Igor Morozov: ''There is a passionate surge in the Southern and Eastern European countries''
Tribuna’s guest is Igor Morozov, a senator of the Ryazan Region, a member of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs discusses the international agenda with Vladimir Nesterov
-Let's discuss one of today’s most topical themes, the Greek debt. According to analysts' estimates, Greece needs a loan of 50 billion euros in order to resolve their current situation more or less. Moreover, this sum can be allocated over three years. Greeks will have to pay this 36 billion to its creditors immediately. And it is not known how much they will owe in the future. What is the probability of Greece leaving the eurozone in view of last Sunday's referendum, in your opinion? What does the Greek referendum mean? What is the message of this event?
- I think that we probably need to start right from the very fact of the referendum as an expression of the will of the Greek people. They are the first of all nations of Europe, who showed that, after all, national consciousness is growing. More and more countries are discussing European democracy, as well as national interests. And most of the tension is mainly tied to the adoption of the southern and eastern countries into the EU, when Brussels bureaucracy tried to attract as many states as it could in order to extend the market. And these so-called market-based components of the EU were in a very difficult situation, as the EU was doing its best in order to stop the economy of these not big, but quite effective countries. It happened to Greece, Hungary, Bulgaria and other eastern and southern European countries that joined the EU.
The Greek people are actually the first to carry out a referendum as a democratic norm and showed that the current situation needs to be changed. It is a crushing victory for the progressive forces. In fact, it gave Tsipras, the prime minister, a new mandate in order to deny the national requirements of the Brussels bureaucracy. 50 billion cannot pay off all the European 300-billion-dollar loan. Speaking in the European Parliament yesterday, Tsipras directly noted that of all the money allocated to Greece was returned to the banking system of the EU. And this part of the money is more than was used for the development of the Greek economy, raising the social status and social standard of the Greeks. He gave specific calculations, which in principle are very similar to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Eastern Europe. This scheme is more like a metropolis manages its colonies. And all those countries that we are discussing turned out to be in the position of colonies.
So today, I think that there is a passionate surge in these countries. It seems to me that Greece is not the last country in which a referendum will take place.
-What do you think, is there a future for Greece, the country that gave the world democracy? "Democracy" is a Greek word itself. Does it have a future in the European family, in the EU?
-I think a lot will depend on largest economies of the EU: Germany and France. Greece will depend on England to a lesser extent. I think that this tough and non-contractual position of Western Germany, and Merkel in particular, means that they're not going to restructure the debt according to Tsipras’s variant. Because the 50 billion which Tsipras is asking for, as well as the postponement of payment for five years, and the reduction of the debt burden of 30%, are unacceptable for the current situation in the EU economy. This means that Germany, which is the ‘‘engine’’ of the entire European economy, is not going to put this burden on itself.
I think that Brussels is seriously concerned about what to do now. But we see no proposals from Brussels. They want to see how Greece lives with its proposals in order to discuss anything. Now they think that those proposals, which have been given by Tsipras on behalf of the Greek government, are populist in nature, but the referendum has crossed out all these illusions. No, it is the will of the people, who gave their mandate in the negotiations to their prime minister, and who really has become a national leader.
I think that in this dilemma Tsipras, despite his statement that they are not planning to return to the drachma. In case of contractual engagements with the EU, the situation can develop according to the Islamic variant: they pay all the debts off and then leave the EU. they borrow money from the Development Bank of BRICS with a completely new start, with a ‘‘clean sheet’’ and with a national currency, joining the free trade zone with the EAEC and building new relations with the BRICS and SCO. It is possible that Greece is a new potential partner in our economic integration group.
- How do you estimate the perspectives of solving the Iranian issue?
-It seems to me that a great colossal diplomatic and political work of the Russian Federation has been done before the sudden prospect of the negotiation process among the six negotiators and Iran. During all these 10 years, we many times had situations when our partners and Israel suggested bombing Iran's nuclear facilities. And we have always been categorically opposed to this. At that period of time the UN showed itself very well, I mean their negotiators.
So in Syria we managed to prevent war and military intervention at the last moment. The Americans were ready for this, and a plan for the military operation was worked out in the Pentagon. Only President of Russia Vladimir Putin’s proposal managed to stop Obama.
The situation with Iran is a bit different. We always told our Western partners that the negotiations with Iran on behalf of the international community should maintain a bridge, as we have quite big programs, including the development of nuclear energy in this country. So this intermediary should just support this negotiation process with the international community. And Russia has done everything possible in order to avoid war, but this "suddenly" appeared.
The pre-election campaign started in the United States. Before this there was a situation in Kiev, which was organized and financed by the Americans. There was the so-called threat to the safety of Europe. And the Americans say that Russia is the source of this danger. We know the updated version of the US national safety strategy, we know Obama, referring to the new challenges and threats. They mentioned our country 15 times among these dangers, comparing it with LIH and Ebola. Therefore, it seems to me that the Americans consider Iran in two ways. First, they need some positive step, or a result in the Middle East. The Americans have always stated that the Middle East is an area of their strategic interests. Spreading its influence in the Middle East over the past decade, they had only problems there: the destruction of the state and the economy of Iraq in 2003, the Libyan tragedy as the result of which the US Consulate General was simply destroyed a few months later and the US ambassador was killed. Then Syria. After this came departments of Al-Qaeda in IS, and then Islamic State. Now the Americans don’t know how to fight it. But this is their area of interests. So at the time of the new election campaign, the Democratic Party, which is responsible for foreign policy, should give Clinton a clean sheet of paper with some positive results. And Iran has turned out to be the cornerstone, which could be raised and put on the list as a positive solution, including the American diplomacy before the Iranian crisis.
-As I remember, there was a very popular American expression "axis of evil’’ just 10 years ago, which was joined by Iran
-Therefore, they have such a strategy in their diplomacy, a strategy of selective partnerships. Today, they have chosen Iran as their partner in negotiations in connection with bringing it into the international community. I said that this is a dilemma: on the one hand they need to solve their issues for their international status so that Clinton could rely on something positive in international politics. But on the other hand, now the Americans are trying to replace our energy with their own, in order to display their shale oil and gas to the territory of Europe. They also need to make such investments both in their infrastructure and also in the European one. It will take them about 8-10 years
What should they do in order to restrict energy supplies to Europe? Iran. Despite our support for Iran during the past year, it has been noted several times that they are ready to replace Russian gas in Europe. This is a serious challenge for us, so we must always remember about this and consult with our Iranian partners. Therefore, Gazprom and Rosneft negotiated in order to have partners among our Iranian colleagues and sell their energy resources, saving the market created by our major companies, not only in Europe but also in Asia. And I would like the status quo to be preserved, and we shouldn’t let go of our influence and control of the sale of energy, including in the Middle East.
- Could the lifting of sanctions hit the market prices? Could they collapse?
-Well, again, energy resources are derived from the engine of the world economy, therefore, if today there is a recession, we understand that tomorrow a recovery can begin, and we will need new sources of energy, new growth points. Because China's economy, the economy of India, who are in the Asian region, require enormous amounts of energy, and their economy would grow bigger, stronger, more active, if they had their own oil, their gas, if they would not buy it – but they are forced to do it. Therefore, China is building its system of energy security, cooperating with Iran and Syria. Therefore, I think we just have to keep the formation of that market, and most importantly the pricing, with all the formulas we simply cannot argue with, under control.
To be continued.