India, China, And Russian Sanctions: Western Bullying And Propaganda

Russian ExportsAndHypocrisy

Posted: Apr 22, 2022   11:46:59 AM   |   Last updated: Apr 22, 2022   1:11:07 PM

by Pascal-Denis Lussier

Exporting Duplicity, Importing Pretense, Sanctioning Sovereignty

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Propaganda isn't Just a Russian Thing

Those of a certain age will recall a time when, before Islamists were featured as the all-around general baddies in any film, TV show, or pulp novel—that period after the fall of the Soviet Union and another foe had to be sold to Westerners—it was nearly impossible to watch anything that involved some 'bad guy' or evil entity without that person or organization being Russian or with direct Russian ties and/or funding.

There's been a growing resurgence of this trend in a marked way in the last 15 years, one that seeks to paint Russians along the same lines that all are now expected to unquestionably see Putin; should there be any disagreement, it's on the level of insanity that rots Putin's brain, and that's it. Otherwise, one is, at the very least, a Putin lover if not a dirty traitor.

Two of the better examples that serve up the type of Russians we're to assume are representative of the oligarch mentality or that of their immediate friends, the kind of individuals that lie behind the Kremlin, controlling every aspect of the country in between running their crime organizations and raping their fellow countrymen, are Nobody, with Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and The Equalizer, with Denzel Washington. Colin Farrell's role in The Way Back, serves up another stereotype-reinforcing image of the 'savage Russian.' 

These films feature the most ruthless of tattoo-covered gangsters, prioritizing violence over sunshine, treating humans like disposal diapers, and, in the case of the first two, having more cash than the earth has oxygen, an easier access to a well-armed militia of criminal thugs than any handicapped person has to a public washroom, and running a cruel syndicate that's more far-reaching than a marathoner completing an ultra-marathon.

Given the images of Russians Westerners are continually pummeled with and the vestiges of the previous Cold War, it’s no wonder that all it takes is the media telling us—despite counterclaims and decent doubt to be had over several aspects—that the Russian troops are responsible for the most evil of deeds, and that Putin is the son of Satan and Lucifer, for the majority to feel that grabbing a pitchfork and lighting torches and heading east to crucify all of Russia is amply justified… except the regular Russian folks; there’s no reason to hate on them, except, well, they are Russian, after all, and all of them may be too brainwashed to function in a free Capitalist society. I mean, do these people even know what non-propaganda looks and sounds like, and would they be able to speak freely without years of rehab and deprogramming?

If ever one needed proof that Westerners need no proof—seems contradictory but it isn't—to readily buy into any narrative wherein Putin is the malicious and merciless baddie that melts rainbows and ravishes unicorns before sucking the juice out of their horn, then look no further than the Magnitsky Act. All it took is for one wealthy Westerner to point out that a man had died while in jail, and for him to point the finger at Putin, for Western powers to turn that into a justification to apply virtually any sanctions it wanted under the guise of Human Rights. And all it took for the public to lap it all up without any hard proof—I've come across more that raises real doubts about the Sergei Magnitsky narrative we're told—is to have the same media that most say they don't trust to simply repeat the same Western-beneficial story that paints a billionaire as a near-angel who's, obviously, a victim of a nasty and corrupt villain named Putin.

I'll provide more info on the Bill Browder and Sergei Magnitsky affair in the next post, but, as far as I'm concerned, that whole Human Rights Act is hogwash cooked up during the Obama years that's now exploited in all sorts of ways, and it stands more as proof that what we're seeing in Ukraine and with Putin is part of a neoliberal plan that's long been in the works. 

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If one is sensitive to such things, one will surely have noticed a clear bias in the language used concerning all that surrounds Ukraine. 

The West is "seizing" Russian-owned goods and properties, while Russia is "stealing" Western-owned goods and property. An example is the 15-Mar-2022 Fortune headline, "Russia sets plan to steal $10 billion worth of foreign planes held in the country."

The West "requests" or "demands" things from Russia, while Russia invariably "threatens" and "issues warnings". 

