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Major Players: Russia, China And India Entering 2013 …

  • December 31st, 2012
  • Posted by 7thmin

moscow.jpgAmong major players of the century, the outlook for Russia shows mixed economic prospects, more nationalistic position-taking, and “strong government” – as President Vladimir Putin flexes into his new, six-year term of office.

SCENE-SETTING IN MOSCOW

russia-flag.jpgSetting the tone, the parliament, dominated by his United Russia party, put through a law signed by the President on Friday, 28.12.12, to outlaw adoption of Russian babies by American families.

Dozens of children were immediately affected; the United States government said it “regretted” the move.

putin-tv1.jpgMr Putin (picture) was elected to office in May 2012; he had stepped down for a term as Prime Minister, for a statutory break, after earlier serving two presidential terms, 2000-08.

HUMAN RIGHTS

His new law on adoptions is widely seen as retaliation against the so-called Magniysky law in America, sanctioning Russian officials over the death in prison of the Sergei Magnitsky in 2009; another point of irritation between the two governments over human rights.

The issue of the adoptions, like many aspects of public life in Russia, is redolent of Soviet era campaigns to establish an autarky, national pride, and great power status. That might provoke nostalgia in a former Soviet intelligence officer like Mr Putin, but at the time was a tall order for a modest-sized economy. It was once famously imputed to the German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt (1974-82), that he saw himself engaging a “third world state with missiles”.

DEALING WITH EUROPE

Memory of the Cold War confrontations with the West was stirred up by Russian sensitivity over NATO anti-missile batteries being installed in Eastern Europe. Described by the alliance as a guard against potential attack from Iran, the weapons remain a sticking-point in relations, touching delicate nerves over loss of empire and the protective buffer of the former satellite states.

Economic relations with Europe have focused on the reliability of energy supplies for Winter, and global oil prices having large impacts on the Russian economy. In 2012 the country was again afflicted by extreme hot weather bringing drought, fires and human distress; over 200 were believed to have died during the last heat wave in the latter part of 2012, as conditions also brought down wheat production – recalling disastrous losses from the drought in 2010.

moscow-crash.jpgAnother trial at year’s end was the aircraft accident on Saturday, in which a Red Wings plane on landing crashed into a Moscow motorway. Five of the eight crew members were killed. The TU-204 jet had been returning without passengers from Prague. Early indications were that the aircraft may have suffered a technical or mechanical failure, though its owners said it had been through recent thorough maintenance.

anna-politkovskaya22.jpgThe end of 2012 also saw a fresh reminder of the tension over human rights, with the sentencing of  Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, a former police officer, to eleven years imprisonment for his part in the murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya (picture), in 2006.

As with Sergei Magnitsky, members of the victims family, and rights groups said not enough had come out about the controversial case. “Master minds” behind the shooting death of Ms Politkovskaya in her Moscow apartment building had not been brought to justice. See also EUAustralia Online, “Charges laid against Politkovskaya accused”, 8.6.11.

OTHER MAJOR PLAYERS

china-flag.jpgWestern economic monitors on China saw the economic super power preparing to extend its budget deficit in 2013, by as much as 50%.

That would be the equivalent of US$192-billion (A$184.8-billion; xe.com. 31.12.12), resulting from extended borrowing to fund local authorities, and a fall in revenue due to slowing down of growth. It would still not exceed  an estimated 2.2% of Gross Domestic Product, with 8% trade expansion and 10% growth in industrial production still likely.

Substantial allocations in recent years have continued for environmental protection, such as extensive growth in the use of renewable energy, and for the armed forces. Various outside estimates of the Chinese military build-up see allocations moving up steadily from up to 2.3% of GDP a decade ago, though still catching up with the GDP commitments of Russia, the United Kingdom or the United States.

india-flag.jpgIndia at the turn of the year was distracted by the destructive social issue of the abuse of women.

At the centre of the controversy of the last month, the medical student raped on a bus in New Delhi, on 16.12.12, died on the weekend, the event provoking large and peaceful demonstrations throughout the country, for better laws and cleaner attitudes. The young woman, 23, was attacked by six men, bludgeoned with an iron bar and thrown out of the moving vehicle.

The leader of a women’s protest told BBC radio: “The capital city is not safe for women. She had been to the cinema, it was not particularly late, she was on public transport, she had a male companion, they both had mobile phones. Short of locking up our daughters, what can we tell them?”

Reference

The Australian, Sydney, AFP, “US ‘deeply regrets’ signing of Russia adoption law”, 29.12.12. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/us-deeply-regrets-signing-of-russia-adoption-law/story-fn3dxix6-1226544874212, (31.12.12).

Bloomberg News, NY, “China Budget Gap Said Set to Widen 50% to $192 Billion”, 27.12.12. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-27/china-2013-budget-deficit-said-to-increase-50-to-192-billion.html, (31.12.12).

The Independent, London, “Murdered Russian journalist’s son seeks ‘open trial’ of former policeman”, 12.12.12. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/murdered-russian-journalists-son-seeks-open-trial-of-former-policeman-8411983.html, (31.12.12).

Nasdaq / Dow Jones Business News, NY, “China 2013 Budget Deficit to Widen Significantly – Report”, 27.12.12. http://www.nasdaq.com/article/china-2013-budget-deficit-to-widen-significantly—report-20121227-00029#.UOESKaz9J0I, (31.12.12).

RIA / Novosti, Moscow, “Amnesty International Hails Verdict to Politkovskaya Killer”, 14.12.12. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20121214/178165056.html, (31.12.12).

Pictures  Russiaimages.org, wikipedia

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