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Weekly “Argumenty i Fakty” No. 25. The tariff drives the wave 22/06/2022
210 years ago, on the night of 23 on 24 June , 1812 g., the Great ArmyNapoleon Bonaparte began crossing the border river Neman. Another round of confrontation «Europe — Russia» switched to "hot" phase.
This epoch-making event was preceded by a minor incident, about which told in his memoirsMarquis Armand de Caulaincourt. During a reconnaissance on the banks of the Neman, Napoleon launched his horse into a gallop, and the horse, frightened by a hare that fluttered from under her feet, jumped sideways: “The emperor, who rode very badly, fell to the ground. I then thought it was a bad omen».
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However, already on the fourth day of the campaign, Napoleon entered Vilna — impressive pace. Some of Bonaparte's Old Guard boasted that August 15, the emperor's birthday, they would celebrate in Petersburg. Napoleon saw the purpose of the war in to withdraw Russia from the conditional club of great powers, and ideally to expel completely from "the civilized world". Here are his words spoken in Vilna: “I have come to put an end to the colossus of northern barbarians once and for all. We must throw them into their ice so that they don interfere in the affairs of civilized Europe. The Baltic Sea should be closed to them. If the Russian tsar needs victories, let him beat the Persians, but let not interfere in the affairs of Europe».
Almost everyone believed in Napoleon's ability to carry out his plan. Countess Anna Potockawrote: “Taking into account the number of nations that followed under the French banners, the most skeptical minds could not doubt the success.” Over the course of five years, Bonaparte, under the slogans of “granting civil rights and freedoms to the peoples” where by diplomacy, and where by armed violence he creates a grandiose pan-European construction of Pax Napoleonica. She does not seem to threaten Russia — in 1807 emperors Napoleon and Alexandersigned the Peace of Tilsit. However, this structure is constantly expanding to the east. In 1807 the Grand Duchy of Warsaw is created on the Russian border, completely dependent on Napoleon. In 1809 a similar fate awaits Austria, which is also sealed by the marriage of Napoleon with Maria-Louise of Austria. Well and in February 1812 Prussia fell into dependence.
Alexander I I didn't believe in unctuous songs about the absence of a threat for a second. And & nbsp; managed to properly use the time allotted to him by fate. First of all, he secured the empire from the flanks. In 1809 following the results of the war with Sweden, Russia received Finland — thus, the border was seriously pushed back, and the forces that once “stand against the Swede” were freed up for active participation in the upcoming campaign. In south by May 1812 g. urgently brought to an end the war with Turkey, which lasted from 1806 g., received Bessarabia and the released armies. On both flanks were the main characters of the future Patriotic War. South — Mikhail Kutuzov, in the north —Mikhail Barclay de Tolly and Alexey Arakcheev.
This is where the pattern breaks. After all, everyone knows that Barclay de Tolly was lack of initiative and, as they say, “leaked” Napoleon throughout the first period of the war. And after the surrender of Smolensk, some wits changed his name — they say, “Chatting, yes” and “only”. And the name of Arakcheev is associated exclusively with the cruelty of military settlements and senseless drill. In a word — “Arakcheevshchina”.
In fact, the work of this tandem has become the key to Russia's future victory. According to the Chinese thinker Sun Tzu, who is considered an ace of military strategy, “The very best”— not to break the army, but the plans of the enemy. A tool without which it is impossible to break plans, — intelligence and counterintelligence. To make the work of intelligence systemic, to create an apparatus that accumulates and analyzes information, — this is the merit of Barclay de Tolly. In January 1810 he took up the post of Minister of War. And almost immediately the Expedition of Secret Affairs under the War Ministry started working. The structure was engaged not only in the processing of information, but also in undercover work. In the western border region, over which the fruits of “peaceful European initiatives” hung, a large-scale agent network was created. Marquis Caulaincourtrecalled that Napoleon, at the entrance to Vilna, met not a joyful crowd of townspeople, but a few Jews and a few people from the common people. It is possible that among these Jews there were those who responded to the call of their spiritual leader — Rebbe Shneur Zalman bar-Borukh,founder of the Chabad Hasidic movement: “We” did not feel the oppression that in other kingdoms, even in France itself, it happened. We we were not only protected by law along with natural Russians, but and were admitted to rights and ranks, enjoyed honors and the free practice of our faith and rites even in the most reigning city of St. Petersburg! So be zealous & nbsp; serve the Russian military commanders with all your might!
In the first period of the war, Barclay managed to put into action the plan that he had been hatching for a long time. Back in 1807 g. Barclay outlined the outlines of the coming war: “In the event of Napoleon's invasion of Russia should, by a skillful retreat, force the enemy to move away from the operational base, tire him with small enterprises and lure him inland, and then with saved troops and with the help of climate to prepare for him, at least for Moscow, a new Poltava. In 1810 Barclay issued everything in the form of a note “On” the protection of the western borders of Russia, addressed to the emperor. And in the summer of 1812 g. urgently needed to put this plan into action. That is, to withdraw the scattered Russian armies from the blow of Napoleon, to unite them, and retreat. Without the information that came to Barclay from agents, it was impossible to do this.
And then Alexey Arakcheev comes forward. A good commander fights not with a shout of “Hurrah”, but with a shovel, porridge and a short fur coat. “General Frost”, as well as “Lieutenant Rasputitsa”, in the & nbsp; campaign of 1812 & nbsp; they beat not only the French, but and Russians. The stake on a well-organized retreat and the climate could not work if at the head of the supply of the entire Russian army was Arakcheev, to hands not stuck a penny of government money.
By and large, Napoleon, who captured Vilna and discussed "northern barbarians", had already lost by “I see only one — masses of enemy troops, — Bonaparte said. — I try to destroy them, being sure that everything else will collapse along with them». Barclay, Arakcheev and Alexander I agreed with him. And, strictly adhering to the course of preserving the Russian army, they led the greatest conqueror like a boy. As soon as he crossed the Neman, he found himself drawn into someone else's game on someone else's territory. And already the next year, Russian troops paid a return visit to Europe.
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Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk spoke in the Austrian Parliament on June 14, and also met with Austrian politicians, including the Chancellor of the country of Karl Nehammer.
Stefanchuk insisted that the Austrian authorities agree to grant Ukraine the status of a candidate for joining the EU. At the same time, Vienna opposes the accelerated granting of such a status to Kyiv, since this violates the rights of the countries of the Western Balkans, whose possible EU membership is actively supported in Austria.
On his Twitter, Nehammer thanked Stefanchuk for an open conversation, stressing that Ukraine is part of Europe, and his country will continue to provide the necessary assistance to Kyiv. “However, progress in the EU accession process requires the fulfillment of existing criteria,” the Chancellor added.
In total, they were on 97 accounts. The special interdepartmental group responsible for the freezing of assets reported that in a number of cases attempts were made to hide the ownership of assets. government. The money was in 97 accounts in total.
Investigation and identification of accounts belonging to Russian citizens included in the sanctions lists is carried out by an interdepartmental group specially created for this purpose under the Department of State Security and Intelligence of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
According to the federal chancellery, during the investigation, the group discovered attempts to hide the ownership of the assets. They clarified that the work to identify the accounts of Russian citizens is difficult due to the creation of various companies and the use of nominees to mask the accounts.