Europe is "reluctant to shun" or "to shy away" from Russian imports as they are "currently dependent on" Russia, while India and China "refuse to ban" or "continue to support" Russia. To justify Europe's behaviour the term "carve out" is used, which justifies sanctions, or aspects of them, being overlooked based on meeting basic humanitarian needs, whereas for countries like India and China, words like "opportunists" and "building closer ties" are usually used to refer to similar situations despite their import level from Russia being, in most cases, significantly lower.

Countries buying arms from the US or EU nations are "investing" in defense equipment; countries buying arms from Russia are "acquiring weapons."

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The sanctions against Russia aren't punitive; they're presented as such. They're geared to crush Russia, not to stop the war; this is an aspect that Biden himself has admitted on 3-Mar-2022. That sanctions wouldn't deter or stop Putin's resolve was voiced by DMS&UY and other pundits, journalists, analysts, and strategists who were willing to offer an accurate, non-emotive and non-Western-serving view of events, doing so at the risk of being spurned by all of the West.

Further, those belonging to that group were quick to point out—though doing so carefully and with some hesitation given the backlash this guaranteed—that what seemed more likely than Putin being a complete madman seeking to reestablish the USSR, is a misaligned conflict in the East, and US-led meddling with the hopes of creating precisely what happened in order to officially stamp Putin a global danger, hence assuring, through a proxy war that wouldn't involve American lives and which would be a great boom to the weapons industry, that the Capitalist West could crush Russia's economy, maintain the failing USD as the leading currency, and retain its otherwise crumbling US hegemony.

The one key event that—having to look back just a few months ago—managed to convinced me that Putin was waging a preemptive war in Ukraine, albeit an illegal act of aggression, is what happened in Kazakhstan; it seems clear to me that Putin wanted to get rid of the Western-imposed and influenced elements that could—due to all that Obama had put in place—very easily take over control of the uranium and other rare earth minerals industries in the blink of an eye. Russia was merely assuring its survival by 1. making sure a pro-Russian government was in place; 2. giving legitimacy to said government.

Keep in mind: To understand isn't to condone.

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Despite headlines such as, "Stunning images of food shortage in Russian grocery stores," and claims that, "Western sanctions have made everyday life in Russia almost unbearable," and that "Russians are fighting over food," all economic indicators demonstrate something not even close to being as drastic as the likes of what CNN, CNBC, NYT and other corpo-medias are telling us. Honest reports tell us that Russia is "weathering" the sanctions without severe issues at the moment, though it's economy is expected to shrink by 15% in the coming year; direct feedback from Russians also provides quite a different impression than the one being served up by Western media. Here are excerpts from a piece on the matter:

With regard to the sanctions, thousands of people who worked for western companies or relied on western clients for their income have been hurt. However, there is currently no shortage of food or other essential items and no panic. But prices for food have gone up, along with imported goods. Among many, there is a sense that only the top 20% of Russians will be significantly affected — those who travel overseas, have assets abroad, and buy imported luxury items.

[...]

“As for the sanctions, things are calm, everyone is making the adjustments necessary. Of significance, at this point, they are mostly technical, moving to Telegram, using Mir cards instead of GooglePay, getting off Facebook because of Meta deciding to adjust their moderator criteria.. Helpful information is rapidly exchanged such as getting a Chinese Union Pay card that is accepted in 171 countries. Three weeks in and costs are going up but shelves are full. This is nothing like what happened in the 90s, this is a different country.”

Source: Feedback From My Contacts In Russia | by Natylie Baldwin | Mar, 2022 | Medium

And again: Should one bother with all the details: the Magnitsky Act is just one more solid nail hammered in to seal a US-led globalization plan. 

The "world" is being sold a lie. And, unfortunately, Putin walked right into it. That's been my stance from the get-go, and nothing I've yet come across has managed to convince me otherwise, and it'll take more than empty pressure from Westerners and their empty corpo-media. 

I'm wrong; I'm a traitor. The whole world is seeing exactly what the US, UK, and other Western mainstream media outlets are saying... Really? Keep in mind that: 

  • 30 countries have sanctioned Russia, which represents 15% of the world’s population;
  • 93 countries voted to boot Russia out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which represents 48% of all countries.

I stopped buying into the Establishment, hegemonic-obsessed, power-hungry lies long ago. How come you haven't, is my question?

