Why Russia is so important to all of us

Even a diagram is enough to give you an idea:

Quellen: JPMorgan, Bloomberg

When the tensions between the West and Russia arose recently, not only oil but also precious metals became much more expensive. The price of palladium already climbed to its all-time high of almost 3000 dollars per ounce (28.35 grams) last year. At present, it seems to have ended its correction in the face of looming shortages in the event of a conflict with Russia. The precious metal is more of an industrial metal and almost half of the world’s production is in Russian hands (mainly in Siberia, where Norilsk Nickel accounts for 25 to 30% of world production). The Western decision-makers hardly thought twice when they began to steer a collision course with Putin – their green transition, their green revolution depends to a large extent on this very raw material. Palladium is used in catalytic converters to curb harmful emissions, especially in petrol cars. As most motorists in many countries switch from diesel to petrol because of new regulations and taxes, demand for the palladium is increasing. In recent years, precautionary Chinese companies have been buying up the global palladium market and Western traders are now having to put up with its ever-higher price.

One could also look at South Africa – the world’s second-largest producer – in this regard, but when one considers the cost and infrastructure problems there, one quickly forgets the desire to invest in the country. Last year, for example, bush fires caused ongoing power supply problems for palladium producers there. Apart from the fires, Eskom, the main electricity supplier in the country, which is unable to keep the infrastructure intact and expand it, causes constant blackouts and bottlenecks. Cables, transformers are stolen by the local population and Eskom employees are so corrupt that they are the envy of all Africa.

Okay, you don’t have to believe in palladium. But look at the green agenda around the world – their real goal, as Dirk Müller said long ago in his book “Power Quake”, is hydrogen cars, the electric cars with lithium batteries are only a transitional phase, as they do not play into the hands of the oil and gas producers. The fuel cell in the hydrogen car, as its name suggests, is fed with hydrogen, and this can be produced cheaply from natural gas. So the green transition will not hurt BP, Total, Chevron, but also Rosneft and Gazprom. Now fuel cells need a lot of platinum to work and its price is low compared to other assets at the moment. Not to mention the importance of the metal and other precious metals for the electronics industry, where the chip market has been in deep crisis since the beginning of the pandemic.

We do not want to talk about the importance of Russian natural gas itself – as a raw material for heating and energy production – for the political security of Europe, as you are certainly familiar with this topic from the mainstream media.

More recommendations and considerations for apt investments can be found in our bulletins.

Gefira 61: Crisis After Crisis After Another Crisis

What does the phrase research and development make you think of? Science? Economy? Technology? Surprise, surprise! This term is about how to most efficiently destroy Russia. No kidding. The think tank that set itself such a task has chosen RAND as its name, which is short for research and development. RAND’s highly professional staff deals with a variety of problems and suggests solutions for the benefit of the United States and indirectly – yes, yes! – all humanity because we know that what is good for the United States is automatically good for the whole globe. Gefira 61 familiarizes its readers with over a 350-page long document drawn up by RAND. A fascinating read, really! You can all get the feel of watching from close-up the elaborate and meticulous preparations being completed by a military general staff working assiduously on the maneuvers aimed at bringing the enemy to his knees. Not that we have dug this document up or stole it during an undercover operation. RAND has made its findings and recommendations public. We only would like to draw your attention to something that otherwise you may have missed. We hope that after you have read the text, you will better understand what is happening around. Notice that RAND is not the only war-mongering think tank or institution…

Are such documents too frank, too open, too undisguised to be true? Why, not! Klaus Schwab, Bill Gates, George Soros and the rest of their ilk do not mince words about their plans for us, either. And you know what? They are all going to succeed because we do not want to believe them. Because we do not pay attention. Because we shrug our shoulders. It is as simple as that. Nor do we want to immerse ourselves in the past and draw lessons from it. If some of us sometimes do, we tend to dismiss old events as mere artefacts showcased in a museum, as something that is interesting in and of itself, but belongs to the past and as such has absolutely no relation to the present. Alas! That is also why Gefira 61 once again reminds of and examines certain historical facts, and draws parallels with what we are seeing in today’s world. Perhaps some of our readers will recognize the repetitive patterns and share this recognition with their fellow men so that the latter cannot later say that they haven’t been warned.

Are the current conditions: inflation, poor societal health, and the fall of fiat currencies, caused by the pandemic or the lockdowns? Will cryptocurrencies continue to succeed, or will the Russians and Chinese put an end to them? What real goals can the Western financial elites possibly have? Are we facing a major financial upheaval, a reset of fiat currencies and an end to the lower and middle classes slowly but surely being robbed of their savings and turned into servants? We do not know all the answers to these questions, but in our latest bulletin, apart from the parallels between the present and the past, we try to broaden the perspective of our reflections to possible events in the future.

