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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

A balanced analysis of the Mafra Summit

It can be concluded that the Western media has been mostly contaminated by a chronic illness, a species of acute indigestion that has been provoked by a strong Russia, with coherent politics, a Russia of success and without shame, a Russia with a leader who speaks the language of international law without hypocrisy. Surprising it is that there are still people who continue to buy “newspapers” full of cold war nonsense and insolent references to internal matters concerning the Russian Federation.

Facing up to the negative western media

Once and for all, let us face up to the accusations reiterated against Russia in the western media, one by one.

First , Anna Politkovskaya and Aleksandr Litvinenko. The only point linking these two cases is the fact that both stepped on the feet of the Chechen mafia. Those who play with fire... On top of that, Chechen terrorists have been sheltered in countries of the European Union, enjoying political asylum status and making a mockery of the mothers and fathers of Beslan.

Second , democracy. If the OSCE wants to monitor the elections in Russia, then entities of the Russian Federation will have to watch and monitor electoral processes in the European Union. For those who claim that it was a great victory that President Putin accepted the presence of the OSCE in Russia’s forthcoming elections, if Vladimir Putin ran for the Presidency for a third term, he would likely gain 80% of the votes or more. This, clearly, would be followed by a wave of calumnious histrionics in the western press, who would claim that the followers of Kasparov’s coalition, that azeri whose entourage includes fascists, former Communists (and God knows what else!) and his followers had been hindered from voting.

Russia enjoys a democracy wholly based upon law and Russia conducts its politicy, internal and external, in accordance with the law. Russia does not go about trying to gain points in Washington’s murderous games, or participate in acts of slaughter in Iraq, and then later claim that it only sent a few policemen. All the countries that have participated and participate in the illegal invasion in Iraq are responsible for the crimes committed there. If they want to speak of the lack of democracy in Russia, they should look at their own glass houses before throwing stones.

Third , the "Non Governmental Organizations" in Russia, NGOs. What the Kremlin did was to draw a legal structure to classify them, to define and to protect them, compelling them to explain exactly what they are doing in Russia. Many destabilizing elements were operating against the State, promoting and instigating feelings of nationalism in regions which had more resources. The Kremlin was able to draw a line between NGOs and agents provocateurs.

Fourth , the reference to the Cuban missile crisis. Vladimir Putin had valid reasons. How is it that Washington can consider establishing aggressive missile systems on the borders of Russia when 45 years ago they it had an attack of hysteria because of Soviet plans to place missiles in Cuba? On top of that, wasn’t it Cuba that had been attacked by Washington?

Fifth , Kosovo. Kosovo has been part of Serbia for centuries. Kosovo is an integral part of the Republic of Serbia, end point. Kosovo doesn’t have anything to do with the European Union, with Lisbon, Brussels or any one else except Belgrade. It’s up to the Serbians and Serbia to decide what Kosovo’s status is. It is not up to the EU, nor Portugal, nor Belgium, nor Albania. If for decades Albanian women had gone there to produce their offspring, it does not mean that Kosovo is theirs any more than the southern states of the USA belong to Mexico.

Sixth , as for the constant references to Soviet times... and so what? What is the western media’s problem with the Soviet Union, that brought people who were living in a feudal and backward state to the very front line in terms of development, social mobility, education, science, healthcare, state security, free transportation, guaranteed job, guaranteed pension, guaranteed essential goods, free energy, communications at modest prices, and very much more?

And if the Soviet Union had missiles pointed at the west, it was because since the beginning, since the Russian Revolution, since the Civil War, the west had always tried to sabotage the Soviet model, spending trillions of dollars in the process. It wasn’t the Soviet Union that roamed the world for 500 years pillaging peoples and resources and kingdoms and countries in other continents. It was the Soviet Union that provided the flame for these oppressed peoples to free themselves of the yoke of the imperialist and colonialist countries, countries that now complain when Africans or Latin Americans come to knock on their doors.

A balanced analysis of the Mafra Summit

Since the western media seems incapable of formulating a balanced analysis of the Mafra Summit, or anything else where Russia is concerned, we will attempt to do one here.

In first place , whether or not people like their politics, President Aníbal António Cavaco Silva, Prime Minister Jose Sócrates and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Durão Barroso, have to be congratulated for the excellent and intelligent attitude that they demonstrated from the beginning to the end of this Summit, in creating a good and pleasant environment, to see whether with a smile, the ice could be broken, the permafrost that exists mainly in western media circles.

And they managed it. No Portuguese newspaper, printed or online, has related the speeches of President Putin in Russia, where repeatedly he refers to Portugal as a beautiful example in terms of economic development and application of funds. Russians like the Portuguese, and the increment in tourism terms is witness of this. And why? Because the Portuguese are not intrusive, they know to leave internal questions alone and to only argue questions that can improve bilateral relations. It was this that the President and Prime minister had wished to do, and they did it very well. Portugal may have its problems in arranging top-class politicians , but in terms of diplomats, it is very well served.

In second place , it was President Vladimir Putin who suggested the creation of an Euro-Russian Institute for the promotion of human rights and democracy in Europe. What would be the problem, then, for OSCE to watch elections in Russia, the U.S.A. or any another country? It would indeed be interesting to hear the opinion and reports of this organization concerning the presidential elections in the Florida in 2000.

Thirdly , beyond the good climate created by the Portuguese authorities, the insistence of both parties relating to the importance of the growth of bilateral, economic and commercial relations should be highlighted. The EU is the biggest trading partner of Russia and Russia, in its turn, the third largest partner of the European Union. Investment of the EU in Russia represents more than 30 billion EURO (yet the Union seems so reticent in facilitating reciprocal Russian investment, which represents only 3 billion EURO. There are those that preach freedom of the markets, and those that practise it).

For example, in October, the European Union introduced measures to protect its energy sector, making the entrance of foreign investment difficult in this market and legislating on the division of the energy supply and infrastructures for its transportation. These two measures affect Gazprom, for example, limiting its sphere of operation.

Fourthly , there was agreement on the supply of energy, where Russia will commit itself to sharing information on gas flow, in case of eventual crises, to consolidate Europe’s confidence in Russian deliveries.

Fifth , the Russian Federation had the chance to renew its support for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU (it expires at the end of 2007, but can be extended for a period of one year), which should be easier since the Treaty of Reform was agreed between the 27 members of the Union in Lisbon.

Sixth , Vladimir Putin said that Russia will spend 122 million EUR between 2008 and 2013 to implement cooperation programs on the borders between Russia and the European Union.

Seventh , the parties agreed to continue the process of dialogue to facilitate the issuing of visas.

For those who constantly resort to relating images of the cold war and writing editorials on how terrible the Russian bear is, and these so-called professionals have in their majority not referred to a single point mentioned above, the only question remains if they feel well when they receive their wage at the end from the month. It must feel like they are selling their souls to the Devil.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY

PRAVDA.Ru

Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.

Capitalism reduced Indonesian cities to infested carcases

Several years ago, a prominent Indonesian businessman who now resides in Canada, insisted on meeting me in a back room of one of Jakarta's posh restaurants. An avid reader of mine, he 'had something urgent to tell me', after finding out that our paths were going to be crossing in this destroyed and hopelessly polluted Indonesian capital.

Capitalism reduced Indonesian cities to infested carcases
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