"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

Russia To Protect Agriculture Interests in WTO Talks; Ag Minister Gordeyev Will Attend FAO Summit

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday told First Deputy PM Victor Zubkov and Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev that they must pay special attention to protecting Russian agricultural producers' interests, especially during talks on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, RBC financial newswire reported. Putin also said that Russia must form an effective trade policy, create a system of monitoring agricultural prices, and means of reacting to price fluctuations, as well as promoting promote better living conditions in Russia's rural areas and villages.

In this second forceful intervention on agriculture policy in the space of a week, Putin was addressing the newly formed Presidium of the Council of Ministers, the Russian cabinet. Gordeyev, who is a member of the Presidium, said that he will be participating in the UN Food and Agriculture (FAO) conference in Rome, June 3-5, where he will deliver a report on Russia's response to the food crisis.

Both Gordeyev and Putin have made clear that Russia will use subsidies and protective trade measures--measures that go against the "free trade" rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that Russia is still attempting to join--to defend food production as a matter of national security. The Schiller Institute's Helga Zepp-LaRouche has launched an international mobilization identifying the WTO as one of the major {causes} of the international food crisis, and calling for the FAO to break with the free trade approach in pursuit of doubling world food production.

Putin has also asked for introduction of a bill on trade regulation before the end of the week, according to the government press office. This decision was made on the basis of the May 19 conference on Russian agricultural policy, which he and Gordeyev both addressed. Putin has commissioned several ministries and other government agencies to take the measures needed to carry out the agricultural development policy for 2008-12, and told them they have to report their results to the government once every quarter.

At the May 19 conference, held in Yessentuki in Russia's "black earth" southern grain belt, Putin had declared food security, food price stabilization, and development of the agriculture and agro-industrial sectors to be a top priority of his government. He said that Russia could become food self-sufficient and a food exporter. Gordeyev reported on what has been done to date, to reverse the deep collapse of Russian food production during the radical free-market liberalization of the 1990s.

{EIR} weekly reports these new Russian government moves in detail, in its May 30 issue.