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    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Chavez and "Mu amigo Putin" with the Anti Yanqui Roadshow on Tour

    My old friend Vagit Alekperov was quite excited to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on his 4th Presidential visit to Russia this week helping to improve relations and oil the wheels of the world energy trades, especially in South America.

    On his second visit to Volgograd (he was made an honorary Cossack last time) Hugo laid a wreath at Mamayev Kurgan, the landmark monument to the battle of Stalingrad.Mamayev Kurgan literally means Hill of Mamai, named after a medieval commander of the Tatar Golden Horde. The 52 metre statue "Mother Motherland Calls" is the centrepiece of a memorial complex commemorating the 1942/3 Battle of Stalingrad.

    Flying in from Belarus where he had forged a "new friendship" with Alexander Lukashenko, the hardline president, and fellow Anti American crusader, he was met by Volgograd Governor Nikolai Maksyuta, met Chavez at the airport, and fellow Cossacks greeted him with bread, salt and vodka- which he gulped off a glass held on a sabre to the sound of Accordians.

    It was on an earlier visit in 2001, that the Volgograd region and Venezuela's Bolivar State signed a joint agreement and hoped to do deals for food and tractors and student exchanges. The tractor plant which Hugo visited also makes tanks and other military hardware.

    LUKoil and Gazprom have footholds in Venezuela, (see previous paosts) having struck deals with state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela to prospect for oil and gas in the country.He also met Dmitry Pumyansky, chairman of major supplier of pipelines TMK.

    He has a special visit today in Izhevsk, to meet , AK-47 designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, and watch a demonstration of manufacturer Izhmash's latest assault rifles. Rumours claim he has placed an order for 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, and a licence to build a Kalashnikov factory in Venezuela, He should also be meeting Udmurtia President Alexander Volkov.

    From there the Chavez Roadshow will move on to Moscow for the highlight of the trip (apart from trying to get support for Venezuala to get on the Un Security Council) Chavez will meet President Putin ( Mi amigo Putin)today to ink off the US $1 billion defense deal for 30 Su-30 fighter jets and 30 helicopters.The head of the Venezuelan Air Force, Brigadier General Victor Sanches Croez is in the party and has conducted all the deals with state arms trader Rosoboronexport, calling it a "locomotive of sorts that will lead to cooperation in energy, tourism and other sectors, which have never figured in our relations before."

    The Financial Times points out, that of course arms deals work both ways and points to the American US$3.8bn deal to sell 48 F-16 fighters powered by Pratt & Whitney's F100-PW-229 engine, to Poland in June (there are 1,000 in use by NATO forces).So far Fort Worth based, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co's largest contract ever let in Eastern Europe and won in fierce competition with Europe's Dassault Mirage and the SAAB/BAESystems Grippen.

    Not forgetting of course in light of curent events that Israel, has the world's largest F-16 fleet outside the USAF, and ordered 110 F-16I aircraft, the first was delivered in December 2003. These aircraft have Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engines, Elbit avionics, Elisra electronic warfare systems and Rafael weapons and sensors, including Litening II laser target designator pods.It is these which will be dropping the Boeing Bunker Busters being hastily shipped to Jerulasem.


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