Russia: We Can Build It


p> March 21, 2007:  Some of the 2,000 Russian technicians helping to build Irans first nuclear power plant, have started leaving. There is a dispute over late payments for work done. The Iranians deny this. The power plant is 95 percent complete, but eight years behind schedule. Russia has refused to deliver the nuclear fuel until the Iranians come up with the money. Iran believes the Russians are giving in to UN and American demands that the power plant not be built. This is considered part of a campaign to derail Irans nuclear weapons program. 


March 20, 2007:  The Russian weapons industries are coming back to life, having received $30 billion in orders last year. Russia is also trying to become the worlds biggest exporter of weapons. Revised data indicates Russia shipped $8 billion worth last year, about two thirds as much as the United States.


March 19, 2007:  The Russian economy is growing, at over eight percent a year,  nearly as fast as the Chinese. It's not just Russian oil exports, but all aspects of the economy, including manufacturing and agriculture.


March 18, 2007:  China and Russia are trying to form a commercial aircraft building consortium to rival Airbus and Boeing. Large passenger and freight aircraft are a booming business (over $100 billion a year). China and Russia would have to invest at least $20 billion to make a go of it, and be willing to swallow even more in losses before possibly making  a profit.


March 13, 2007:  The government says that is counter-terrorism efforts detected and prevented over 300 terrorist attacks in the last year. No details were provided. But there has been a sharp decrease in the number of terrorist attacks inside of Russia over the last few years.


March 11, 2007:  About twenty Russian journalists have died under mysterious circumstances in the last eight years. Many are believed to have been killed by gangsters or businessmen who felt offended or threatened by published material. But some of the deaths are believed  to have been ordered by government officials. Whatever the case, it's clear that reporters have to be careful who they diss in print. In Russia, the response is often a threat, not a letter to the editor. The journalists protest, but they don't get a lot of public support.