Russia Opens Case Against Potash Boss, Seeks Extradition

Sent! A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. Join the Nation’s Conversation To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs Ford makes two more SUV models for Russia Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY 1:47 p.m. EDT October 14, 2013 The automaker and its Russian partner will built Edge and EcoSports crossovers in Tatarstan A Ford EcoSport outside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow (Photo: Ford) Ford will make EcoSport and Edge for the Russian market They will be built at plants in Russia Edge is sold in the U.S., but not EcoSport SHARE 6 CONNECT 7 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE Ford and its Russian partner says it is adding a pair of crossover SUVs to the list of vehicles it makes and sells in Russia. The Ford EcoSport SUV will be at the plant that Ford jointly runs with a Russian company called Sollers. Full production begins next year at the plant in Naberezhnye Chelny, Tatarstan. Ford will also bring its Edge crossover to a plant in Elabuga, Tatarstan. Edge is sold in the U.S. but not EcoSport, a smaller SUV. “The Ford EcoSport and Ford Edge, which have proved to be great successes around the world, will give Russian customers two new stylish, fun-to-drive options from Ford’s family of SUVs,” said Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford in a statement on a visit to Russia. Ford and Sollers are already making Ford Explorer SUVs in the Elabuga plant. They have also begun construction of a new $274 million engine plant in Tatarstan and a research center in Moscow.

Militants have previously carried out deadly bombings in Moscow and other parts of Russia outside the mostly Muslim North Caucasus, but specific allegations of plots to attack sites holding weapons of mass destruction in nuclear-armed Russia are almost unheard of. Authorities believe the suspects planned to build a bomb and attack the Maradykovsky chemical weapons storage and disposal facility in the Kirov region, about 1,000 km (620 miles) northeast of Moscow, the Federal Investigative Committee said. “The suspects planned a terrorist attack … that could have risked killing hundreds of people,” it said in a statement. It said the men had traveled north to the remote Kirov area from Moscow to plan the attack and it identified them as followers of Wahhabism – an ultra-conservative branch of Sunni Islam that is practiced in Saudi Arabia and which has become a derogatory term for Islamist radicalism in Russia. Investigators found bomb components and “literature with extremist content” in an abandoned house in the area where the suspects, aged 19 and 21, were living, the committee said. It said the suspects were natives of the North Caucasus, a mountainous southern region not far from the Black Sea city of Sochi, where Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics in February. The region is some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) from Kirov. Insurgent leader Doku Umarov, a Chechen, has urged fighters to use “maximum force” to stop the Olympics taking place. President Vladimir Putin has staked his reputation on the Games and ordered authorities to boost security in the North Caucasus, where the Islamist insurgency is rooted in two post-Soviet wars pitting Chechen separatists against the Kremlin. After suicide bombings that killed dozens in the Moscow subway in 2010 and at a Moscow airport in 2011, Umarov called for more attacks on infrastructure in the Russian heartland, but no other major attacks have occurred outside the North Caucasus. Russia inherited the Soviet Union’s declared stockpile of 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons.

Russia says foils plot to attack chemical arms facility

Belarus said last week that it had started selling potash on its own, but Lukashenko urged the two sides to put the lucrative partnership back together again. The cartel accounted for 40 percent of the world market worth around $20 billion a year. WILL KERIMOV SELL? Baumgertner was initially put in pre-trial detention but later moved to house arrest. Charged with abuse of power and embezzlement, he faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted. Russia’s federal Investigative Committee, which answers to President Vladimir Putin, said it had opened an investigation into Baumgertner on suspicion of abuse of power and would request his extradition. The extradition could save face for Lukashenko, who has said his country could hand over Baumgertner as long as Russia took steps to prosecute him. An extradition would not necessarily lead to a trial, however, and it could reduce pressure on the main owner of Uralkali, Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, to sell his stake so that the cartel can re-form. It would, though, put the asset more firmly in Putin’s hands. There has been intense lobbying by businessmen with past ties to the Russian leader to buy Kerimov’s 21.75 percent stake in Uralkali. With two partners, Kerimov controls a third of the business. Both the Kremlin and Belarus have tried to play down the arrest by suggesting bilateral ties between the Slavic neighbors, allies in Russian-led security and trade groups that are important to Putin, should trump business disputes. But Baumgertner’s return to Russia would remove an irritant in relations and end a situation that critics say is embarrassing for Putin, because it makes him appear powerless to influence even a relatively small and friendly neighbor. Uralkali, which has previously denied Belarus’ accusations against Baumgertner, declined to comment on the Investigative Committee’s statement. But two sources close to Uralkali expressed confidence that the Russian criminal investigation was little more than a cosmetic measure aimed at returning Baumgertner to Russia.