The authorities promised a new report on freezing the accounts of Russians at the end of May.
In total, since the start of the Russian operation in Ukraine, the EU has introduced five packages of sanctions. After the last expansion of the sanctions lists, 1,091 people and 80 legal entities (including those that have been sanctioned since 2014) have been restricted. Now the EU is discussing the sixth package of sanctions.
The freezing of the accounts of Russians and Russian institutions was previously reported by many countries and territories. The Netherlands has frozen assets for €200 million, Luxembourg— for €2.5 billion, the Cayman Islands— for $7.3 billion, Switzerland— for $8 billion, France— for €850 million, Germany— for €95 million, Italy— for €900 million
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In early April, the European Commission estimated the value of Russian assets frozen in the EU at €29.5 billion. This amount included not only money, but also various property. Among the property frozen were ships, helicopters, real estate, works of art worth almost €6.7 billion.
Special interdepartmental groups to identify Russian assets were also created by the EU and the USA. The American Association, in particular, was created under the Ministry of Justice. Its head, Andrew Adams, said countries were operating at “all-time high” level of cooperation to track the property of the Russian elite.
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Austria may transfer the Haidach UGS facility, operated by a subsidiary of Gazprom Germania, to other companies if Gazprom refuses to fill it, the chancellor said, proposing to act on the principle of “use it or lose it”
Federal Chancellor Austria Karl Nehammer threatened “Gazprom” transfer Haidach underground gas storage to other companies if he refuses to fill it. Nehammer stated this in an interview with the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.
“If the Russian” Gazprom ” will not fill our largest storage, we will take it for other suppliers,— he said.
The publication clarified that it was the Haidach UGS facility in Salzburg, which is currently de facto empty.
UGS facility Haidach is operated by Astora GmbH— a subsidiary of Gazprom Germania. At the end of March, Gazprom withdrew from the capital of the German Gazprom Germania (its sole founder is OOO Gazprom Export) and all its assets. Later, Gazprom Germania and Astora came under Russian sanctions, after which the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habek said that the “daughters” Gazprom Germania stopped receiving gas.
The chancellor announced plans for the first time in the country to create a “state strategic reserve” gas in UGS facilities and proposed to act on the principle of “use it or lose it”. If Gazprom will not pump gas into the storage, other companies will do it, he explained in an interview with Kleine Zeitung.
RBC sent a request to a representative of Gazprom.
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Earlier, the Austrian authorities refused to switch to the gas payment scheme proposed by Russia— for rubles. At the same time, the head of the Austrian energy company OMV, Alfred Stern, pointed out that the country is not yet ready to impose a ban on the import of Russian fuel due to the inability to provide the necessary level of gas supply. “I don't think we're ready for an embargo today. Unless we're willing to accept the consequences. Because you need to clearly understand one thing: our gas supply is provided not by our own production in Europe, but by supplies from Russia,— he said.
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At the same time, the head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry noted that with his decisions, President Putin achieved “opposite results”, making the NATO countries “more united”
Austria does not plan to pay for gas supplied by Russia in rubles. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg stated this in an interview with Al Jazeera.
“Our position is clear. We are committed to existing agreements [with the Russian side] and will not pay in rubles, we have no such intention, — said the diplomat (quoted by TASS).
He also stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin achieved “opposite results” with his decisions, making the NATO countries “more united”.
At the end of March, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed to transfer payments for gas with unfriendly countries (the list includes all EU countries, the USA, Great Britain and a number of other states) into rubles. The European Commission believes that the new payment scheme is contrary to the European sanctions regime. The scheme began to work on April 1.
Earlier, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that Austria does not intend to switch to the payment scheme proposed by Russia. In turn, the head of the Austrian energy company OMV, Alfred Stern, pointed out that Austria was not yet ready to impose a ban on gas imports from Russia, because without supplies it would not be possible to ensure the necessary level of gas supply. “I don't think we're ready for an embargo today. Unless we're willing to accept the consequences. Because you need to clearly understand one thing: our gas supply is provided not by our own production in Europe, but by supplies from Russia,— he declared.
At the same time, Austrian Energy and Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler announced the EU plans to phase out Russian gas by 2027. According to her, the European Union is 80% dependent on Russian gas. “We must free ourselves from this [addiction], because addiction makes us vulnerable to blackmail and raises prices,” the minister pointed out.
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Austria has frozen a residence in Vienna and a penthouse on Lake Wörthersee, owned by State Duma deputy Andrei Gorokhov, Profil and ORF write. According to income information, Gorokhov owns a residential building and half of an apartment in this country .jpg” alt=”Profil and ORF learned about the freezing of the property of a State Duma deputy in Austria” />
Russian State Duma deputy Andrey Gorokhov
The Austrian authorities froze the property of a State Duma deputy from the United Russia party Andrey Gorokhov in Vienna and Carinthia in connection with anti-Russian sanctions, according to Profil magazine and the ORF television and radio corporation.
According to the Austrian media, Gorokhov owns an apartment in the 19th Vienna municipal district, on the outskirts of the capital of Austria, as well as penthouse on Lake Wörthersee in Carinthia. The country's Land Registry says the assets were frozen under the Sanctions Act. This also means that they cannot be sold.
The income statement for 2021 states that Gorokhov owns a residential building in Austria with an area of 353 sq. m and half of the apartment with an area of 217.5 sq. m.
Profil and ORF clarified that Gorokhov is one of 351 deputies who voted in favor of recognizing the independence of the DPR and LPR on February 15.
RBC turned to the press center « United Russia».
Amid the imposition of sanctions, the authorities of a number of European countries began to freeze real estate owned by Russian businessmen.
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Thus, in Italy on April 11, a villa was seized, which belongs to the former co-owner of the Uralchem company, who fell under Western sanctions; Dmitry Mazepin and his son, a former Formula 1 driver Nikita. It is located in the city of Portisco in the province of Sassari in the north of Sardinia, its cost is estimated at $105 million, according to the newspaper Corriere della Sera and the broadcaster Rai.
As Forbes wrote, on April 16, the French authorities froze the real estate of Russian businessmen in the amount of almost $ 1 billion, including a villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Cote d'Azur, which belongs to the owner of the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works Viktor Rashnikov through his daughter Olga.
In addition, the French authorities froze a villa in Saint-Tropez and arrested three properties in a residential building in the center of Paris, one of the founders of Alfa Group; Alexey Kuzmichev.
The list also included the property of Roman Abramovich. In particular, the Château de la Crau mansion, formerly owned by the English King Edward VIII, was frozen.
The Kremlin called sanctions against Russian businessmen for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin “banditry at the international level” and “the collapse of private property and private business.”
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Bloomberg announced the rejection of the ruble payment from Gazprom Germania.
Bloomberg agency, citing its sources, stated that “Gazprombank” rejected payment for the supply of gas fuel to Germany. It is noteworthy that the payment was made by the trading company Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd in rubles.
The publication reports that payment was transferred for a number of purchases for April and May this year under a contract between the German company and “Gazprombank”.