 

Gefira Financial Bulletin #61 is available now

  • To Stress Russia
  • Hazing à la RAND
  • The Recurrent Behavioural Pattern or no Lessons Drawn
  • New World Order through Corona

What do we need journalists for?

It was a couple of days ago that we could see the press conference with the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. We could have an opportunity to listen to the argumentation of the two parties at length. We, that is, those who had access to the material posted on YouTube or elsewhere. We could feel like lay judges or assessors in a trial, weighing what one side to the conflict says against what the other side to the conflict says. And that’s it. Having listened to the announcements, we can form our opinion, make an evaluation and pass judgement.

Is that what we are usually confronted with? Not by any means! Television or radio broadcasters along with the press and internet news outlets cut the announcements of the parties involved into a handful of selected sentences and then put them together intertwined with the interpretation imposed by those who run the medium. We never, ever get the opportunity to listen – at ease – to the argumentation of the contestants.

It is even worse. What the media present – the aforementioned digested precis – is immediately followed up by TV talking heads or by a written comment from a big figure, and they again dissect what we have had no opportunity to listen to in full. They thus make sure that we – the recipients of the news – know precisely how to understand things or – to put it even better – who is the guilty party. They serve no useful purpose for us. They might be easily dispensed with. If they were dispensed with, then what would we need journalists for?

One might answer: for nothing. Yet, no. Journalists could be useful after all. How? They should be given the task of letting the politicians or leaders have their full say, also in confrontation with their opponents. How? By organizing such conferences or visiting the said politicians or leaders in their places and having them lay down their views and evaluations of events and of the actions taken by their opponents. That’s it.

Oh, yes. Journalist might also come in handy explaining or reminding of things that the viewers, listeners, readers might not be familiar with or may have forgotten. If Minister Lavrov or Secretary Truss mention the Minsk Protocol (the document signed in 2014 by Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France), then the journalists would duly remind of or explain (delete as applicable) what the Protocol was all about. Here again, a full text made available for all to read would be a must. No interpretations, no cuts allowed. You see the point?

If a conflict between Serbs and Albanians arises, the journalist should do his best to contact the best advocates of either side’s interests on either side to the conflict, let them present their case and, again, that’s it. The journalist might – if possible – hold an Oxford-like debate, where belligerents have their say, without being interrupted, without being compelled to answer questions that direct their attention and that of their listeners, viewers or readers away from what they really want to say, and without any audience that is instructed to boo and hiss so as to exert pressure on the speaker. The readers, viewers or listeners should then be left alone with what they read, saw and heard to evaluate, to judge, and to draw inferences. Why are we not given this opportunity?

Have you heard straight from the horse’s mouth via your media what Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qaddafi had to say, how they viewed the conflict with the West, what they complained about? Highly unlikely, to put it mildly. Instead, all you can hear is that President Assad is nasty, that President Lukashenko is Europe’s last dictator, that President Putin is a killer, that President Hussein gassed Kurds while Qaddafi or Milošević used to eat babies for breakfast or dinner in between pauses devoted to herding their opponents in concentration camps. Can’t we see how biased it all is?

Possessed by an ideology: The re-emergence of Marxism

Ideologies possess us
Ideas do not die: they my hibernate, they may go underground, they may mutate or metastasize, adapting to new circumstances, adopting suitable trains of thoughts from other ideas, stripping themselves of some of the old ones. Yet, once they are born, they are immortal. What is more, though ideas originate in human minds, paradoxically, once they are born, as Carl Gustav Jung famously said, it is not people who have ideas; people are possessed (obsessed) by ideas.

It is the peculiarity of the human mind to create ideas about the world, life, natural and social phenomena. These can be channelled in the form of a religion or ideology or a mixture of the two, never mind the denominations. A thought has a life of its own and starts growing, ramifying and developing, now due to clashes with real, palpable problems, now due to clashes with other ideas, beliefs, thoughts. A thought evolves in the process, and at times it is more real than reality itself in that a man who believes in dragons will spend his lifetime in pursuit of them: a belief will control his activities.

Beliefs, philosophies, ideologies – you name them – are there to explain the world and to provide guidelines. A human being needs guidelines: he needs to know whether it is good or bad to lie, to cheat, to steal; whether it is mandatory to lie to some, to tell the truth to others; whether it is prudent to lie under these, but be veracious under those circumstances. A human being needs to know what is worth striving, fighting, or dying for. And a human being has little time and little capability to solve each and every problem; instead, he prefers to rely on recipes of conduct that are rooted in an ideology. That is why ready-made sets of rules and values are in such demand.

