Russia’s Chelyabinsk hosted the II Forum of the Heads of Regions of the SCO Member States

On Septemper 29, Chelyabinsk, a Russian city in the South Urals has become a platform for hosting the II Forum of the Heads of Regions of the SCO Member States. The decision was made after the Declaration at the XX Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Dushanbe was signed.

The Forum’s Plenary session was moderated by Alexander Kalinin, President of OPORA Of RUSSIA. The participants of the event discussed the mechanisms for implementing the Program for the Development of Interregional Cooperation of the SCO Member States.

According to Alexander Kalinin, the Forum is gaining its momentum and is becoming an increasingly popular platform.

“The importance of the Forum was noted in the final declaration of the SCO summit, which was recently held in Dushanbe and was dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the organization. Today, it is very important to develop interregional cooperation between the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. After all, these are direct contacts between various regional authorities and businesses of the SCO member states. This makes it easy to build joint projects, removing all sorts of barriers to economic development. The key to success is the joint work of the government, business and citizens of our countries. The Forum contributes to this in every way, ”said Alexander Kalinin.

Delegations from China (Chongqing city, Shandong province and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) and Pakistan (Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Punjab) took part in the forum via videoconference.

Representatives of Uzbekistan (Navoi region), Kazakhstan (Turkestan, North Kazakhstan and Akmola regions), the Kyrgyz Republic (Issyk-Kul region), Tajikistan (Sughd region) and India joined the event in online and offline formats.

The participants of the Plenary session discussed the ways to increase the efficiency of cooperation within the Forum and projects of the regions of the SCO countries. They also shared their experience in the development of foreign economic activities in their regions. The result of the Forum was an agreement to consolidate efforts in fighting the pandemic consequences and to increase cooperation in such spheres as agriculture, international security as well as culture, education and international diplomacy.

Kiev Cross Procession unites thousands of supporters of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine

Photo: RIA Novosti

The Procession of the parishioners and priests of the Ukraine Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) held on July 27 in Kiev to mark the 1033th anniversary of Christianization of Rus’ gathered about 100 thousand of participants.

According to journalists covering the event, there were actually a lot more people. This only shows that most Ukrainians support and recognize the Moscow Patriarchate Orthodox Church of Ukraine, not the Kiev Patriarchate Church, which many experts consider as self-proclaimed.

Meanwhile, the journalists also reported that some Procession participants carried posters criticizing Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who founded the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, causing the schism in the Orthdox Church Institution in Ukraine.

Earlier, during the briefing, Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, the Secretary for Inter-Orthodox Relations of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, said that this year the procession would be dedicated to the “idea of ​​loyalty to the Church”. According to him, for the Ukraine Orthox Church “this is a very important issue today,” since the canonical Church in Ukraine “is being discriminated by the authorities and attacks of extremists who are trying to tear away parishes from it and seize churches.”

The Christianization of Russia took place in 988. Today, it is celebrated among Russian Orthodox believers on July 28. In the Orthodox church calendar, this is the day of remembrance of the Great Prince Vladimir (960-1015), who initiated the Christianization of Russia.

Could the SPIEF boost the TurkStream flows?

Putin and Erdogan open TurkStream gas pipeline

The Saint Petersburg Economic Forum to be held in Russia on June 2-5 is the first post pandemic global event that is focused to gather international delegations from the U.S., Germany, Italy, China, South Asia and the Middle East.

With the Forum’s main focus on energy and sustainable development, Russia aims to boost international trade ties and attract investments to its economy. And Turkey could be among most prospective partners for Russia following the SPIEF ambitions. Today Ankara’s major interest is to provide permanent gas flows through the Turkish Stream. On the other side, Turkey, a NATO’s member, has been manipulated by the United States for years following Washington’ efforts to sign a deal with Ankara on U.S. natural compress gas (GNC).

However, the recent tensions between Biden and Erdogan on Ankara’s recognition of the atrocities committed against the Armenian people in 1915 as genocide as well as the recent criticism of Erdogan towards the U.S. on the Gaza-Israeli conflict have been a sore spot between the countries placing their further economic and political cooperation in question.

