Putin’s Censored Press Conference: The Transcript You Weren’t Supposed to See

By Mike Whitney

06/10/07 “ICH” — – On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an hour and a half-long press conference which was attended by many members of the world media. The contents of that meeting—in which Putin answered all questions concerning nuclear proliferation, human rights, Kosovo, democracy and the present confrontation with the United States over missile defense in Europe—have been completely censored by the press. Apart from one brief excerpt which appeared in a Washington Post editorial, (and which was used to criticize Putin) the press conference has been scrubbed from the public record. It never happened…

Two actions in particular have changed the Russian-US relationship from tepid to openly hostile. The first was when Putin announced that Russia’s four largest oil fields would not be open to foreign development. (Russia has been consolidating its oil wealth under state-run Gazprom) And, second, when the Russian Treasury began to convert Russia’s dollar reserves into gold and rubles. Both of these are regarded as high-crimes by US corporate chieftains and western elites. Their response was swift.

John Edwards and Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task force which concocted the basic pretext for an all-out assault on the Putin. This is where the idea that Putin is “rolling back democracy” began; it’s a feeble excuse for political antagonism. In their article “Russia’s Wrong Direction”, Edwards and Kemp state that a “strategic partnership” with Russia is no longer possible. They note that the government has become increasingly “authoritarian” and that the society is growing less “open and pluralistic”. Blah, blah, blah. No one in the Washington really cares about democracy. (Just look at our “good friends” in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan) What they’re afraid of is Putin ditching the dollar and controlling his own oil. That’s what counts. Bush also wants Putin to support sanctions against Iran and rubber stamp a Security Council resolution to separate Kosovo form Serbia. (Since when does the UN have the right to redraw national borders? Was the creation of Israel such a stunning success that the Security Council wants to try its luck again?)…

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