It is indicated that the advance payment concerns gas for Germany and Austria, but the bank rejected it, although, at the request of the Russian side, the payment was made in ruble currency.
The source of the publication said that now the German company insists that division “Gazprom” accepted the payment, and is now discussing it with representatives of the Russian company.
Recall, as Topnews wrote, at the end of March, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree according to which the states included in the list of unfriendly countries are obliged to pay for the supply of Russian fuel to rubles.
Bloomberg, referring to the data he received, speaks of 10 European countries that agreed to the conditions proposed by the Russian Federation.
Also, according to RIA Novosti, on March 31 “ ;Gazprom” 31 withdrew from the capital of LLC “Gazprom Export Business Services”, and is not involved in the activities of Gazprom Marketing & Trading Ltd.
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Austria has not recorded any problems with gas supplies after the cessation of imports to Poland and Bulgaria. Vienna believes that payment under the new conditions can be made without violating the sanctions ” alt=”Austria has accepted the terms of payment for Russian gas in rubles” />
The Austrian oil and gas company OMV has adopted new terms of payment for gas in Russian currency, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said at a press conference.
“We, that is OMV, accepted the terms of payment, as did the German government. They [the conditions] were found to be consistent with the conditions of the sanctions. It was important for us, — TASS quotes him.
Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler after Gazprom's statement on the suspension of gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria, said that there were no signs of stopping gas supplies to the country, fuel through Ukraine and along the Nord Stream; delivered without restrictions, according to Salzburg24.
On the morning of March 27, Gazprom announced that he had suspended gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland due to unpaid payments in rubles. The company also warned that if the gas operators of these countries begin to unauthorizedly take Russian gas from transit volumes for third countries, then supplies for transit will be reduced by this volume.
"Gazprom" indicated that it regularly delivers through the territory of Ukraine according to the confirmed applications of European consumers. As of April 27, the declared volume is 48.7 million cubic meters. m.
Decree on payment of gas in rubles for “unfriendly” countries President Vladimir Putin signed at the end of March. According to him, the European counterparty must transfer payments in euros to a foreign currency account with Gazprombank, after which the bank will sell the currency on the stock exchange and credit it to the foreign company's ruble account in the same bank. Only after that the fuel will be considered paid.
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At the same time, the EC believes that after the approval of the new payment procedure by Russia fuel without violating the sanctions is possible. Thus, the decree provides for the issuance of separate permits for settlements in foreign currencies, but the procedure for granting exceptions is not yet clear. Another option is a “clear statement”; on the fulfillment of payment obligations after transfer to a foreign currency account with Gazprombank, however, confirmation from the Russian side will be required.
The main importer of Russian gas to Germany— Uniper— earlier this week, she said that payment for Russian gas under the new conditions, without violating sanctions, according to preliminary estimates, is possible.
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The Austrian Minister of Energy stressed that the European Union must get rid of dependence on gas imports from Russia, and listed what needs to be done for this
The European Commission has decided on the goal of phasing out Russian gas by 2027, Austrian Energy and Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler said in an interview with OE24. She called the task “very ambitious.” According to the minister, all EU countries will have to stop importing gas from Russia, but the goal “will be achieved only if they work harmoniously.”
According to Gewessler, the EU is 80% dependent on Russian gas. “We must free ourselves from this [addiction], because addiction makes us vulnerable to blackmail and raises prices,” said the minister.
To achieve this result, it is necessary to follow three steps, she noted. First— switch to alternative energy sources and reduce gas consumption, the second— independently produce biogas and renewable hydrogen, the third— arrange supplies from other countries. For this, Gewessler, in particular, plans to visit Qatar.
In March, the European Commission presented the first version of the REPowerEU plan, which provides for the phase-out of Russian gas by 2030. To do this, it is planned to diversify gas supplies by increasing the volume of imports of LNG and pipeline gas from other countries, increasing production and imports of renewable hydrogen and biomethane, and reducing the use of fossil fuels.
According to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, the share of Russian gas in the European Union accounts for 40%. He expressed hope that the EU would not have to completely stop importing oil and gas from Russia in the event of further escalation in Ukraine.
At the end of March, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed to transfer payments for gas with unfriendly countries into rubles. The European Commission believes that the new payment scheme is contrary to the European sanctions regime. The only country that allowed payment for Russian gas in rubles,— Hungary.
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Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that Ukraine does not need to join the European Union. Speaking at the 14th European Media Summit in Lech am Ar, he stressed that Kyiv should choose a different path that does not involve EU membership.
According to him, the countries of the Western Balkans have been waiting for the status of an EU candidate for much longer , writes the German edition of Heute. Schallenberg also noted the need to create other options that would allow “exporting the Western model of life”, but not including the country in the EU.
Earlier, First Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Ukraine Yulia Sviridenko said that the country intends to join the European Union in 2024. According to her, the first part of the application has already been submitted.
She also promised that the country will fulfill all the requirements for EU membership at the same rapid pace. Ukraine expects to become a full-fledged member of the European Union in 2024, Sviridenko concluded.
On February 21, after a meeting of the Security Council, Putin announced his decision to recognize the DPR and LPR. On the same evening, he signed the relevant decrees. How Ukraine and other countries reacted to this – in the RBC review
Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelensky convened an urgent meeting of the National Security and Defense Council.
USA: “We expected such a move by Russia and are ready to respond immediately. President Biden will soon issue an executive order prohibiting new investment, trade, and financing by American persons in, from, or in the so-called regions of the DPR and LPR of Ukraine. message from the White House.
DNR. “This is much more than help and support, it is the adoption of key decisions that give confidence in the peaceful future of a strong Russian Donbass. The President of the Russian Federation embodied the will of the Russians, the will of the Russian people for unity. We are grateful to Vladimir Putin and all of Russia, — wrote DPR chief Deris Pushilin.
NATO: “This further undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, undermines efforts to resolve the conflict, and violates the Minsk agreements to which Russia is a party,” ; statement by Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Germany: “President Putin's recognition of the separatist 'People's Republics'” in eastern Ukraine deliberately nullifies many years of efforts in the Normandy format; and OSCE. We will respond to this violation of international law and coordinate our actions with partners, — wrote German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock on Twitter.
Austria: “The recognition by the Russian President of the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine is a clear violation of the Minsk agreements and a challenge to diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution,” — wrote Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Twitter.
Serbia: “It remains an open question whether the crisis can spread to other parts of Europe. After the decision of the President [of Russia Vladimir] Putin, the political pressure on Serbia will be much greater,— said President Aleksandar Vucic in an interview with Pink TV. He noted that “Serbia is on the European path, but 85% of the population is always on the side of Russia.”
Netherlands: “The recognition of separatist territories in Ukraine is a flagrant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the Minsk agreements. The Netherlands strongly condemns this act and will respond strongly in close coordination with our EU and NATO partners,— Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Twitter.
Georgia: “Georgia strongly condemns the 'recognition' of Russia of the Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which repeats the scenario of 2008, which led to the occupation of 20% of our territories (meaning Russia's recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia— RBC). Georgia supports you, President Zelensky, and supports Ukrainian territorial integrity and peace,” — President Salome Zurabishvili on Twitter.
