Russia 090417 Basic Political Developments

Putin wants twice as much nuclear power

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Putin wants twice as much nuclear power

- By 2030 the share of nuclear power in the total energy production in Russia must be increased to 25 – 30 percent, says Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin.

The current share of nuclear power in Russia’s electricity production is 16 percent.

- The situation in the economy will be changing and the demand for energy will be gradually growing. Experts say that in 2012 we will return to the pre-crisis energy consumption level, Putin said at a conference at the Kalinin nuclear power plant in Tver region, reports Energoatom.

Currently, five new reactors are under construction in Russia, and many more are planned. Among them is the new nuclear power plant in Murmansk Oblast to replace the current reactors at the Kola nuclear power plant sometime into the future.

Putin instructed Rosatom state nuclear corporation to allocate additional 50bln RUR as property contribution for the implementation of priority target projects.

Cyprus and Russia endorse double taxation agreement
16 April 2009 | 22:53 | FOCUS News Agency
Nicosia. Republic of Cyprus and Russia have endorsed a double taxation agreement, Cypriot Phileleftheros daily writes on its Internet site.
The agreement was inked in Nicosia by Cypriot Minister of Finance Charilaos Stavrakis and head of tax unit with Russian Finance Ministry Ilya Trunin.
The agreement automatically takes Cyprus out of the Russian government’s black list, said Stavrakis and noted Russia was now Cyprus’s most significant trade and economic partner.

Cyprus, Russia sign tax agreement

Associated Press, 04.16.09, 09:38 AM EDT

Cyprus and Russia signed a double taxation agreement on Thursday that officials said will remove the east Mediterranean island from a Russian taxation "black list".

Cypriot Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis said the in-principle agreement was "very significant and beneficial" for both countries, as it will remove double taxation on assets and business activities for both individuals and companies.

Russia is one of Cyprus' biggest trading partners. Ministry officials estimate Russian deposits in Cypriot banks to exceed euro20 billion ($26.35 billion). Russia had blacklisted the country in early 2008 on claims that it was not cooperating enough in exchanging information on those vast bank assets, leading to tax evasion.

"(The deal) maintains Cyprus' very important advantages as a country through which investments can be made in Russia, and Cyprus is automatically removed from the black list," Stavrakis said.

Those advantages include "very low and competitive" taxes on Russian investments abroad and foreign investments in Russia, Stavrakis said.

Russian finance ministry official Ilya Trunin said Cyprus will be dropped from the black list once the agreement comes into effect.

"The promise of the Russian finance ministry, which is confirmed, is that Cyprus will be removed from the so-called black list," said Trunin.

Increased Cooperation With Israel Does Not Allow Russia To Arm Iran With C-300
Friday, 17 April 2009

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 16 / Trend News D. Ibrahimova, E. Tariverdiyeva/

Russia refuses from selling its rocket anti-aircraft complex. This decision was dictated by own Russian interests and accelerating of cooperation between Moscow and Israel. 

"Recently Russia improved relations with Israel. Presently, they negotiate on purchase of big batch of unmanned planes," leading Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer said.

Russia has not launched realization of the contract on anti air craft rocket systems С-300 delivery to Iran. "Nothing occurs. There are no supplies," federal service on military-technical cooperation first deputy director Alexander Fomin told Interfax-ABN in Rio-de Janeiro. Fomin heads the Russian delegation at arms exhibition LAAD-2009 held in Brazil. 

Moscow's informed source told Interfax-ABH that realization of the contract on delivery of Russian anti-aircraft rocket systems C-300 to Iran can be postponed for uncertain period.

"This probability is not excluded. Decision on this issue must be taken on political level as the contract is out of commerce," he said.

An interlocutor of the agency said that corresponding contract signed with Iran in 2005 has not been realized up to now. "Signing of the contract will depend on the international situation and leadership's decision," he said. 

The contract envisages delivery of С-300PMU1 system to Tehran from the Russian Federation's Ministry of Defence. The Russian side stressed that this is defensive arms designated to protect special important facilities from air attacks. 

Earlier Iran was supplied with Russian anti aircraft rocket systems of Тор-M1.

The USA and Israel often stressed anxiety on possible deliveries of С-300 to Iran.

Supervisors said that denial to Iran was dictated by Russia's willing to strengthen cooperation with Israel and following its foreign political interests. Establishment of relations with the USA is one of these interests.

The Russian Ministry of Defence has already decided which unmanned air crafts to buy from Israel. There will be three systems of near and medium distance of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) company, Kommersant newspaper said.

According to this newspaper, sum of the first deal hits $50 million. One part (approximately 50 percent of total sum) has been transferred, a source in the Russian defence-industrial complex said.  

For the first time, the intention to buy Israeli unmanned aircrafts was mentioned by the Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces, Army General Nikolai Makarov in November 2008.

"Russia has very serious contracts, joint projects with Israel, including purchase of modern arms," Felgengauer, told Trend News in a telephone conversation from Moscow.

