Russia wields hard power over Armenia

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June, sparking global outrage and a wave of protests demanding a boycott of the Games, which will be held in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi in February. There’s no sign of athletes staying away but others big names are distancing themselves from the event. Just this week pop singer Cher said she had refused an invitation to perform because of Russia’s anti-gay stance. Related: Bars worldwide boycott Russian vodka over anti-gay laws Putin said in an interview on state television in September that gay people would not be discriminated against at the Sochi Games. But that appears at odds with statements made by government officials that the anti-gay propaganda law will be enforced. The legislation gives authorities the power to impose fines as well as detain foreigners who are deemed to have breached the law before deporting them. Four Dutch tourists reportedly making a film about gay rights in Russia were arrested under the law in July. The other big Olympic sponsors are Visa ( V , Fortune 500 ), Samsung ( SSNLF ), Panasonic ( PCRFF ), General Electric ( GE , Fortune 500 ), Dow Chemical ( DOW , Fortune 500 ), Procter & Gamble ( PG , Fortune 500 ), Omega ( OCFN ) and Atos ( ATOS ). They’re staying tight-lipped about the issue in public but a senior official at the International Olympic Committee said this month that several had raised concerns about how the law could affect the Games. “I have heard a lot from the sponsors, especially the American sponsors, of what they are afraid of might happen,” IOC marketing commission chairman Gerhard Heiberg said. “I think this could ruin a lot for all of us,” he added, saying the IOC would enforce its rules against demonstrations. Related: Olympics win boosts Japan stocks A spokesperson for Coca-Cola said the company has been “straightforward in our many discussions with the IOC about our expectations regarding safety and security [at the Games] …and will continue to engage directly with the IOC on this paramount priority.” Companies pay an estimated $100 million to become a major Olympic sponsor. They also pump in massive additional investment to support related marketing campaigns.

russia olympic rings

The Russian premier was speaking during a media interaction with editors attending the 15th General Assembly of Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies(OANA) here. Noting that Russia has very “purposeful” relationship with India, he said, “we would like to advance this relationship in various fields including by having technical cooperation.” “We have done in the past and would continue to do so,” Medvedev said, adding, “We are interested in further developing and consolidating our strategic partnership with India.” According to an earlier plan, KNPP-I was supposed to go on stream by the end of August, but missed the target due to a technical snag. The Unit-I had achieved criticality on July 13. The second unit is expected to go on stream by June next year. KNPP Units one and two are VVER-1000 type reactors being set up with technical cooperation from Russia. Kudankulam is a 2,000 MW project comprising the two units each of which will generate 1,000 MW power. There is a plan to set up four more units of 1,000 MW each. Once those are ready, the Kudankulam plant will have six reactors in all. For commissioning the third and fourth units, talks between the governments of India and Russia are in an advanced stage. Besides Indo-Russian relations, Medvedev also spoke about the situation in Syria, Russia’s ties with Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS) and countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Medvedev described the situation in Syria as “very complicated” and said it should be allowed to find out a peaceful solution to the crisis on its own. “External interference is not acceptable. We will never support it,” he said in an apparent reference to US moves to carry out strikes in Syria.

Russia wants to consolidate strategic ties with India: Medvedev

But on Sept. 3 right in the middle of the Syria crisis the Armenian government abruptly declared that it would drop the whole project. Rather than aligning itself with the worlds largest free-trade zone and some of the worlds most sophisticated democracies, Armenia decided to stick with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and opted to join the Eurasian Customs Union . No one pretends that Armenia was attracted by Russias soft power. By way of explanation, President Serzh Sargsyan has said that Armenia depends on Russia for its security and that Armenia has a large diaspora living in Russia . This sounds odd: Most security alliances, NATO included, do not require their members to join a customs union, and the presence of immigrants in one country doesnt usually affect trade policy in another. But Armenia has been made anxious in recent weeks by Russian diplomatic overtures to Azerbaijan , Armenias main rival, as well as by anti-immigrant rhetoric from Russian officials . The Armenians took the hint: If they signed the trade deal with Europe, Russia might sell more arms to their rival and expel the Armenians who live in Russia. The Armenians were no doubt watching Russian moves elsewhere in their immediate neighborhood, where a distinct pattern is emerging. On Sept. 11, Russia banned the import of Moldovan wine on the grounds that it is a health hazard. Ukrainian chocolates have suffered the same fate . Another old tactic, the use of gas pricing and supply as a tool of political influence , is being resurrected in Ukraine. In essence and Im summarizing here the Russians have let the Ukrainians understand that if they drop their own negotiations with Europe and join the Eurasian Customs Union, the price of gas they import from Russia could drop by more than half.