France: “The President condemns the Russian President's decision <…>. This is a clear unilateral violation of Russia's international obligations and an encroachment on Ukraine's sovereignty. He [President Emmanuel Macron] is calling for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, as well as the adoption of targeted European sanctions, — Élysée communiqué.
UK: “This move represents a further attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, signals the end of the Minsk process and violates the UN charter. It demonstrates that Russia has preferred the path of confrontation to dialogue,— Foreign Minister Liz Truss on Twitter.
Council of Europe: “The Council of Europe reaffirms its unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We call on the Russian Federation to reverse this decision and refrain from further aggravating the situation. We urge our Member States to resolve their differences through dialogue based on respect for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights,— Statement by Secretary General of the Council of Europe Maria Pejcinovic-Buric.
OSCE: “We call on the Russian Federation to refrain from any military intervention to implement this unfortunate decision and consider the long-term consequences for international relations,” organization chairman Zbigniew Rau on Twitter.
Latvia: “Decision taken by the President of the Russian Federation <…> is a continuation of the offensive against the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, which began in 2014 with the illegal change of borders in Europe,— a joint statement by the President, the Speaker of the Seimas, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The reaction of the West to Russia's decision to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR did not come as a surprise, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda radio ;. “But didn’t we know what they said, they say and will say? What, for us it was some kind of revelation? <…> Did we not know how they would react? Of course they knew. The last two months have been extremely revealing— lied, lie and will lie».
Austrian Minister of Economy Schramböck: we are not going to abandon Nord Stream 2 At the same time, she admitted that the project could fall under sanctions in the event of an invasion ” alt=”Austria rejected abandonment of Nord Stream 2 without Russian invasion of Ukraine” />
Austria will not abandon Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline unless Russia invades Ukraine, economy minister says country Margarete Schramböck on ORF, quoted by BVZ.
“Some countries would like Austria to do without the Nord Stream at all; 2". Neither I nor the Minister of Foreign Affairs will abandon this project, because the state has invested a lot in it through OMV,— Schramböck explained.
At the same time, she clarified that the sanctions against Nord Stream 2 are likely to be included in a larger package of measures that the EU is preparing in case Russia invades Ukraine.
The minister assured the Austrians that the country was not in danger of a gas crisis due to the Ukrainian conflict, recalling that Moscow supplied gas “even during the most difficult times of the Cold War.” Schramböck also stressed that, unlike Germany, for example, Austria has long-term gas supply contracts with Russia. In addition, she has long-term contracts with Norway.
The minister also recalled that Vienna is looking for new fuel suppliers, in connection with which Schramböck held talks with the UAE and Oman. In March, she intends to discuss this issue with Saudi Arabia.
An agreement with the Austrian oil and gas concern OMV and four other European companies to finance the construction of Nord Stream 2 was signed in April 2017. In accordance with it, each pledged to provide financing in the amount of up to €950 million, thus financing 50% of the total project cost (estimated at €9.5 billion).
OMV announced the completion of funding in November 2020, allocating about €729 million for the project. The former head of OMV, Rainer Seele, who left his post at the end of August 2021, clarified that savings were made during construction at some stages, so the final amount of funding is less than originally planned.
Sele said that Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig “did a very good job and saved money during construction.” “Not always everything has to go up in price. It can sometimes get cheaper, — Seele commented.
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Former Austrian Foreign Minister Kneisl: President Putin was right in the Munich speech in 2007 .jpg” alt=”Former Austrian Foreign Minister said that Putin was right in his Munich speech” />
Russian President Vladimir Putin was right in his Munich speech in 2007 when he spoke about the unipolarity of the modern world , said “RIA Novosti” former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl.
Putin's speech at the Munich Conference in 2007 caused a wide response. The President of Russia sharply criticized the existing world order. First of all, it was about US foreign policy, NATO expansion to the east and the unipolarity of the world.
“Some things, perhaps, are better judged 15 years later, and I came to the conclusion that President Putin was then very right in his words and in his warnings, — said the ex-diplomat.
She believes that after the Munich speech in 2007, the situation in the world became more aggravated, including due to the lack of activity over the past 15 years, primarily on the part of Western states.
Kneissl added that she had revised Putin's speech and understood that explains a lot. “I would say that in fact, about everything that President Putin spoke about then, one has to state that, firstly, he, unfortunately, was right, and secondly, since then everything has become even worse and more complicated.” ,— she concluded.
Kneissl was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria in 2017-2019. In August 2018, she married financier Wolfgang Meilinger, Putin attended the wedding. According to the president, the visit was private, and Meilinger was “not a stranger” to him, since he was a judoka in the past. In June 2021, Kneisl joined the board of directors of Rosneft.
This year, the Munich Security Conference is to be held in person from 18 to February 20 at the Bayerischer Hof in Munich. She will be the 58th in a row. Last year, the event was held remotely.
Press Secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said that Putin was not going to participate in the conference. In 2021 and 2020, Putin also did not participate in the conference. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov represented Russia in 2020 and 2019.
The annual security conference has been held in Munich since 1963. It was initiated by the German publicist Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist-Schmenzin.
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Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said that the country does not intend to export the personnel of its embassy in Ukraine.
“Our eyes and ears remain in Kiev,” the minister said during a visit to Ukraine.
At the end of last month, the diplomat said that Vienna could evacuate the staff of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission, but the decision will be accepted depending on the development of the situation.
The heads of the ministries of foreign affairs of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria are planning to visit the areas of Donbass controlled by Kiev. Such a visit is scheduled for February this year, according to the Czech resource Idnes.
The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipovsky announced such plans to visit the eastern regions of Ukraine. According to him, he first plans to visit Bratislava to take Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Kork and his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg with him.
After that, European diplomats will arrive in Kiev on February 7-8, where they will be met Ukrainian minister Dmitry Kuleba. After that, they will all go to Donbass together.
Austrian Foreign Minister ruled out sanctions against the gas sector and Nord Stream 2
In the event of an “invasion” Russia will impose large-scale sanctions on Ukraine against Moscow, however, the gas sector and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline they won't, said Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg in an interview with Die Presse, quoted by Kurier.
“We in Europe are to a certain extent dependent on energy from Russia. <…> We can't change that overnight if we suddenly need heat and electricity,” — he explained.
At the same time, Schallenbregg noted that a number of Russia's security requirements are unacceptable. He considered these demands not to accept Ukraine into NATO and to withdraw the military of the alliance from the territories of states that have already joined NATO.
The head of the Austrian Foreign Ministry also warned that in the event of military aggression against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin “will have to reckon with extensive economic and financial sanctions,” writes Kurier.
“In the event of an escalation, there will be a very clear, unambiguous and quick response"— Schallenberg explained.
The minister noted that “no one knows what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has in his head.” He expressed readiness for an open dialogue with Russia, but not under the motto: “make or break”.
Schallenberg called “absurd” a NATO threat attributed by Moscow. “Who invaded Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transnistria, Donbass, Crimea? Not us»,— he concluded.
