– Ukraine Shuns West, Gravitates Back into Russia’s Orbit, Signs Up for Observer Status on Eurasian Economic Commission; Communist Party of Ukraine Enthusiastic for Eurasian Union
On September 19, a delegation from the ruling Communist Part of Vietnam visited Moscow where, tellingly, it conferred with leaders of both the putatively ruling United Russia (ER) party and supposedly oppositional Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF). The leader of the Vietnamese delegation was Dinh The Huynh, Politburo member and secretary of the CPV’s Central Committee.
During his meeting with the Russian politicians, Huynh, Gennady Zyuganov, chairman of the CPRF Central Committee, and Dmitry Travkin, permanent secretary of the ER Central Committee, swapped notes and pledged bilateral cooperation between Russia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. For his part, Travkin stressed that ER and CPV must “expand their cooperation and direct exchanges between all-level leaders and young party members.” In reply, Huynh “expressed hopes that the two ruling parties’ relations will contribute to strongly promoting the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.” This should not be too difficult since United Russia, which was founded by “ex”-communists in 2001, is simply a front for the secretly ruling CPRF.
Earlier, the Vietnamese delegation visited the offices of Pravda (“Truth”), the main publication of the CPRF and met with Vietnamese journalists in Russia. Of course, there are several publications in Russia that sport the title Pravda, including one that has a popular online presence.
In this “post”-Cold War era, Russia and Vietnam still have very close relations, which is strange if Russia’s “ex”-communist leaders have truly abandoned Marxism. The delegation that Vietnam, an openly communist state, sent to Moscow last week is simply one more proof that the leaders of the Russian Federation still cling to the dream of restoring a Marxist regime of some flavor across the territory of the old Soviet Union.
Since 2000, for example, Vietnam has signed agreements with Russia, Kazakhstan, Red China, France, and Japan that will obligate these countries to supply fuel to the 10 nuclear power plants that Hanoi intends to build between now and 2030. According to a report released by GlobalData on September 25, the Vietnamese regime aims to increase its economic growth rate from 5.89 percent in 2011 to between 6 and 6.5 percent by 2013. Due to the expected GDP increase and accompanying rise in demand for energy, Vietnam plans to invest about US$50 billion in the power sector over the next 10 years.
Very significantly, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), which is the newly created executive body of the Eurasian Union, to be formally inaugurated in 2015, has ruled in favour of a free trade zone between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. “The conclusions presented by a joint research group show that the potential of trade and economic relations between the Customs Union and Vietnam will receive a significant boost if a free-trade zone is set up. It will take the long-standing fruitful and mutually profitable cooperation to a new level,” the EEC said in a statement. The EEC insisted that such an arrangement will align with “the practices and norms of the World Trade Organization.”
Several days after visiting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on July 27 (pictured above), President Truong Tan Sang, with a hat tip to his “comrades” in the former Soviet Union (FSU), articulated Vietnam’s enthusiasm for joining the Customs Union:
We hope that with a high political will of the leaders of our countries, as well as our Belarusian and Kazakh comrades and partners, we will be able to begin this process very soon and bring it to completion in the form of an agreement on Vietnam’s accession to the Customs Union.
[I am confident] that if such an agreement is agreed upon and signed, it will give a new impetus for intensifying our relationship and increasing trade.
Indeed, there is a mutual desire between me and Russian President Vladimir Putin to increase the volume of trade and economic relations. We discussed the issue of speeding up quality talks over the signing of a free trade agreement. We have agreed to announce the start of talks over a free trade agreement as early as September 2012, during the APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation] summit in Vladivostok.
In exchange for securing access to markets in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, Sang committed his country to once again hosting a Russian naval presence at Cam Ranh. Like the facility in Tartus, Syria, Cam Ranh will not be a full-fledged naval base with permanently stationed warships, as was the case during the Cold War but, rather, will operate as a naval maintenance facility. The Vietnamese president revealed this information on July 27, during an interview with state-run Voice of Russia radio.
Russia’s naval chief, Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov, has confirmed that the Russian Navy is seeking to reactivate Soviet-era naval facilities in the Marxist-Leninist states of Cuba and Vietnam, as well as the Seychelles, an island state in the Indian Ocean that has been controlled by pro-Moscow socialists since 1977. “We are indeed continuing work to ensure the stationing of Russian Navy forces outside the Russian Federation,” Chirkov said in an interview with Novosti. “As part of this work at the international level, we are discussing issues related to the creation of [ship] maintenance stations in Cuba, in the Seychelles and in Vietnam.” The Russian Navy alleges that since 2008, when Russian warships joined an international anti-piracy flotilla in the Gulf of Aden, it has “badly needed” bases outside the FSU.
Several weeks ago, we reported that a pro-Kremlin political analyst expects “ex”-communist states in Eastern Europe, as well as Vietnam, Cuba, and Bolivarian Venezuela to join the soon-to-be-launched Eurasian Union. After much vascillation, Ukraine’s “ex”-communist president, Viktor Yanukovich, finally announced in May that Kiev will implement a “pause” in relations with the European Union. This month, Ukraine signed up for observer status on the Eurasian Economic Commission. For its part, the Communist Party of Ukraine has thrown its unabashed support behind Eurasian integration.
When the inauguration of the Eurasian Union takes place, the Customs Union and older post-Soviet organizations, like the Eurasian Economic Community, will be rolled into the new body as Russia’s “ex”-communist leaders take one more step toward fulfilling Vladimir Lenin’s dream of a “world Soviet republic.”