Let Us Talk

April 1, 2009

President Obama Meets With Russian President Medvedev – Agree To Reduce Nuclear Count

APTOPIX BRITAIN US RUSSIA OBAMA G20 The United States and Russia have reached a deal to reopen nuclear disarmament talks, to “pursue” a reduction in the number of warheads held by both countries. The two countries will embark on the first major arms discussions since 1997. Both countries want to reduce the number of warheads, but no firm number has been reached.

“We agreed to pursue new and verifiable reductions in our strategic offensive arsenals in a step-by-step process, beginning by replacing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with a new, legally-binding treaty,” said a joint U.S.-Russian statement released by the White House.

“We are instructing our negotiators to start talks immediately on this new treaty and to report on results achieved in working out the new agreement by July.”

APTOPIX BRITAIN US RUSSIA OBAMA G20 The leaders agreed to craft a replacement for the expiring 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which limited the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads, known as START before it expires on December 5, 2009. It seems that a formal USA/Russia summit may take place as early as this July since Obama accepted an invitation from Medvedev to visit Moscow in July.

president-obama-president-medvedev-4-1-09-c  President Obama said that a new arms control treaty push “is a good place to start” in rebuilding a partnership with Russia.

I love President Obama’s body language at this meeting.  🙂

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March 15, 2009

Russia’s Richest Oligarchs Losing Billions and Billions

Moscow has lost the title of billionaire capital of the world.  New York is now the billionaire capital with London coming in second.  Russian billionaires lost more than $250B and approximately two thirds of its billionaires due to the world financial crisis.

In 2008 there were 87 Russians billionaires with a total estimated wealth of $471.4B.  Today there are 32 Russian billionaires with an estimated wealth of $102.1B.

In 2008 there were 1,125 billionaires worldwide; today there are only 793.

Russia’s descent into its economic predicament began when the heavily oil-dependent economy was hit by falling crude prices. Russia’s stock market is down by 67% over the past year and their currency, the ruble, has depreciated 29% against the dollar.

Russia’s government has already spent $250 billion to prop up its currency so that it can avoid a sharp devaluation of the ruble. Russia has even helped private businesses refinance their foreign debt so that foreigners don’t take over several Russian businesses. Even with help from the government dozens of Russians fell from billionaire ranks, including the very wealthy investment banker Ruben Vardanian who owns Troika Dialog.  He allegedly got a substantial cash injection from the state owned Sberbank.

Even Russia’s richest woman Yelena Baturina has financial problems.  Baturina had a vision of building one of the most outrageous buildings in Moscow called ‘Project Orange’an avant garde complex shaped like slices of fruit, with a tinted facade that would cast an orange glow over the Moscow River.  Last week Ms. Baturina applied for about $1.4 billion in government loan guarantees for her construction company. In 2008 Ms. Baturina’s wealth was estimated at $4.2 billion.

The credit crunch has brought Russian real estate to a halt. Russian’s Donald Trump — Kirill Pisarev — and his partner, Yuri Zhukov each lost 90% of their wealth as shares of their real estate firm lost nearly all of its value. Russian analysts say that real estate is expected to remain the worst part of the Russian market, impacted by the dramatic slowdown in property sales and construction.

August 13, 2008

Russia to America: “Pick Sides”. Georgia to McCain: “Action Not A Bunch Of Words “.

 Relations between Russia and the U.S. have become exceptionally tense. Russia has thrown out a challenge to the United States, daring President George W Bush to “choose” between Washington’s relationship with Georgia and its future ties with Moscow.
 
In what appeared to be calculated defiance of the United States and the European Union, which mediated a ceasefire deal struck less than 24 hours earlier, early Wednesday, Moscow sent its forces to occupy the Georgian town of Gori, just 50 miles from the capital Tbilisi.

President George W Bush said the move had “damaged relations” between America and Russia and demanded that Moscow “keep its word” over the ceasefire. 

“To begin to repair the damage to its relations with the United States, Europe and other nations, and to begin restoring its place in the world, Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis,” Bush said.

But Russia retorted that America, which has a staunch ally of Tbilisi’s pro-western government, would have “to choose” between building a relationship with Georgia or Russia.

“We understand that this current Georgian leadership is a special project of the United States, but one day the United States will have to choose,” said the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili earlier Wednesday called for John McCain and other American leaders to do more for Georgia in their response to the conflict in his country.

“Yesterday, I heard Sen. McCain say, ‘We are all Georgians now,’ ” Saakashvili said on CNN’s American Morning. “Well, very nice, you know, very cheering for us to hear that, but OK, it’s time to pass from this – from words to deeds.”

 

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