Earlier, Bloomberg reported that some European countries fear that the unprecedented sanctions against Russia, which the West threatened in case of aggression against Ukraine, could damage their economies and force President Vladimir Putin to cut off gas to Europe in the winter. In turn, the United States doubted that Moscow could take this step. As Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, said, this is not in Russia's interests, as it will harm Russia itself.
CNN, citing sources, reported that the White House was discussing several options for restrictions. They may affect individuals from Putin's inner circle, energy companies and banks. Sanctions can also be applied against public debt. Among the radical measures were the disconnection of Russia from the SWIFT international interbank payment system and the restriction of the ruble conversion.
Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress have already presented their options for restrictive measures against Russia in case of escalation, they affect, among other things, Putin and his environment, Russian banks and public debt.
Russia has repeatedly stated that it does not threaten anyone, did not attack anyone first, and did not rule out military provocations on Ukraine from the West.
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The author of the idea was accused of pro-Russian views
It is unprofitable for America to participate in the conflict on the territory of Ukraine, whether it is a confrontation with proxies or, even worse, with Russian troops, says American columnist Katrina Vanden Heuvel . A mutually acceptable solution could be the “neutralization” of Ukraine along the lines of Austria, that is, giving it a neutral, non-bloc status. Huvel wrote about this in The Washington Post.
“What is happening within the framework of the Ukrainian crisis is called “madness” in diplomatic language,” Katrina begins not even for health, but immediately after her repose. Then there are the standard accusations of Russia and the story about “100 thousand soldiers on the border with Ukraine.” But then Heuwel switches to the US. In her opinion, Washington is doing the wrong thing at all.
“Against the backdrop of the challenges of the pandemic, the growing economic stratification of the population, deep racial division, catastrophic climate change and the strong rivalry of the American administration with China, America still lacked a war with proxies or, for good, directly with Russia in Ukraine,” she writes.
According to her, President Biden, despite his statements that now is “time for diplomacy”, is assembling a national security team from some clowns whose activities have led to a series of failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc.
The United States is conducting failed diplomacy, as it has played the role of a superpower that always pushes through its decision, Heuwel said. What else to expect from a country that has more military bases abroad than the number of diplomatic missions, and a bunch of countries from Venezuela to Russia that have economic sanctions? accept Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. The policy of the three previous US presidents made it clear to the whole world that no one is going to fight for Ukraine.
And this is a chance for President Biden to finally show a modicum of diplomacy. A solution is given in the 1950s, when Austria, occupied by Soviet and Western troops, realizing that it was just a bargaining chip in other people's games, chose permanent neutrality in exchange for de-occupation.
“For Ukraine, our European allies and for ourselves, this alternative sounds much better than fighting the Russians to the last Ukrainian,” Katrin writes. And that will require a tough compromise. The Russians guarantee the independence of Ukraine and refuse threatening military maneuvers on their territory. The US is closing the issue with NATO. Ukraine is conducting its federalization and giving guarantees to its Russian-speaking residents.”
Such a decision will allow both leaders – Biden and Putin – to save face in front of the voter, Katrina believes.
Malignant commentators on social networks do not They made us wait a long time.
The Lamdo user turned out to be radical: “Putin must be stopped at any cost. If we surrender Ukraine, Xi will attack Taiwan and chop it off. Next, Kim Jong-un will go to South Korea.
A user with the nickname sword1001 called Katrina and her husband “Russian trolls.” Cleveland Doug wrote with undisguised disgust that “this reads like Kremlin propaganda.” Manray saw a capitalist conspiracy in history: “The economy needs war. Manufacturers, that is.”
Far East LA was very reserved compared to the others: “I don't agree with the author, but I'm also not interested in getting into a position that will prove him right.”
Former Chancellor Sebestyan Kurz resigned amid a corruption scandal on October 9. His successor Alexander Schallenberg officially headed the government on October 11
Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, having been at the head of the government for less than two months, wrote a letter of resignation. This is reported by the Kronen Zeitung.
This was preceded by the announcement of Schallenberg's predecessor as chancellor, Sebastian Kurz. He announced that he had decided to retire from politics and resign as chairman of the Austrian People's Party (ANP). As noted by the Kronen Zeitung, Kurz made such a decision after the birth of his son.
The interlocutors of the publication said that Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer could replace Kurz as chairman of the party.
Schallenberg, according to the Kronen Zeitung, said that he would leave the post of Austrian Chancellor, “ as soon as the appropriate appointments are made within the party. ''
leader of the New People's Party. I strongly believe that both offices & mdash; the heads of government and the leader of the federal party, the most powerful party in Austria, must quickly reunite in the same hands, '', & mdash; Schallenberg explained his decision to resign in a written statement.
Kurz resigned in the wake of a corruption scandal. Investigators suspected people from the Chancellor's entourage of bribing the newspaper & Ouml; sterreich to publish polls with positive comments about the Austrian People's Party. The defendants in the case were Kurz himself, nine other people and three organizations.
On the evening of October 6, Kurz issued a statement in which he denied the charges. “ There is absolutely no evidence that it was me who directed which advertisements or polls were ordered from the Ministry of Finance, '' & mdash; he said then. When asked by a journalist whether Kurtz would remain in the post of chancellor, the politician answered in the affirmative, but on October 9 announced that he was resigning.
The politician explained his decision with a desire to “ avoid chaos and ensure stability. '' “ The important thing now is to restore trust. & lt; … & gt; My country is more important to me than my personality '', & mdash; he said. Schallenberg first became Acting Chancellor of Austria, and from October 11th.
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“MuiTypography-root-228 MuiTypography-h1-233″>India repeals controversial farm laws after a year of protestsThe WorldNovember 19, 2021 · 12:30 PM EST
Protesting farmers ride tractors and shout slogans as they march to the capital, breaking police barricades, during India's Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, India, Jan. 26, 2021.
Altaf Qadri/AP/File photo
Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that his government will withdraw controversial farm laws that have been met with massive protests over the past year. Farmers have been protesting government overhauls that they say would ruin their livelihoods. They’re now celebrating the move as a hard-fought victory. Modi timed his announcement for the Sikh holiday Guru Nanak Jayanti to acknowledge India’s minority Sikh community that’s made up the base of the protests. Farmers are also one of India’s most influential voting blocs, and Modi’s reversal comes ahead of next year’s election.
As Austria faces a fourth wave of COVID-19 cases, the country is set to go into a nationwide lockdown, beginning on Monday and lasting for at least 10 days. The government is also planning to make vaccination mandatory — a first of its kind policy for Europe. Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg plans to impose the vaccine mandate beginning Feb. 1 of next year. Austria had one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, at just under 66%. It also has one of the highest national infection rates of the coronavirus on the continent, registering 14,212 new cases in just 24 hours on Thursday.
Deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest is at a 15-year high, surging by 22% in the past year, according to a government report. The statistics undercut President Jair Bolsonaro's assurances that the country has been curbing illegal logging. Brazil’s space research agency (INPE) showed that the country had recorded 5,110 square miles of deforestation. Brazil recently pledged at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow to end illegal deforestation by 2028.
Olympic athletes, from left, archer Marcus Vinicius D'Almeida, Paralympic rower Michel Pessanha, swimmer Marcela Cunha and swimmer Larissa Oliveira pose for a photo with the mascot of the vaccination campaign, named "Zé Gotinha," or "Droplet Joe," after they got shots of the Pfizer vaccine at Urca military base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 14, 2021.
