Putin Says Russia Will Expand Its Arctic Presence

Russia says embassy staff in Libya evacuated after attack

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. 1 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Putin says Russia will expand its Arctic presence AP 10:39 a.m. EDT October 3, 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with activists of the United Russia party outside Moscow on Oct. 3. (Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev, AP) Story Highlights Russian military has been restoring a Soviet-era military base on the New Siberian Islands Arctic is believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic SHARE 5 CONNECT 40 TWEET 1 COMMENTEMAILMORE MOSCOW (AP) President Vladimir Putin says Russia will expand its presence in the Arctic and restore a Soviet-era military base there. Putin said Thursday that the Arctic region is essential for Russia’s economic and security interests. He told activists of the main Kremlin party that the Russian military has been restoring a Soviet-era military base on the New Siberian Islands that was shut down after the Soviet collapse. He added that the facility is key for protecting shipping routes across the Arctic Ocean. Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and gas. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The attack demonstrated the volatility in oil-producing Libya two years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, and the problems faced by his former ally Russia as it tries to put billions of dollars’ worth of energy and arms deals back on track. The Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin were keen to play down political angles of the attack, citing the murder as the cause. The Russian woman, who also wounded the officer’s mother, had been arrested, the statement said. Diplomatic sources in Libya said security guards fired shots to disperse a group of about 60 people who tried to storm the embassy on Wednesday. Russian agencies said the gunmen arrived in two vehicles before opening fire. The statement sought to underline cooperation by the two countries to reestablish Russia’s full diplomatic presence in Libya and reduce any long-term impact. CLAN DIVISIONS Clan and tribal rivalries, as well as Islamist groups, have flourished in the absence of strong central government in Libya. Security services have struggled to maintain order. Militant groups have staged a number of attacks on Western diplomats. Militants linked to al Qaeda affiliates attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012. “When Gaddafi was in charge, ties (between Libya and Russia) were good. He was buying our weapons and there was talk of a railroad being built,” said Moscow-based analyst Georgy Mirsky. Asked about the attack, he said: “This kind of thing happens all the time, there is no reason to exaggerate it.” Russia says it lost billions of dollars in arms deals after the fall of Gaddafi, who was captured and killed in October 2011 after months of civil war.

Russia Enters New Era of Stagnation

“The Russia 2018 committee ran a bid campaign in full compliance with FIFA rules and ethics, and we were awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup because of the unique and compelling proposition we put together. “The LOC continues to conduct itself with exactly the same degree of transparency, commitment to excellence and spirit of fair play.” Blog: Can the Qatar World Cup be moved? How and where Garcia’s potential meeting with Russia takes place is open to question given in April he was one of 18 people barred from entering the country over what Moscow said were human rights abuses, linked to the lawyer’s arrest and charging of Viktor Bout, a Russian, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S. for arms trafficking. News of Garcia’s investigation came ahead of FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on Thursday and Friday where it will discuss the possibility of moving the 2022 tournament from the usual June and July slot to December. “I will conduct interviews in various places and I hope that those who have some information, even if they are not obliged to give me some, will agree to talk to me,” Garcia told France Football magazine. “My goal is to submit a report that covers the World Cup bidding and awarding process.” Read: FIFA puts heat on Qatar Mark Pieth, who will leave his post as chairman of the Independent Governance Committee at the end of the year, said Garcia’s task isn’t easy. “He’s in a very awkward situation,” Pieth told CNN. “He has no police powers. He can’t just walk into an office in Dubai and say, ‘I want these files and I want all your hard disks.’ “He has to use the techniques of an international investigator and so the big question is, even if there’s evidence around, will he find it? We don’t know. What I can do is make sure he gets the manpower and he gets the resources, the money, to run this.” FIFA’s decision to award Qatar the 2022 tournament has been particularly criticized, with many suggesting the oppressive heat in the Gulf state makes staging the World Cup there impractical and dangerous. Pieth himself said he had “serious doubts” about the procedure used to give Qatar the event. Moving the competition from the northern hemisphere summer to winter could present a number of problems to the sport’s major leagues and major broadcasters.

Russia 2018: ‘We have nothing to hide’ in World Cup bid investigation

Sadly, nobody has much confidence in his plans to address them. With the country’s rate of economic growth declining toward zero, Medvedev is making a renewed effort to show the business community that he knows what to do. In an unusually long article published in the business daily Vedomosti, he acknowledged that what growth the country has is largely artificial, that the government is too dependent on revenue from the oil industry, and that Russia offers a terrible environment for investment. “Output growth is supported almost exclusively by large investment projects financed by the government and state-owned companies, salary raises in the public sector, an expansion of subsidies to agriculture and other sectors fueled by the high oil price,” Medvedev wrote. In other words, Russia’s economy might not be growing at all if the government wasn’t pouring oil money into subsidies and infrastructure projects, such as the preparations for the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014 and the soccer World Cup in 2018. The private investment needed to replace the government spending, he wrote, isnt coming, in part because investors have an “understandable lack of trust in public institutions.” Besides, private business has a hard time competing with state-owned behemoths: State-controlled banks, for example, hold 53 percent of the Russian economy’s entire loan portfolio. “We are at a crossroads,” Medvedev wrote. “Russia can continue going forward in slow motion, with economic growth close to zero, or it can take a serious step forward.” The second path “is fraught with risk,” while the first “leads to a precipice.” Few economists would argue with the diagnosis. “The head of the cabinet has largely learned to name the correct reasons for the country’s predicament,” Maxim Blant wrote on the opposition website ej.ru. Sergey Aleksashenko, director of macroeconomic studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, agreed : “It’s a good thing that this has at least been said.” The biggest flaw in Medvedev’s lengthy program, critics said, was the paucity of solutions. All he offered was a slowdown in tariff increases at Russia’s state-owned utilities and some small-business support in the form of tax breaks, loans and government contracts.

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