Continuing our story from yesterday: As we learned, the Russian political establishment, or at least Mikhail Delyagin, believes there was more to Carter Page’s recent trip to Moscow, than just delivering a speech to newly-minted graduates of the Russian Economic School. In his interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda reporter Evgeny Chernykh, Delyagin insinuated that Page was in Moscow for the actual purpose of conducting secret negotiations on behalf of his employer, Donald Trump. As we learned, Page is an important advisor to the Trump presidential campaign, and would probably obtain a key post in a new Trump administration, possibly even a Cabinet position.
Where we left off in our quick bio of Carter Page, he had just returned from Moscow to New York in 2007, having made many important contacts in the Russian oil and gas market; and also in the Russian political elite.
According to Delyagin, the Russian professionals praise Page; whereas the Russian liberal elite do not like him. [yalensis: Presumably because Page is too pro-Russian, therefore one of the “useful idiots” produced by the West.] Delyagin cites opinions of two Russians, both of whom worked in the same Russian filial with Page: Sacher praises the man’s “keen understanding of the interrelationship between politics and energy.” Another man, Aleksashenko calls him “a rookie banker with a very superficial understanding of this country.” But then goes on to diss the latter’s opinion, pointing out that this very same man (=Aleksashenko) was the Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank during the catastrophe which culminated in the 1998 default; and that it took Russia many long and painful years to recover from such an exquisite “understanding of this country”.
Another opinion is that of Sergei Yatsenko, Deputy Head of Gazprom’s Finance and Economics Department. According to Yatsenko: “Page does understand what is going on in Russia, and he doesn’t tolerate the sharp criticisms [of Russia].” Even if this might be an exaggeration (in all likelihood Page is no Kalinka-singing Russophile), it still bespeaks a man who does not follow the Russia-hating herd which infests the American elite. And this is precisely the type of “reasonable capitalist” with which Russians traditionally like to do business. As Delyagin implies, simply “understanding Russia” does not necessarily make a person Russia’s friend or even honorable partner. It could be quite the opposite. [yalensis: An enemy who knows you well, is the worst kind of enemy to have!]
Nonetheless, what we are talking about here is the difference between dangerous idiots who could start a war; and more sensible businessmen, like Page, who have some brains in their heads. And perhaps this is the best that one can even hope for, in such times as we live in.
In 2008 Page founded his own company, which performs consulting services for international investors. He helps capitalists looking to invest in the Russian market; and also Russian capitalists looking to invest in other countries.
Page’s business was directly harmed by Western sanctions against Russia. Very logically, Page came out against these sanctions. And continued to do so, even after joining Trump’s campaign team. Which says something about Trump himself. “It’s all just about business? Nothing personal?” Chernykh asks.
Delyagin: “Page is in favor of a more sensible relationship with Russia. He emphasizes that his position is not an ideological one, but also not a narrowly commercial one either.” Delyagin quotes Page as remarking: “All my evenings and free time I spend, working on ideas, and not just trying to earn an extra dollar.” And indeed, once he became involved in the presidential campaign, Page had to recuse himself from at least one highly lucrative business deal, in order to avoid the conflict of interest.
Hillary vs Trump
While Page was in Moscow, possibly conducting secret meetings with Russian politicians, President Obama officially endorsed (of course) Hillary Clinton as the next President of the U.S. Trump wasted no time blasting the Justice Department’s whitewashing of Hillary’s email scandal. The White House and Clinton clearly used what Russians call “Administrative Resources” in order to clear the way for Hillary.
Delyagin, pointing out that there is no love lost between Hillary and Obama, implies that the latter is afraid for himself and his family, and has to do what he is told, presumably by the enforcers of the “Deep State”. Quoting a catch-phrase from a Russian film: Жить захочешь – не так раскорячишься!, and I am not even sure how to translate into English, a literal translation does not give the right tone (it literally means “you can’t spread your legs like that”, like in the movie the cow is hanging on to the cargo hold of the plane by spreading all 4 legs), maybe something like “If you want to live, then you have to pull yourself together.”
Delyagin: “You know what they say, a man wants to live, he has to pull himself together…. Taking into account the dozens of people who have ended up dying in mysterious circumstances, after getting on the wrong side of the Clinton couple, the lame duck Obama has to think seriously about the future of his own family.” Delyagin however also pointing out, less ominously, that Clinton and Obama belong to the same political party, and thus the President would be forced to support her in any case, against the Republican.
Chernykh: “How do you evaluate the chances of Trump vs. Clinton in the general election? And which outcome is better for Russia?”
[to be continued]