Three generations of Brazilians have grown up with Zé Gotinha, roughly translated as Droplet Joe, and many say the little guy is responsible for the country's overwhelming vaccine acceptance.
The mascot is shaped like a drop of liquid, because that's how the polio vaccine was administered in Brazil back in the 1980s. He's been a huge part of the country's world-renowned vaccination program.
A bustling street scene in Ghana, where only 1 in 7 households has a toilet.
Ridwan Karim Dini-Osman/The World
Thousands of Ghanaians resort to open defecation due to a lack of access to clean toilets. Some young people in Ghana are leading the movement to change the narrative around this dangerous practice.
Go behind the scenes with one of our correspondents.
Shirin Jaafari, a correspondent with The World since 2015, traveled to Afghanistan in July 2021 to report on the quickly evolving situation as the US withdrawal process was underway.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at her reporting from Herat days before the Taliban overtook the city.
Putting together stories in hostile environments is time- and resource-intensive. Make a gift today to support the work of Shirin and others here at The World. Thank you!
Snoopy, complete with a NASA space suit, is heading to the moon and back aboard Artemis I, an unmanned mission scheduled to circle the moon and return to Earth in February. NASA uses stuffed animals on flights becuase when they start floating, it indicates the point of zero gravity. Snoopy's role on this mission is to ensure that all systems are working for future crews.
In case you missed itListen: North America leaders’ summit convenes
Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador addresses the United Nations Security Council, Nov. 9, 2021.
Leaders from the US, Canada and Mexico are holding their first in-person meeting on Thursday in the first summit of its kind in five years. Each brings conflicting interests in issues of migration, trade and the pandemic. And capitol rioter Evan Neumann is wanted by the FBI for his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection. Neumann recently turned up in Belarus hoping to seek asylum there. Plus, climate change and environmental degradation are two ways that China is paying a price for its fast-paced economic growth over the past 20 years. In Shanghai, a Chinese performance artist has some unusual ways of raising awareness about pollution.
“MuiTypography-root-228 MuiTypography-h1-233″>EU places new sanctions on entities facilitating migration to BelarusThe WorldNovember 15, 2021 · 1:00 PM EST
Migrants make their way to the checkpoint "Kuznitsa" at the Belarus-Poland border near Grodno, Belarus, on Nov. 15, 2021.
Oksana Manchuk/BelTA pool photo via AP
Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.
The EU has agreed to slap new sanctions on airlines, travel agents and others accused of facilitating the transport of migrants from Middle Eastern countries to Belarus, as the border crisis in Poland and Lithuania deepens. Nearly 4,000 migrants are living in makeshift camps on the Poland-Belarus border with Poland stepping up border security and accusing Belarusian authorities of leading groups of migrants to cross the border. With this wider scope of sanctions, the bloc will now target individuals and entities organizing or contributing to what the EU says is an organized plan by President Lukashenko to lure immigrants and destabilize Europe. In 2015, a refugee crisis that saw 1 million people entering European countries created deep divisions within the bloc over the management of migrants.
American journalist Danny Fenster has been released from a Myanmar prison and is on his way back to the US, via Qatar, after spending nearly six months in jail. Fenster, the managing editor of the online magazine Frontier Myanmar, was handed an 11-year sentence by a military court last week on charges of spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations and violating visa regulations. His release has been reportedly brokered by US ambassador and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who is in Myanmar. Six other journalists have also been convicted in Myanmar since February this year, when the country’s military ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a new measure to control the COVID-19 surge, Austria has imposed a lockdown for those who have not been fully vaccinated against the virus, which consists of nearly 2 million people. With this new regulation that took effect at midnight on Sunday, initially for 10 days, those over 12 years of age who cannot prove they are fully vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19 will only be allowed to leave home for essential activities, such as going to the doctor, grocery shopping or going to get vaccinated. Increased police patrols will enforce the rules and hand over fines of $1,600 for noncompliance. Unvaccinated people had already been banned from visiting restaurants, hair salons and cinemas, but will now be expected to stay at home. In Austria, 65% of the population of 8.9 million people have been vaccinated, but the country, like several other European nations, is seeing an uptick in cases.
São Sebastião Fort and Museum with statues of conquistadors São Tomé.
Courtesy of Howard French
Major aspects of the trans-Atlantic slave trade from an African perspective have gotten erased throughout time. Howard French set out to illuminate a more expansive understanding in a new book called "Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War."
From left head of the Presidential Council of Libya Mohamed al-Manfi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah attend a press conference following a conference on Libya in Paris, Nov. 12, 2021.
Yoan Valat/Pool Photo via AP
A summit in Paris on Libya's future is focused on ensuring that the country stays on track for planned elections in December. Emadeddin Badi, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, tells The World's host Marco Werman that pushing for these elections at any cost is problematic.
Go behind the scenes with one of our correspondents
Shirin Jaafari, a correspondent with The World since 2015, travelled to Afghanistan in July 2021 to report on the quickly-evolving situation as the US withdrawal process was underway.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at her reporting from Herat days before the Taliban overtook the city.
Putting together stories in hostile environments is time and resource-intensive. Make a gift today to support the work of Shirin and others here at The World. Thank you!
Sesame Street has a new star! 🌟
Ji-Young will make history as the first Asian American muppet on the popular children's show. She is Korean American and has two passions: rocking out on her electric guitar and skateboarding. 🎸 She will formally be introduced on a Thanksgiving Day special.
Ernie, a muppet from "Sesame Street," appears with new character Ji-Young, the first Asian American muppet, on the set of the long-running children's program in New York on Nov. 1, 2021.
Noreen Nasir/AP/File photo
In case you missed itListen: COP26: What’s next?
Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive-Secretary, second right, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, second left, and Alok Sharma President of the COP26 summit, third left, attend a meeting at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 11, 2021.
COP26 President Alok Sharma has said that the summit will be a success only if it keeps the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive. But it’s extremely unlikely that countries will commit to those kinds of carbon cuts at the summit. Also, Nov. 13 marks the sixth anniversary of the coordinated terrorist attacks at the Bataclan concert hall and six other sites in Paris. This year, it comes amid a major trial against the 10-man group that carried out the attacks. Plus, ever wonder what happens if a large asteroid goes on a trajectory to hit planet Earth? NASA is now testing a solution called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — or DART — and they say it’s the world’s first planetary defense mission.
Austria’s ski resorts remain open during pandemic — but now they’re ‘ghost towns’
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Christian Koblinger, head of tourism in Radstadt, Austria, says the winter ski season is a major economic driver in his community.
Amanda Peacher/The World
At the Austrian Flachau ski resort about an hour outside of Salzburg, the aprés-ski hut where skiers socialize after a day of skiing remains closed, with chairs stacked and lights out.
On a recent Friday, the normally buzzing ski slopes looked like blank white sheets, with only an occasional skier or snowboarder dotting the runs.
