In another sign that the United States is rapidly drifting into “Third World” status as a major world debtor nation, Russia has announced that it has paid off its $31.1 billion debt to foreign countries incurred during Soviet times. Russia paid off its debt largely as a result of the increase in the price of oil — a major Russian export. Not only has the ruble been made fully convertible but Russia is now attracting major investments and its bond rating has improved.
Russia’s economic turnaround has also increased its clout at the expense of Bush’s neo-con strategists. Russia has forgiven about two thirds of Syria’s $13 billion debt and has initiated port development schemes in the ports of Tartus and Latakia, old Soviet naval bases. Russia’s strong financial and military support for Syria checked neo-con plans to militarily attack Syria.
The paying off of Russia’s debt to Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, France and other Paris Club creditor nations has also increased Moscow’s financial and political clout in Europe at the expense of Washington’s. Russia is to offer Eurobonds to commercial creditors in lieu of payment in U.S. dollars. Moscow’s central bank reserves, estimated at $277 billion, are the world’s third largest, ranked after those of Japan and China. On the other hand, the two Asian economic giants are America’s two largest creditor nations.
Russia’s economic clean bill of health would not have been possible had not President Vladimir Putin not declared war on Russia’s criminal oligarch’s, many of whom have fled to Israel and who reside in that country with guarantees from extradition back to Russia to stand trial. However, in 2005 Russia did jail for nine years Yukos oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky — a dual Russian-Israeli citizen. Not surprisingly, George W. Bush, acting on behalf of Israeli criminal interests and neo-con advisers, led largely by Bush’s favorite author, Israeli former Soviet “refusenik” Natan Sharansky, demanded that Putin free Khodorkosvky. Putin ignored Bush’s plea.
Russia can now afford to thumb its nose at Bush and his neo-con cabal. From Iran to Syria, Lebanon to Palestine, and Venezuela to Central Asia, Russia is flexing its political and economic muscles and the neo-cons are finding their moves checked at every turn by a Russian government that long ago declared war on the neo-cons and their Russian criminal facilitators.