Eternal Marxism
Marxism is one of the many ideologies that explain the world and provide guidelines. It traces its origins back to the 19th century. It was not a birth of a star but rather a transmutation and coalescence of earlier ideologies: German ideal philosophy (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel), from which it took dialectics, French utopian socialism (Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon), from which it took the social concerns, and English classical economics (David Ricardo, Adam Smith), from which it took the economic thought.

In the age of thriving industrialism and the rapid development of the sciences Marxism worked out an appeal that was suited to the people of the epoch: it claimed to have discovered scientific therefore immutable and infallible laws governing the life of human societies since times immemorial to the present and well into the future. The ideology’s attractiveness was reinforced on the one hand by the promise it made that it had found the effective cure for social ills and on the other by the flattery that it extended to the down-trodden, the weak, the poor, and the outcast that they deserve better. Continue reading

The Balkans

The Balkans, similarly to the Iberian Peninsula, have been the place where Muslims have made inroads into the European continent; the region has often been a scenery for many hostilities between both the local small powers and the external large players. In the 20 century alone the region saw two wars of 1912-1913, two world wars (with the first being triggered here) and numerous civil armed conflicts among the republics of former Yugoslavia.

Broadly, the Balkans can be divided into Eastern (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, a small chunk of Turkey this side the Bosporus), Western (territories occupied once by Yugoslavia) and Southern (Greece).

Ethnically, the Balkans is home to Slavic (Slovenians, Croats, Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosnians, Macedonians, Bulgarians) and non-Slavic peoples (Hungarians, Romanians, Albanians, Greeks and Turks). In terms of religion (the fact that determines to which civilisation model a particular nation belongs), the inhabitants are either Muslim (most of Albanians, some Bosnians, Turks) or Christian of either the Catholic (Slovenians, Croats, Hungarians, a sizable part of Albanians, especially in the north of the country) and Orthodox (Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Bosnians, Montenegrins, Macedonians, Greeks) creeds. Notice in passing that not all Slavs are Orthodox Christian (some are Catholic, some are Muslim) and that Orthodox Christianity is the creed of non-Slavic Greeks and Romanians.

The three great historical influences were two European and one Asian powers. The former were the Germans either of the Hapsburg and then Austria-Hungary monarchy, followed by Germany, and Russia; the latter was the Ottoman Empire or its descendant: Turkey. It was in the Middle Ages that Hungary began to rule Croatia and north-western parts of today’s Romania. The German Habsburgs dynasty gradually expanded to control Hungary with the latter’s territorial gains as well as making military or diplomatic conquests of its own, extending its rule by incorporating Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. It was the German house of Hohenzollern, which provided monarchs to the nascent forms of statehood of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. The Russian Empire rendered significant aid to Greece and then to Serbia and Bulgaria in the respective nations’ wars of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Turkey may have withdrawn from the region, but it maintained close ties to the German Empire and the Third Reich and left behind a numerically significant Muslim population. Soviet Russia continued to be interested in the Balkans and gained control over most of it after the Second World War. Continue reading

Gefira 60: West-East – a Long-Running Feud

There are two or four – depending on the point of view – political powers that vie for global dominance: the collective West, and the collective East. The former is made up of the English-speaking countries (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand) and the European Union with Germany as its leader and France as the leader’s right-hand man; the latter is composed of the Russian Federation and China. In either political camp there are centripetal and centrifugal forces. Apparently, Berlin and Paris go hand in hand with Washington and London when it comes to subverting the stability in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia; for all that, France and Germany seek to emancipate themselves from American patronizing. Similarly, Moscow and Beijing are mutually attracted by shared interests and simultaneously divided by frictions. Russia and the Middle Kingdom make a stand against the collective West, which they perceive as a threat. Still, they vie for preponderance in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kirghistan), Siberia and generally for leadership in this part of the world. The conflict between the Anglophere and Russia seems to be coming to the fore, with China and the European Union creating a backdrop to it. The Geneva talks held recently between Washington and Moscow look like a continuation of similar endless negotiations between the United States and the former Soviet Union. The first Cold War ended, the second one is in progress. The former brought a peaceful victory for one party to the conflict; how will the current one end? In a hot war? In another relatively peaceful solution? Which country will emerge victorious?