Across most of Europe, ski resorts are shut down. Germany, Italy and France all opted not to open their slopes because of COVID-19. Initially, Austria balked at the idea of shutting down its $18-billion winter tourism season. But that changed as infections spread, and the country closed down hotels and restaurants. Lifts remain open, but only those fortunate enough to live within a day’s drive can enjoy the slopes.
Chair lift operator Robert Huber says the Flachau resort was well-prepared for the season, and it’s a pity that so few people can enjoy the sport, fresh air and sunshine.
Amanda Peacher/The World
Ski lift operator Robert Huber watched as one lone skier, wearing a mask, got on the chairlift.
“Everything is wonderfully prepared, but there aren’t any people here. … It’s a pity. It’s beautiful weather. The snow is good. The slope is good, the sun is great.”
Robert Huber, ski lift operator, Austria
“Everything is wonderfully prepared, but there aren’t any people here,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s a pity. It’s beautiful weather. The snow is good. The slope is good, the sun is great.”
Austrian ski hills close to big cities are still seeing lots of skiers, and in some cases have actually been criticized for crowding. Winter tourism destinations have been especially scrutinized after Ischgl, an Austrian ski resort with a vibrant aprés-ski reputation, became a hot spot for the coronavirus last year and was blamed for the wider spread of infections across Europe.
But today, most of the resorts in the Austrian Alps are hours away from Vienna or other big cities. And even though Germany is relatively close by, travelers can’t just cross the border and ski for a day because of quarantine requirements. An estimated 7 million Germans typically cross the border to ski in Austria in the winter, so the loss is huge for alpine communities.
On top of that, Huber thinks city dwellers are missing out on a vital part of Austrian winter culture.
“I think that it’s also very important for people who live in the city, who may only see fog or only buildings in front of them,” Huber said. “At some point, they have to come out, to move physically and be in the sun in the fresh air, because otherwise, people get crazy stupid.”
A short drive away from Flachau, a little medieval town called Radstadt is feeling the effects of the prolonged closures. Austria has been partially or completely locked down since mid-November.
“It’s more like a ghost town,” said Christian Koblinger, head of the tourism office in Radstadt. “The winter is typically pretty busy. We have people mostly from Germany and Austria and the Netherlands, and right now, we don’t have any guests.”
Tourism and leisure account for a whopping 15% share of Austria’s gross domestic product.
The Austrian government is providing some financial aid to businesses hobbled by the shutdown. Koblinger says that help doesn’t cover all the losses.
“It’s devastating. … We relied on tourism for the last 40, 50 years. So we can’t change that in a heartbeat.”
Christian Koblinger, head of tourism, Radstadt, Austria
“It’s devastating,” Koblinger said. “We relied on tourism for the last 40, 50 years. So, we can’t change that in a heartbeat.”
Ski slopes in Austria are technically open, but with hotels and restaurants closed, only locals can make day trips to many resorts in Austria’s western Alps.
Amanda Peacher/The World
In the meantime, the skiers and snowboarders who can get to the ski hill and home in a day enjoy a rare experience of solitude in resorts that are normally packed. Skiers must wear masks on lifts, and seating is limited inside gondolas.
Martina Leitner skied at Flachau with her 8-year-old daughter on a recent bluebird day, a term enjoyed by skiers to describe clear-blue skies.
“Perfect. Perfect conditions, great weather,” Leitner said. “Really, really disciplined people. Everybody’s keeping a distance, and everybody’s wearing his or her mask … It’s really really nice.”
While Leitner enjoyed the solitude and the lack of lines at the chairlift, she also said it’s bittersweet to ski like this. Resorts can’t operate without more skiers and snowboarders to pay for lift tickets.
“Every year, it couldn’t be like that because otherwise, we wouldn’t have that many lift stations and everything else because it’s just not affordable,” Leitner said.
Even though it’s nice to experience solitude at a resort that’s usually packed, Leitner said, she’s looking forward to next winter and welcoming tourists to Austria once again.
The world reacts to chaotic rampage at the US Capitol; China calls out US on ‘hypocrisy’; Biden victory confirmed by Congress
The world reacts to chaotic rampage at the US Capitol; China calls out US on 'hypocrisy'; Biden victory confirmed by Congress
US Capitol police with guns drawn stand near a barricaded door as members of a mob try to break into the House Chamber in Washington.
Top of The World — our morning news roundup written by editors at The World. Subscribe here.
Glass shattered. Confederate flags and flags bearing US President Donald Trump’s name waved. Two pipe bombs were planted. At least one person was shot and killed and three others died around the Capitol grounds, suffering separate medical emergencies.
The world watched in shock as marauders rampaged Capitol Hill live on TV and social media. In the hours after pro-Trump extremists stormed the US Capitol building on Wednesday, world leaders condemned the chaos and violence that erupted as Trump loyalists attempted to overturn Nov. 3 US presidential election results won by Joe Biden.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was one of the first world leaders to react, calling the events a “disgrace” and urging a “peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
Disgraceful scenes in U.S. Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 6, 2021
In a tweet, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that “insurgent words turn into violent acts” and urged Trump and his supporters to “stop trampling on democracy.”
Die Feinde der Demokratie werden sich über diese unfassbaren Bilder aus #WashingtonDC freuen. Aus aufrührerischen Worten werden gewaltsame Taten – auf den Stufen des Reichstages, und jetzt im #Capitol. Die Verachtung demokratischer Institutionen hat verheerende Auswirkungen. (1)
— Heiko Maas 🇪🇺 (@HeikoMaas) January 6, 2021
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called the rampage in Washington “shocking” and insisted on respect for election outcomes.
Shocking scenes in Washington, D.C. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.
— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) January 6, 2021
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply disturbed,” but underscored his belief in the strength of American democracy.
Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 6, 2021
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she and others in her country were “devastated” by the events:
Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.
— Jacinda Ardern (@jacindaardern) January 7, 2021
Turkey issued a statment urging the United States to use “moderation” and “common sense” to restore order:
#BREAKING Turkey invites all parties in US to use moderation, common sense to overcome this domestic political crisis
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) January 6, 2021
And in Latin America, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denounced America’s political polarization and Argentine President Alberto Fernández tweeted his nation’s “strongest support for President-elect Joe Biden.” Colombian Presiden Iván Duque also rejected the violence and expressed his solidarity in a tweet:
We reject the acts of violence seen today during the Electoral College vote counting in the United States Congress and I express my solidarity and support to the honorable members of Congress and to all US institutions.
— Iván Duque 🇨🇴 (@IvanDuque) January 6, 2021
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa questioned the US’ moral authority to issue sanctions under the “guise of upholding democracy” after yesterday’s siege:
Last year, President Trump extended painful economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, citing concerns about Zimbabwe’s democracy.
Yesterday’s events showed that the U.S. has no moral right to punish another nation under the guise of upholding democracy. These sanctions must end.
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa) January 7, 2021What the world is following
Zimbabwe wasn’t the only nation to call out the United States on its hypocrisy. The attack on the US Capitol comes just one day after Hong Kong’s largest crackdown on more than 50 pro-democracy lawmakers, calling into question the US’ ability to uphold democratic values around the world and hold authoritarian leaders to account.
