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MPs warn of negative consequences for Russian economy in event of Iraq war

Moscow, 10 January:[State] Duma Deputy Chairman Vladimir Lukin (Yabloko faction) and Communist leader Gennadiy Zyuganov believe that a possible US attack on Iraq will have negative consequences for the Russian economy.

Lukin said in an interview with Interfax that this military operation might have "negative, but temporary consequences" for the Russian economy. "Oil prices could sharply rise, but then they are sure to go down again," he said. In any case, the oil price will stabilize at 22-28 dollars per barrel, which is acceptable to Russia, he said.

Lukin believes that chances that force will be used against Iraq are 50-50 at this point. "I do not agree with those who are confident that an attack against Iraq is inevitable," he said.

"It is necessary to take into account the fact that the UN inspectors have not found anything in Iraq that confirms the presence of weapons of mass destruction there," Lukin said. However, the Americans are not taking this circumstance into account and keep saying that they know Iraq does possess such weapons, he said. "If you know, then show us where they are. All this 'we know it because we know it' talk is not a reason for a normal trial. It is enough for a Lynch trial, but not enough for a civilized trial," Lukin said.

From a political point of view, Russia is unlikely to significantly influence the USA if the US administration does decide to use force, he said. "However, we have to see to one thing here: whether the action will be conducted under the aegis of the UN or not," he said. "If the USA begins unilateral actions, naturally we will protest, but we have to admit that we will not be able to really do anything," Lukin said.

Communist leader Gennadiy Zyuganov said the war on Iraq would mean "a complete economic collapse for the united Europe and a default for Russia".

"If the price for a barrel of oil falls to 15 dollars, the worst possible scenarios will ensue, not only in our country, but also on the global economy," Zyuganov told Interfax on Friday [10 January].

The European countries will become fully dependent on the USA, and Japan, as well as some other countries, will have serious problems, he said. "From Kashmir to Tel-Aviv everything may turn into a bleeding ulcer," he said.

For this reason, Russia should pursue an independent policy, he said. "We are not going to quarrel with anybody, with Europe or America, or our neighbours in the east - but the Americans' attempt to impose a policy of dictating to the entire planet will get them into quarrels with everybody," Zyuganov said.

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