The ideologically motivated green economy seems to be doing a grave disservice to the collective West and especially the European Union. Prices for energy are skyrocketing while measures taken to combat the notorious virus stymie huge sections of economy and make Europeans and Americans feel insecure about the future. Add to it the rapidly changing ethnic make-up of the Old Continent and its extension across the Atlantic and you begin to wonder why should Washington, London, Paris and Berlin be concerned with Moscow and Beijing in the first place. Are German Turks, French Algerians or English Sikhs really going to fight tooth and claw against Russians and Chinese to defend their adopted father-?, mother?-lands if even these words and the notion of national patriotism are frowned upon by the post-Western world hell-bent on extirpating all traditional values of loyalty, self-sacrifice, family and faith? Who do the post-Western liberal governments want to rely upon in times of trouble? On deracinated indigenous Europeans and Americans or on “new” Europeans and Americans made dependent on the welfare, protective, and ubiquitous state? Or maybe on both kinds of Europeans and Americans, those who have been taught to feel guilty about their heritage and pacifist in their dealings with other nations, and those new Europeans and Americans who have been taught to hate European heritage while living off the fat of the land produced by those they hate?

 

Gefira Financial Bulletin #60 is available now

  • West-East – a Long-Running Feud
  • Historical events in the making
  • What can we expect in 2022? Forecasts and recommendations
  • Inflation, price regulations and possible social protests

What is Kazakhstan about?

That the Russians and Belarusians are invading Kazakhstan right now is no wonder at all: the subversives, protesting against higher gas and fuel prices, also demanded that Kazakhstan abandon all alliances with Russia and that both President Tokayev and the government resign immediately. Moscow cannot put up with such political demands. Kazakhstan is a major oil and gas producer and also supplies about 40 per cent of the world’s uranium. Kazakhstan is home to a number of first-class mining companies: Lukoil from Russia, CNPC from China, Chevron and ExxonMobil from the USA, Shell from the Netherlands, ENI from Italy, and Total from France. Insofar as oil and gas extraction has been allowed to the foreign corporations, uranium extraction remains in Kazakh hands. It is a tasty morsel for all the countries that talk so much about green energy at the moment, but in fact are preparing for the future that will be based on nuclear energy. After all, Russia’s nuclear missiles and power plants, Baikonur and space presence depend on Kazakhstan.

Rioters topple statues of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the “Elbasy”, the father of the nation, as Nazarbayev is called for life, the man who once guaranteed friendly relations with Moscow as long as he was honorary chairman of the Security Council. The Nazarbayev-Tokayev tandem has been uneasy for some time, however, and now the Father of the Nation left his fatherland aboard the private plane of his son-in-law Timur Kulibayev, a billionaire and one of Kazakhstan’s richest men. We know such stories from different countries. Main characters: oligarchs serving foreign capital. Behind the protests could be Mukhtar Ablyazov, another controversial oligarch who is at odds with the current government team in Kazakhstan and who used to live permanently in Paris, but is now in Kiev. Please note: in Kiev. If you think about the role of the oligarchs in the upheavals in Ukraine in recent years and at present, it will immediately become clear to you that this is an attack by the West, namely the USA and Ukraine, who want to “facilitate” the forthcoming talks between Biden and Putin with a blow to the “soft underbelly” of Russia, i.e. Kazakhstan.

Tokayev has also taken advantage of current events domestically to remove the government that was loyal to Nazarbayev and especially Abish Satidbaldila, the former president’s “man” who was deputy chairman of the Public Security Committee. As a result, Tokayev took full power, which enabled him to get rid of Nazarbayev painlessly. From Moscow’s point of view, what happened is actually a palace revolution, a shock. Not only because, as it turned out, in practice there is no ironclad guarantee of life for the former head of state, but also because Putin has been demonstrably respectful towards Nazarbayev and somewhat, perhaps even more, disrespectful towards Tokayev. At the recent CIS summit in St. Petersburg, he met with “Elbasy” and found no time to talk to the current president. It is likely that if a new government is formed, relations with Moscow will be different and probably more difficult for Russia.

The Western world is enthusiastic about the revolution and interprets what is happening on the streets as a struggle against dictatorship and for democracy, but it seems to me that this perspective is misleading and that it is worth looking at the situation in Kazakhstan from a different, non-European angle. We tend to see the roots of the revolutionary events in the bad mood related to poverty and the lack of reforms in the authoritarian state, which drives people to the extreme and to the streets. Apart from what can be seen with the naked eye and what is difficult to question, there is an even deeper level, which is the logic of the people living there. In any Central Asian society, clan and family relations are more important than political divisions or material differences.

Continue reading