In China, state media as well as online commentators called “hypocrisy” on the US for its response to the US siege, drawing comparisons with the 2019 anti-government protests in Hong Kong in opposition to a controversial extradition bill. The peaceful movement ended with protesters storming and defacing Hong Kong’s legislature in July 2020, which US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had called “a beautiful sight.” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the US to question its double standard.
Yet, Chunying still tweeted:
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) January 7, 2021
Hours after police secured the Capitol building complex, lawmakers returned from hiding on Wednesday night and proceeded to count the Electoral College votes that confirmed Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. After inciting violence earlier in the day, President Donald Trump later promised a peaceful and “orderly transition of power” while continuing to disagree with the results.
An Israeli receives a coronavirus vaccine from medical staff at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 6, 2021.
For the past week, Israel has been vaccinating about 1.5% of its population daily — roughly 150,000 people per day — making it a world leader in vaccinating against COVID-19.
New cases have surged to a three-month high, but health authorities have still managed to vaccinate about 50% of the country’s high-risk population.
“Within a time period of two to three months, we’ll be able to vaccinate the entire population that can be vaccinated,” Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.
This forest in a region of Austria known as the wood quarter is managed according to “close-to-nature” practices or standards.
Amanda Peacher/The World
The ancient technique of astute observation, low-intervention forestry allows trees to grow and age before harvest.
Perhaps on a morning when many around the world are waking up concerned, confused and maybe feeling some sense of sorrow, here’s a project that offers an idea of relief. Based on an art installation in Japan, an old phone affixed to the back of a western red cedar in the state of Washington is offering hikers a chance to make a call and offer words to the wind.
The peaceful transition of power is a democratic principle that for the most part hasn’t been challenged here in the US. But this year, after this election, many Americans are nervous as angry supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday. And, in contrast to other vaccination programs, in Israel, health officials have been vaccinating about 1.5% of the population every day. Also, a valuable painting by Wassily Kandinsky is in a major museum in Amsterdam. It once belonged to a Jewish family before World War II. Now the heirs are suing to get it back.
Austria’s ‘close-to-nature’ forests may hold secrets to fire prevention
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This forest in a region of Austria known as the wood quarter is managed according to “close-to-nature” practices or standards.
Amanda Peacher/The World
In a region of Austria known as the wood quarter, a logger used a chainsaw to slice through the base of a 100-foot tall spruce tree on a recent foggy morning.
Herbert Schmid, a forester, watched from a distance as the big spruce dropped to the forest floor. Schmid handpicked that particular tree to be cut today. He manages this forest according to “close-to-nature” practices, or Pro Silva standards.
It’s an ancient technique of astute observation, low-intervention forestry that allows trees to grow and age before harvest. Forestry experts say it’s a valuable model as European forests face climate change and potentially more fires.
Forest manager Herbert Schmid says “close-to-nature” management practices make for more fire-resilient landscapes, but the practices are not new.
Amanda Peacher/The World
Schmid wanted to open up the canopy of this dense, shady section of forest, which has all sizes and species of trees. There are tall, looming firs, tiny spruce saplings with bright green needles — even cherry trees. That species diversity is one reason this and other close-to-nature forests tend to be fire-resilient.
“The more tree variety, the more stable it is. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fire or storm or snow. If I have only one kind of tree, and they’re all the exact same height, it’s prone to any disaster.”
Herbert Schmid, forester, Austria
“The more tree variety, the more stable it is,” Schmid said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s fire or storm or snow. If I have only one kind of tree, and they’re all the exact same height, it’s prone to any disaster.”
More than half of Austria and one-third of Germany is forested, yet those countries haven’t seen extreme fires to the scale of California or Australia in recent years. During last year’s catastrophic wildfire season in the US, President Donald Trump praised Austria for its forest management.
“Austria, you look at so many countries, they live in the forest, they’re considered ‘forest cities,’ so many of them,” Trump told Fox News. “And they don’t have fires like this. And they have more explosive trees.”
But the reason that Austria and Germany haven’t had megafires recently is part luck. Those countries tend to be cooler and rainer. But climate change is causing hotter, drier summers in central Europe, and the region could see bigger wildfires as the trend continues. Close-to-nature forest management may hold some solutions.
The land that Schmid manages is owned by the Stift Altenburg Monastery in lower Austria. Logging revenue is a huge part of the monastery’s funding, but its natural management timber operation is far from typical.
“Natural management is a play with light and shadow,” Schmid said. “Enough light for the small trees. But not so much that plants like elderberry can take over. You always have to look at how much light comes through the crowns of the old trees, and that is the art.”
When the forest needs more light, it’s time to cut down some trees. Forestry experts say it’s a good model.
“With Pro Silva forestry, you try to mimic the small-scale disturbance with small-scale harvesting.”
Alexander Held, European Forest Institute
“With Pro Silva forestry, you try to mimic the small-scale disturbance with small-scale harvesting,” said Alexander Held, a senior expert with the European Forest Institute.
Pro Silva foresters selectively cut down trees that might otherwise die because of lightning, old age or bark beetles.
“And in these gaps where the old trees fell or died, you have regeneration of … very different tree species,” Held said.
Close-to-nature forests tend to be lush and moist. In other words, not places that are quick to burn. Still, there are many forests across central Europe that are not managed according to Pro Silva guidelines. The traditional forestry model is based on a cycle of planting dense, monoculture forests where the trees are all the same height, and are harvested as soon as possible so that there’s always an ample supply of timber.
“Close-to-nature” forestry calls for selective logging of large trees that otherwise might die from lightning, bark beetles or age.
Amanda Peacher/The World
Those conditions are perfect for quick-spreading wildfire. When foresters from fire-prone countries like Greece or Spain visit Germany’s dense monoculture forests, Held says they’re aghast.
“They say, ‘Oh, my God, if this goes up in flames! You’re sitting on a time bomb.”
That’s why Held believes the Pro Silva method is a good model as foresters prepare for more hot and dry weather, or bark beetle infestations, which are increasingly common and devastating across the region.
“This is actually a little secret that makes sense to show to the world.”
Alexander Held, European Forest Institute
“This is actually a little secret that makes sense to show to the world,” Held said.
In the Stift Altenburg Forest in Lower Austria, there’s another little secret to share from close-to-nature forestry: an army of native birds that help with natural forest management.
A few years ago, Schmid wanted to diversify a forest area that was dominated by spruce. Typical foresters might clear all the underbrush and blackberries, and handplant thousands of saplings. Schmid took a different approach.
“Now, the idea was we collect seeds in our oak forests and put them in a bird feeder,” Schmid said. “The birds know the food is there, and they take the seeds and hide them in the forest.”
The Eurasian jay birds feed on the seeds and hide some for winter. Inevitably, the birds forget about some of their stash, and the seeds grow into saplings. These native birds are essentially Schmid’s forest workers.
In just a couple of years, Schmid says these birds helped plant 25,000 new trees and create a more diverse, fire-resilient landscape.
Schmid says these kinds of natural management techniques are not only easier, they’re also cheap — he’s not paying for herbicides, or human labor to plant trees. It’s actually a return to ancient techniques that he says work.
“That’s the whole idea of the permanent forest,” Schmid said. “You only take out the big trees, and it regenerates itself.”