Nonetheless, the devastation in Ukraine is real, just as it is in Yemen and... Blindly cheering for Ukraine won't make this type of thing cease.


India, the Target of Propaganda

In a 15-Mar-2022 France 24 segment titled “War in Ukraine: India firmly on Putin’s side despite international pressure,” Navodita Kumari, a New Delhi correspondent for the channel, states, “In India people have been blindly following this.” She’s referring to, as he explains it, 'Putin and Modi’s powerful authoritarianism that pleases many Indians.' The entire segment is focused on painting a negative view of India, never mentioning the country’s long-held non-alignment position.

Betraying how France 24 is playing a clear propaganda game against India, in the hopes of riling public indignation and pressure on the Modi government to adhere to the Western stance and approach on the matter, Kumari, despite the title, she opens the segment saying that, “From the government side, India has made clear from the beginning of the invasion, um, February 24th, India has taken a firm—India has not so far taken a firm stand against the Russian invasion...”

In this case, I really don’t think that the misleading title meant to be clickbait; France 24 knows full well, I’m certain, how public perception is in great part shaped solely through headlines. This was crafted as a deception, pure and simple, I believe, in the hopes of producing the aforementioned effect, while making sure to cover their behind with a version of the truth within the segment, which the reporter, Kumari, goofed, but immediately corrected, operating under the false conclusion she's expected to serve—unless one bends to the US, one is against the US.  

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Business Insider offered these summary lines to 

  • Several countries have cut energy ties with Russia, while others are snapping up cheap supplies. 
  • The US, UK, and some EU countries have all taken action. 
  • India and China, however, continue to maintain their oil and gas trade with Russia.

Reuters also added to the pressure-creating impression all are supposed to have of India when it reported that since "Russia's invasion of Ukraine, India had bought at least 13 million barrels of Russian oil. It's not stopping at cheap oil, however. Russian coal remains on India's radar."

Yet, India buys less oil from Russia than the EU buys in one day, according to Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India's Minister of Foreign Affairs.  

Russia receives roughly $1 billion per day from the sale of coal, gas, and other goods to European countries.

Further, what all Western outlets have made very litle to no mention of are all the other countries that have solidified or maintained their fossil fuel deals with Russia, the UAE presenting such a case

Some of the Common Headlines on the Topic

  • "India supports Russia against US stand over Ukraine crisis during discussion in UN Security Council"
  • "Russia - India Oil Deal"
  • "'...When History Books are Written': US On India Buying Cheaper Russia Oil"
  • "Did a multi-billion dollar arms deal buy India's silence?"
  • "War in Ukraine; India firmly on Putin's side despite international pressure"
  • "IISS's James Crabtree on India's reluctance to distance itself from Russia after Ukraine invasion"
  • "Why is India so reluctant to criticize Russia?"
  • "Is a trade alliance likely between Russia and India?"

Headlines - India Stands with Russia

Click to view larger version

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US LNG growth

The US stands to lose nothing, and to gain far too much.

A few weeks ago (26-Mar-2022), German-based Deutsche Welle told us how “the US has agreed to rapidly boost shipments of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to the European Union this year, as part of efforts to wean the block off Russian fuel. […] The US will offer an additional 15 billion cubic meters of LNG in 2022.” In 2021, the US supplied 38 billion cubic meters of LNG to the EU.

Yesterday, 19-Apr-2022, Deutsche Welle announced that Lithuania has now officially cut off all of its fuel imports from Russia, claiming natural-gas independence—by getting all its gas from other countries, just not Russia—as it will now rely solely on LNG which is to be transferred through an off-shore platform, converted into its natural gas state and pumped to the mainland. This shift comes after the completion of the off-shore terminal and conduits, which took a little less than three years to build at a cost of USD$128 million.

The news had first appeared in Western media in a 4-Apr-2022 Bloomberg article which stated that "Lithuanian companies cut their gas flows via Russian pipelines to zero over the weekend, without the need for a ban from the government," also pointing out that "Lithuania has become the first member of the European Union to end its dependence on natural gas from Russia, the bloc’s biggest supplier of the fuel, according [to Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys ]" 

The US stands to...