This explains why Turkey has been seeking a closer cooperation with Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to support the Turkish Stream supplies. The pipeline, which transits the Black Sea, took five years to complete and is one of two major new natural-gas export routes totaling nearly $20 billion. Russia on its parts also expects to go on line this year and the SPIEF is likely to become a platform for developing further economic cooperation and trade ties between Turkey and Russia.

Kharkiv Mayor’s death at Charité raises questions among political experts

Photo credit: APA

On December 17 Kharkiv City Mayor Hennadiy Kernes died at the Charité clinic in Berlin where he was receiving treatment for Covid-19.  Despite the official clinic’s report, some political experts say his death was quite mysterious while at the same time questioning Kernes legitimacy as a mayor.  

Earlier in September, Kernes was transferred to Germany over a deteriorating health condition. He was placed in the intensive care unit of Berlin’s Charité clinical center. While he was under treatment, Kharkiv City Council had to repeatedly deny rumors of his death. On November 4, Kernes was officially declared Mayor of Kharkiv with getting 195,044 votes (60,3 %). German economist Andres Aslund questioned in his tweet if Kernes was still alive when he was reelected.

Besides, the place of Kernes’s death also leaves questions with no answer.

“Charité” (French) means “charity” or “mercy”. The clinic is known far beyond Germany. The hospital, founded in 1710 as a plague infirmary, is currently a multidisciplinary medical center, where patients with a wide variety of diseases are treated. The hospital complex has about 3000 beds in total. It employs 13,000 employees and treats over 800,000 outpatients and inpatients annually.

Apart from ordinary citizens, the Charité Hospital is a primary choice for many celebrities from all over the world. It’s no secret that many rich and famous patients, for example, from Russia or Saudi Arabia, privately receive medical care here. Among the Charité’s patients were Merkel, Steinmeier, Tymoshenko and other. It is especially popular among former USSR leaders who chose the pro-Western course. Recently, the Hospital’s name has been in headlines because of the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny who received treatment there over supposedly poisoning (according to the Charité’s clinic report). But while Kernes, according to Kharkiv City Council reports, was getting better and even won elections, Charité, despte its claims on best medicine technologies, was helpless to Kernes. On the contrary, Navalny who reportedly spent quite a long time in coma was healed amazingly quickly.

Some experts believe that’s no coincidence. Known for its affiliations with politicians, the Charité doctors could have been careless for Kernes as the West might have written his off, while Navalny still poses the interest for pro-Western powers. But that’s already conspiracy theories.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization develops efficient collaboration despite COVID-19 tough conditions

On November 30, 2020, the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the SCO member states held a videoconference meeting.  

SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov in his speech stressed that despite tough conditions of the coronavirus pandemic, organization members could continue the course to strengthen trade, economic and humanitarian relations by the SCO countries, improve the mechanisms of cross cooperation and increase the international authority of the Organization.

Following the SCO summit held on November 10, the member states confirmed their commitment to joint work to overcome the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, including a number of important initiatives aimed at establishing direct ties between medical institutions, cooperation in combating poverty, food security, industrial and energy cooperation, the development of digital literacy, as well as support for small businesses.

In this regard, V. Norov, suggested holding preliminary expert meetings for a substantive study of the goals and objectives of the initiatives put forward. He stressed the importance of continuing the practice of holding meetings of the Consortium of Economic Analytical Centers in conjunction with meetings of heads of government, and also noted the initiative to launch a new platform – the SCO Economic Forum.

Andrew Sheng, the expert of the University of Hong Kong’s Asia Global Institute believes, that a focus on developing domestic consumption will be important for China as its economy recovers. “China,” he says, “has come to the so-called Ford moment where if you pay your employees and treat them better, they will buy your national product. Domestic consumption will be a key growth driver for China, but it must be environmentally friendly “.

The foreign expert community summarized that the SCO is an active member of international relations. It makes significant investments in ensuring peace and security, settlement of international and regional conflicts exclusively through diplomacy. The SCO member states advocate the formation of a multipolar world order based on generally accepted principles of international law and equal international relations.

At present, the SCO acts as one of the pillars of the emerging world order. The participating countries will continue the vector and will deepen the political dialogue. Further contacts and cooperation on a wide range of issues with other countries and international organizations that are not members of the SCO are being promoted. At the same time, the number of countries wishing to participate in the SCO is growing every year.