put in place today, the deputy Russian foreign minister said that if the astronauts need replacing in the space station need transportation, perhaps they should use a trampoline. Oh, by the way, he also said that foreign energy interests in the Russian gas and oil regions may be curtailed.

Maybe that will make the people that run the American government sit up and take notice. Continue reading

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Why is the Western Media so Biased Against Russia?

The British media and especially the BBC are anti-Russian.

The language they use is always purposely misleading. The Russian point of view is never considered. The western media on the whole start from an assumed point that Russia is always in the wrong, always the aggressor, and every item reported is in the same vein. British media is like a mouthpiece for America.

The BBC even has its own propoganda channel in Russian: http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/

Take turning the gas off to Ukraine: That has always been framed as nasty Russia spitefully turning the gas off on poor little helpless Ukraine. Very little is mentioned of the debts owed, that Ukraine steals the gas and prefers not to pay for it. “Corrupt country doesn’t pay its gas bill” is not a headline. “Evil Putin makes Ukrainian pensioners freeze in winter” is. You see?

What kind of unbiased media runs headlines like this?

Anti-Russian propaganda
Each week the Sunday Times, without fail, runs an anti-Russia story and has done for years. Sometimes two or three. Always the key is in the language.

For example: “Russia builds up troops on the border” – they don’t mention that these troops are inside Russia so are there quite legitimately.

“Russia turns off Ukraine’s gas” – well, they wouldn’t if they got paid for it.

“Kremlin-backed separatists” – well, how do we define “backed”? Morally? In spirit? Financially? They don’t say.

The western media declines to report on the Ukrainian government killing civilians. That is always glossed over. They will however gleefully repeat numbers killed by “Kremlin-backed separatists” or “pro-Russian gunmen”. Not “pro-independence gunmen” you will note.

I am all in favour of balance, but very few in the western media are balanced. Russia is always assumed to be in the wrong and the aggressor in the majority of the British media at least. When they start from that assumption, its not hard to see why balanced journalism becomes harder.

When a journalist takes his own prejudices and writes from that standpoint (which most of us do, but journos are supposedly trained to avoid doing so) what he writes will always contain the slant that his opinion dictates.

Remember, many of these people filing copy for the media have never been to Eastern Europe, let alone Russia. They are simply recycling and rewording stuff they find elsewhere. We saw silliness written about Putin “wanting to invade Poland” as evidence of that.

In recent days, I have noticed an overall change of tone in the American media, actually. Some of what I am reading in the American media is reasonably balanced. More so than I see over here. I am sensing a gradual shift in standpoint in the American media. Perhaps that is indicative of the administration taking a step back for a change and not wanting to become too deeply embroiled?

Over here in the UK, some of the weekend broadsheet editorials especially [that middle England reads to get a synopsis], are pretty mind blowing in that it shines through that the writer has a zero grasp of the history and the politics of the region. When one looks at the writers who understand the region, and who have spent time there, blokes like Peter Hitchens writes content that is hard to argue with for example, one gets a clearer picture.

Instead of reading and believing how the media chooses to demonise Putin unquestioningly, if people took the trouble (as I have) to actually go to the Kremlin’s website and read what the bloke actually says, rather than read an interpretation of it through media spin, he makes many valid points that the media never address; he has been requesting talks with anyone and everyone for months, but that is never reported.

What some call Russian propaganda is actually needed in order to balance out what everyone else writes in order that those who might form an opinion on their own, can do so having read both sides rather than several regurgitated versions of the same thing they *think* are different sources. Continue reading

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