Reliance on Russian Fossil Fuels in OECD and EU Countries

(2020 Data incomplete; includes: Jan -Mar)

Reliance on Russian Fossil Fuels

More details and tables available here:  DATA TABLES | Sanctions Vs. Reliance On Russian Exports And Markets - All Resources » DMS&UY (downmystreetandupyours.org)


The Export/Import Reality - US Trade with Russia

It is estimated that Russia contains more than 30% of the natural resources in the world which are among the top export products in the world. The World Bank estimates that the total value of natural resources in Russia accounts for $75 trillion.

That said, it's clear that without sacrifices being made around the globe, the full sanctions being imposed by the US, which it expects all other countries to abide to should they wish to remain on the US' good side and not be considered a foe, cannot easily be respected, especially not by poorer and developing countries.

A great deal of weight is being placed on oil and natural gas, why? This ties back to the petrodollar. And unlike most countries, and although it did import a relatively significant amount of its fossil fuels from Russia in previous years, the US can easily make do without it. This is also why the US didn't hesitate one bit to boot Russia out of the SWIFT payment system—all's about the USD.

From the looks of things, not only is the US greatly dependent on China, it also relies heavily on Russian goods, as well as being dependent on Russian enriched uranium for 16% of its nuclear reactor needs.

Further, as is well established: The US is now almost entirely a service economy, and one whose wealth is built on 'synthetic & abstract' goods without real value, i.e. stocks and fund investments.The following, from the report provided below, is clear proof of that: 

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Russia was $16.5 billion in 2019, a 16.1% increase ($2.3 billion) over 2018.
  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $3.4 billion with Russia in 2019, up 6.3% from 2018.

With much of the US entertainment industry and the majority of Big Tech platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, etc.) either banning their products in Russia or imposing strict restrictions on their Russian offerings, Russians are now simply not spending on those products and services or are moving towards non-Western options.

A further testament to the above and to the bullying attitude embraced by the US and UK are the effects of the Ukraine war, which is "disrupting the global supply chain and creating massive inflation around the globe" when compared to the effects felt by the Iraq war, which still remains, numbers-wise, far more egregious and less justified (if one delved into all the correct background info that explains the 8-year+ war in Ukraine—the invasion isn't when the fighting officially started).

Why? Sure, in part because certain productions have been halted in Ukraine, but not everything relies on Ukraine... it's because of the already-fragile global situation following COVID, and the harm and delays being caused through the sanctions imposed by the West.

Top 20 Russian Exports (in order)
1. Crude petroleum 11. Nickel
2. Refined petroleum 12. Nitrogenous Fertilizers
3. Natural gas 13. Potassic Fertilizers
4. Coal 14. Sawn Wood
5. Semi-Finished Iron 15. Hot-Rolled Iron
6. Aluminium 16. Copper wire
7. Wheat 17. Synthetic rubber
8. Gold 18. Iron ore
9. Diamonds 19. Radioactive Chemicals
10. Mixed Mineral or Chemical Fertilizers  20. Refined Copper

US Trade Report

The latest report from the US Trade department tells us that (this is the 2020 report; albeit available for every year prior to 2020 (archives must be accessed for available years prior to those offered on the ustr.gov site), nor is a report for 2021 yet available, and no partial data for 2022 can be easily discerned):

Exports

  • Russia was the United States' 40th largest goods export market in 2019.
  • U.S. goods exports to Russia in 2018 were $5.8 billion, down 13.1% ($874 million) from 2018 but up 8.5% from 2009.. 
  • The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: machinery ($1.2 billion), aircraft ($1.2 billion), vehicles ($725 million), optical and medical instruments ($506 million), and electrical machinery ($349 million). 
  • U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Russia totaled $193 million in 2019. Leading domestic export categories include: prepared food ($42 million), planting seeds ($20 million), tobacco ($15 million), feeds & fodders not elsewhere specified or indicated ($11 million), and live animals ($9 million). 
  • U.S. exports of services to Russia were an estimated $5.1 billion in 2019, 4.8% ($237 million) more than 2018, and 7.7% greater than 2009 levels. Leading services exports from the U.S. to Russia were in the financial services, travel, and intellectual property (trademarks) sectors.