These statements by the Russian side are dictated by the good relations with Israel, and with this, Fomin wanted to demonstrate the level of goodwill towards Tel Aviv, said Iranian expert on Russia and Caucasus Hasan Behishtipur. He stated that Russia wants to use the issue of armament of Iran as a object of bargaining with Israel, America and Iran.

From the Russian point of view this is a bad time for the announcement of such sale because the government is currently studying the relationship with the new Obama Administration, says military expert Ian Anthony.

"Discussions are now held or expected to be held soon with the colleagues from the United States on several important issues, and this announcement would lead to negative effects," Anthony, a member of the Stockholm University for Peace, told Trend News via e-mail.

He said that the governmental agreement between the USA and its European allies was signed, although has not come into force yet, and therefore, it will be difficult for the USA to close the missile defense program, which has been agreed. Nevertheless, further development of the missile defense system in Europe would be a very negative signal to Russia, said Anthony.

This is an agreement between Russia and Israel rather than between Russia and Washington, said the expert.

Russian expert also supports this opinion. "The fact that we now deny Iran is, of course, a signal to Washington, but much more this is connected with the fact that we have serious and good relations with Israel," said Felgengauer.

The expert considers that it is difficult to work with Iran. "It infinitely trades, and the allied relations with them, which were considered at one time, were not over with the expected partnership, said Felgengauer - Therefore, Russia now does not want to sell its C-300 to Iran.

Experts think that Russia will unlikely carry out the promised supply of air defense systems soon, since for one reason or another it is not in its interests.

Each state builds relations with other countries within its own interests, and Russia's refusal to supply promised air defense is in the interests of Russia itself, Bahram Amirahmadyan, Iranian expert on Russia and Caucasus, told Trend News in a telephone conversation from Tehran.

According to him, now the deployment of missile defense systems in Europe is being suspended, and the friendship with Washington is in the interests of Russia.

"Iran understands this, and this in no way affects the relations between Russia and Iran," said Amirahmadyan.

The United States is planning to deploy radar in the Czech Republic and ten missile interceptors in Poland under the guise of protection from missile threats from Iran until 2010. Russia fears that these systems will threaten its security. However, after Barack Obama came to power the U.S. is increasingly talking about the suspension or cancellation of the third position area in Europe.

If Kremlin preferred to restore relations with the United States, Russia renounce the sale of C-300 to Iran, even if such a decision angered the Iranian government, Azerbaijan American expert Ted Carpenter said.

"If Moscow has decided that U.S.'s statements to improve relations with Russia are not serious, then Russia will begin to seek ways to improve ties with Iran," the Cato University Defence Policy Program Vice President Carpenter wrote to Trend News via e-mail.

Iran is in a disadvantageous position in negotiations. "If Russia blocks the sale, then Iranian leaders could do little, especially given that Iran is very dependent on Moscow for security, as well as in opposition to sanctions, which European countries and the United States will continue to offer in response to the development of Iran's nuclear program," Carpenter said.

This will not affect the relations between Moscow and Teheran, Iranian expert Bahram Amirahmedyan said. "Even if Russia does not transmit rocket complexes C-300 to Iran, no changes will take place in their relations, because Russia defines its foreign policy based on their interests," Amirahmedyan told Trend News over phone from Teheran.

Iran and Russia are the strongest countries in the region and have joint positions on most international and regional issues.

Even if Iran does not acquire C-300, it is powerful to defend itself. "Iran is strong in the production of new military technology and in terms of the army," said Amirahmedyan.

Iran prefers to live in neighboring countries within the framework of mutual respect and no intention to attack any country, he said.

T.Jafarov, E.Ostapenko and V.Zhavonkova contributed in the article.

Barak to Russia: Don't sell advanced missiles to Iran

By Amos Harel

Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov yesterday to prevent his country from selling advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.

Defense sources said Barak did not name the S-300 air-defense missile system, whose sale the two countries have been rumored to be negotiating, but referred to it indirectly by saying Israel expects Russia to refrain from introducing weapons that would change the balance of power in the region.

The international press has reported that Russia and Iran agreed on the sale of the missile system two years ago but that Russia is delaying delivery of the weapons because of pressure from Israel and apparently from the United States. A top Russian defense official says Russia has not delivered any S-300 systems to Iran, the Interfax news agency reported this week.

Russia has previously sold the Tor-M1 air-defense missile system and other weapons to Iran in deals criticized by the United States and Israel. The long-range S-300 is a much more advanced weapon that would make any potential Israeli strike at Iran's nuclear facilities more difficult.

Last year, a senior Defense Ministry envoy urged Russia not to sell Iran the missiles, saying they could help the Islamic Republic destroy Israel, according to a Russian news agency report.

The S-300 missile system is also seen as threat to the air forces of U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan, and Taiwan, which are not equipped with aircraft that can counter the weapons.

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