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Legendary Latvian Businessman: Ukraine Will Regret Her EU Association - When It's Too Late

RI special correspondent Alexei Pankin attended the Baltic Forum in Riga, Latvia and concluded:

  • Russia’s turn to the East is a long term strategic decision
  • US propaganda is detached from reality
  • EU destroys the economies of weaker countries
  • There is no end to economic crisis in sight

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The Baltic Forum is a venue where senior politicians and public figures, experts and journalists from around the world come together to discuss the course of world affairs.

Russia pivot to the east

<figcaption>Ilia Gerchikov, the CEO of Dzintars, Latvian cosmetics King</figcaption>
Ilia Gerchikov, the CEO of Dzintars, Latvian cosmetics King

Igor Ivanov, president of the Russian International Affairs Council (INF) immediately shocked the participants.

“From Russia's perspective, the project of a Greater Europe is now over”, he said.  “It would be wrong to assume that this is only temporary. This decision will last for decades.”

Now, Russia turns to the East, he added, She was the eastern border of the Greater Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, now she becomes the western forefront of a Great Eurasia from Shanghai to Minsk.

Western European participants took their time before realizing that it was not just the personal opinion of Mr Ivanov, a former foreign minister and the secretary of the Russian Security Council.

US the exceptional

Former Radio "Svoboda" president Jeffrey Gedmin seemed to be detached from reality. He told everybody what a great country America was. He revealed that the biggest dream of that country is to go quietly about its own business. Unfortunately, the rest of the world keeps asking it to sort out their problems and America, as a true altruist, has no other option but to help. For example, America wishes China the very best and therefore is willing to help China sort out their human rights issues and at the same time protect Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Australia from that same China. Continuing along this line, Geoffrey Gedmin noted the many altruistic actions of America in many countries around the world.

The former chief propagandist of America seemed to sincerely believe his own words, which made even his NATO allies uncomfortable.

The living legend of Latvian industry

A couple of seconds after Latvian representative, Ilia Gerchikov, took the floor, the auditorium fell silent with about-to–pop-outside smokers putting their cigarettes back in their packs. And this is why:

The Chairman gave Mr. Gerchikov the following introduction:

“In the dreadful 90s, when industrial enterprises were shutting down everywhere, there were businesses that were able to maintain their position not only in the domestic market but also in the markets of Ukraine and Russia. Please welcome the living legend, the patriarch of the cosmetics industry of Latvia”.

 In short, Ilia Gerchikov is the chairman of the cosmetics company "Dzintars", whose products are well known, not only in Russia, but throughout the former Soviet Union. The details of his speech are below.

EU fears competition from Russia

The idea of a “European Union “was very appealing at first; a common market of labour and trade for similarly developed countries.Indeed, it was quite convenient to travel on a Schengen Visa without customs declarations and the like. But that was only in the beginning.  It is now apparent what the European Union has grown into. Economic priorities have vanished and political ambitions have moved to the forefront, erasing common sense.

Let’s have a look at the new member-states, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria; are they heading towards prosperity? Currently Angela Merkel, fearful of Russia’s potential success in the Balkans, is desperately trying to recruit such economically underdeveloped countries as Serbia, Montenegro and Albania.  It makes sense only as part of the political game, but why so much interest in them? These countries have no industrial or economic benefits to offer in return for EU membership.

The answer, hiding under the colourful candy wrapping, is quite simple - these countries offer cheap labour and opportunities for market expansion.

When we first joined the EU, we were hoping to improve our standard of living to the level of other EU member countries.

We know how to work, we are not lazy and our people can apply themselves to anything. But let’s assess the benefits we have received from our EU membership. Our industrial complex has been destroyed. There are no jobs. Nothing that would make younger people stay.

Therefore it is possible that in the future, the people of Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria will become disillusioned with the EU and will turn towards Russia. True, Russia is not doing that well, but never the less, better than they are.

No hope for Ukraine

Let’s consider possible outcomes should the Ukraine become part of the EU.

Speaking as an economist and entrepreneur, I can predict that the country will be demolished to the ground. Not because there is no need of its existence, but because it is not competitive. Realistically, the Ukraine should have stayed in the realm of similar countries where it had its value and there was a demand for its goods. There is nothing that the Ukraine can offer Europe. It will be stripped of its agricultural products, the ones deemed reasonable, and that’s unfortunately, pretty much the end of it.

No European fund will allocate the sizable subsidies required to maintain current standards in the Ukraine. It is just not sustainable.  It’s too unrealistic to subsidise a country with a population of 44 million.

Debt lifestyle of the EU

In conclusion, let’stake an objective look at the EU.

Up to the present time, have any of the member states reduced their debt? No. The reality is that their debts have increased. Therefore, the system is not as rosy as it seems, everybody just borrows beyond their ability to repay in order to maintain an unsustainable life style. People don’t earn as much as they borrow.

However, an unsustainable system inevitably leads to a crisis, as happened in 2008 for example. A financial crisis is still a crisis. Inflation went through the roof. There was too much printed paper money going around.

A better future is not going to happen in the short term. We are only at the beginning of the crisis and it is here to stay.

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