Imports

  • Russia was the United States' 20th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
  • U.S. goods imports from Russia totaled $22.3 billion in 2019, up 6.8% ($1.4 billion) from 2018, and up 22.3% from 2009.
  • The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2019 were: mineral fuels ($13 billion), precious metal and stone (platinum) ($2.2 billion), iron and steel ($1.4 billion), fertilizers ($963 million), and inorganic chemicals ($763 million).
  • U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Russia totaled $69 million in 2019. Leading categories include: snack foods ($8 million), tree nuts ($6 million), other vegetable oils ($3 million), essential oils ($3 million), and other dairy products ($2 million).
  • U.S. imports of services from Russia were an estimated $1.8 billion in 2019, 2.2% ($38 million) more than 2018, and 50.6% less than 2009 levels. Leading services imports from Russia to the U.S. were in the transportation, travel, and financial services sectors.

Trade Balance

  • The U.S. goods trade deficit with Russia was $16.5 billion in 2019, a 16.1% increase ($2.3 billion) over 2018.
  • The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $3.4 billion with Russia in 2019, up 6.3% from 2018.

Investment

  • U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Russia (stock) was $14.4 billion in 2019, a 2.6% increase from 2018. U.S. direct investment in Russia is led by manufacturing, wholesale trade, and information services.
  • Russia's FDI in the United States (stock) was $4.4 billion in 2019, down 1.9% from 2018. There is no information on the distribution of Russia FDI in the U.S.
  • Sales of services in Russia by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $9.7 billion in 2017 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Russia-owned firms were $629 million.

Taken from: Executive Office of the President | Russia | United States Trade Representative | (ustr.gov)


Something Fishy?

US reliance on Russian goods is far too important, as can be seen by the partial list included, which implies a shift toward other resources, other sources (countries), or developing those industries within the country—which would take several months to several years—to break away from Russian imports in the manner that the US promotes in order to comply with its sanctions. This is true for the US as well, so why is it pressuring other countries to comply lest it should be branded a Putin supporter?

Generally, the US has been willing to look the other way except for those countries that may prove to be a global challenge (i.e., India and China, as well as a few others, for strategic purposes, like Turkey) and especially for any goods that may move any country away from the petrodollar or USD.

Top US Imports from Russia Value Year
Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products $18.12B 2021
Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins $2.98B 2021
Iron and steel $2.77B 2021
Fertilizers $1.28B 2021
Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatics invertebrates $1.21B 2021
Inorganic chemicals, precious metal compound, isotope $883.70M 2021
Aluminum $657.41M 2021
Wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal $528.02M 2021
Machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers $254.92M 2021
Base metals not specified elsewhere, cermets. $217.08M 2021
Rubbers $187.95M 2021
Arms and ammunition, parts and accessories $182.82M 2021
Nickel $158.72M 2021
Articles of iron or steel $149.40M 2021
Commodities not specified according to kind $132.86M 2021
Electrical, electronic equipment $131.59M 2021
Copper $101.78M 2021
Lead $92.82M 2021

One example of the US refusing to adhere to its own rules—because, unlike oil and natural gas, it can't simply do away with these imports without cutting into its businesses at home—involves the fishing industry. Cod and Alaskan pollock are two fish that show up in almost everything that includes processed fish

Among Russia’s biggest seafood exports is Alaska pollock. A cousin of cod, Alaska pollock is the most harvested fish in the U.S., showing up in everything from imitation crabmeat to McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish. Every year, giant, floating factories in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska catch 1.5 million metric tons of the fish, the equivalent of more than four times the weight of the Empire State Building.

But the same species is also harvested in Russia in similar amounts, and once processed and imported from China, fills an important gap in the U.S. market. In lieu of tracing the country of origin, U.S. producers rely on the name recognition of Alaska pollock to signal where the fish was caught.

Source: Seafood biz braces for losses of jobs, fish due to sanctions | AP News

   

According to census data, Russia exported more than 28 million pounds (12.7 million kilograms) of cod to the US from 1-Jan-2020 to 31-Jan-2022.

So, despite a significant amount of Alaskan pollock actually originating from Russian 'fish farms', since the species carries the name "Alaskan" and makes it to the country by way of China, no one is willing to impose within the US what the US expects others to impose on its industries and people...

Alaska-Pollock from Russia


Sources

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