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Wednesday, April 27

How to pack a reviewing stand with fawning foreign dignitaries during your nation's Victory Day celebration

Well. Pundita wrote just a few days ago that this would be a week during which much is decided and little is announced unless Putin dropped a bombshell in his annual address to the nation. He dropped the bomb. No wonder he was philosophical about Secretary Rice's unpleasant remarks. He knew what he was going to say on Monday:
"Capital gathered by Russian citizens should work for the country. To achieve that target, we must ensure that a 13 percent income tax is paid on that money, and that the money is kept in Russian banks."
Of course he didn't add, 'This also means that at any second, Gazprom can choose to bank all their oil revenue in Russia.' But he didn't need to spell it out, to get across his message to banking executives outside Russia and their buddies in the State Department, the British foreign office and Brussels.

Pundita did warn, but Foggy Bottom turned a deaf ear. Now just see where this has led. To review:
December 30, 2004 Pundita post
A timely reminder about the IMF-Ukraine Central Bank scandal
The IMF-Ukraine affair is a sobering reminder of the connection between the FSU oligarchs and the West European banks. The Ukraine Central Bank's scheme to embezzle the IMF depended on laundering funds through European banks. That's a tactic the oligarchs perfected while carving up the Soviet Union's government-controlled industries. The tactic underscores that the oligarchs' mind-boggling wealth can't be separated from banks outside the USSR regions.

When the electronic transfers get into the billions, the deposits the banks hold onto, if even only for a few hours or days, help them underwrite lots of business loans and make big investments in the financial markets, which oils the wheels of commerce.

So there is a house-of-cards situation looming for West Europe, if the Russian government continues to wrest back control of the major industries that the oligarchs took off the Soviet government's hands. This would be provided Moscow uses control of the profits to build up Russia's bank reserves.

January 5, 2005 Pundita post
Watch out for spattering plot goo
...Pundita sticks with her thesis that any plan to hem in Russia originated on the other side of the Pond. However, this is a high stakes poker game. What would happen to the banking systems in West Europe, if the oligarchs pulled out their rainy day money and put it in local banks?

Of course not all the banks the oligarchs use are European owned; come to think of it, many of them are branches of American banks. Oh but that's right I forgot--the really big number crunching computers are owned by OPEC, BIS, and NASA. So maybe the State Department and their European counterparts overlooked a few details when they sat down to play poker with the Kremlin.

As to how long it would take for heads of state to speed-dial Putin after the first wave of electronic transfers got underway--about 12 mintues. 11-1/2 minutes to pray and the other half to lower their voices below the pitch of castrato.

Moscow holds so many high cards in this situation that this is why Pundita suspects our State Department didn't have a clear idea about what they were meddling with. The EU3 did know the score; they knew that any plan to isolate Russia was a bluff. The bluff was so dangerous that it would take the threat of force of arms to even come to the poker table. That's why the EU3 and their satellites needed the USA involved in the game.

Earth calling State Department: countries on the other side of the Atlantic have been machinating against each other for thousands of years. Their lack of perspective about each other is matched only by their knack for cooking up plots that explode or collapse from sheer complexity.
Pundita is tuckered out from pacing the rug and hopping from one foot to the other in her impatience to hear of the verdict on Khordokovsky, so I will end here with the promise to have more about the Putin speech--either late this evening or tomorrow.
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