Not So Great Britain

Russia gives Gazprom right to form armed units

July 6, 2007
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Russia’s parliament handed gas giant Gazprom the right to form its own armed units on Wednesday with a law one legislator said opened a “Pandora’s box” that could lead to the creation of a private army.A law backed by 341 lawmakers in the 450-seat State Duma lower house of parliament gave Gazprom, and oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, special exemption from strict limits on private businesses wielding arms.

The two state-controlled companies will for the first time be allowed to employ their own armed operatives instead of contracting an outside security firm. Their armed units will also have access to more weapons and more freedom to use them than private security companies.

Posted in Oil, Russia

Kremlin Powers May Be Split After Putin

June 27, 2007
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Two top Kremlin officials have shown up on state-controlled television regularly for months, appearing decisive and statesmanlike, inspiring speculation that they are competing for the job of President Vladimir Putin.And so they may be. But at least one prominent analyst predicts the two men will split the current presidential powers when Putin leaves office next year, with one serving in a weakened presidency and the other becoming a stronger prime minister.

Many who follow Russian politics assume Putin, barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term, plans to endorse either the stern Sergei Ivanov, 54, or the boyish Dmitry Medvedev, 41, in the March presidential contest. Both are first deputy prime ministers.

Posted in Russia

Russia says relations with U.S. inspire alarm

June 23, 2007
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that relations with the United States “inspire alarm,” Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Posted in Russia

Russia And Azerbaijan Confirm Readiness To Host US Anti-Missile System

June 23, 2007
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The defence chiefs of Russia and Azerbaijan confirmed Wednesday their countries’ readiness to host part of a US missile defence system at a Russian-leased radar station in Azerbaijan, Interfax news agency reported. Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said during talks with his Azeri counterpart Safar Abiyev that Russia is “ready for the joint use of the Gabala radar station either on a bilateral or trilateral basis,” Russian defence ministry advisor Ilshat Baichurin was quoted as saying.

After the meeting, Abiyev said: “We confirmed Azerbaijan’s readiness for the joint use by Russia and the United States of the radar station in Gabala and we signed the relevant protocol,” Interfax reported.

Posted in Russia

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