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LOOKING AHEAD
01.04.2009

March 27, 2009 (the date of publication in Russian)

Maxim Kalashnikov

BEHIND RUSSIA'S BACK

Yushchenko and Timoshenko will give "Ukrainian national heritage" to eurocrats

"European partners" didn't miss a cause to demonstrate their true attitude to the RF again. The EU – Ukraine gas summit ended up with another demarche against Moscow. On the one hand, nothing bad happened. The credit, which will be given by Europe to reconstruct gas transport system (€2.5 billion), is a quarter of what is needed to renew 10 thousand kilometers of "strings". And Gazprom didn't take part in the discussion of gas volume which is to be transited over the territory of Ukraine. The announced separation of Ukrtransgaz from Ukrainian Naftogaz will only worsen the situation for Kiev, disabling it to stick into transit benefits to replenish the "holed" budget, which will not increase the stability of the political regime.

On the other hand, anti-Russian subtext of the summit is obvious – and that's why Vladimir Putin defined the decisions, made during the summit, as unreasonable and unprofessional and Russian delegation left the forum right after the declaration was announced. The EU has taken a hostile position to Russia by excluding the country from the process of negotiations and proved the groundlessness of our hopes for "friendship with Europe". European elites will always stand against Russian interests – that lies on genetic level. And I wonder why Moscow does hold to such a hope which is a historically repeated mistake.

It's getting clear that the EU defines Ukraine as a part of a "cordon sanitaire" with Russia. That's why eurocrats decided that the Russian Federation mustn't get any share in Ukrainian GTS. Moreover, Europe is separating Belarus from Moscow, and at the same time Belarus is positioned as another corridor for gas transit to the European Union.

Difficulties also occur on Turkmen direction, where the most promising results seemed to be achieved during last years. When Gazprom's financial abilities decreased, Ashkhabad came back to projects of building gas mains around the territory of Russia. The situation is also worsened by the fact that the latest Russian-Ukrainian crisis fastened the process of Iranian-Turkish rapprochement. Ankara is trying to become Central Asian gas transit country so both Russia and Ukraine will be avoided. Turkey lobbies the project of Nabucco gas main, which is excluded and then again included into the list of privileged EU projects time after time.

 

Eurocrats' strategy on Ukrainian direction is based on plans of taking total control over the country's gas transport system in course of time. Ukrainian "orange" government doesn't mind that at all, though during last years they used to ban Russian access to the Ukrainian GTS motivating it by "not giving national heritage to Muscovites". And now giving GTS under foreign (but, of course, not Russian) concession and administration turns to be a "big achievement" of the official Kiev, but not the "betrayal of national interests". Something like that could have already been noticed in military and political sphere: at the beginning Ukraine proclaimed to be "neutral" and "non-aligned", but then defined it more exactly: this concerns only collaboration with Russia. But for the sake of joining NATO Ukraine is ready to sacrifice both neutrality and national sovereignty.

That way, the regularity is obvious. And so are conclusions we have to make in the situation. In spite of playing with sly Kiev "'elite" we had to collaborate with pro-Russian movements in Donbas, the Crimea and Northern Black Sea territories. Tyahnybok's Bandera-nationalists' success in Western Ukraine proves that Ukrainian electors are sick of old "politicum" to death. Electors vote for radicals.

If Moscow had skillfully supported pro-Russian powers in the South-East of Ukraine, it would have the same success there now. Forcing Kiev to give commercial concessions and lobby Russia's large-scale capital's interests (which now coincides with "orange" ones) was not enough. We had to demand giving the status of the second official language to Russian, protest against the closing of Russian schools, create preferential terms for studying in Russian universities for youth from these regions.

Now many things are missed, a lot of time is lost, but there still is a chance to influence what is going on. Without this any economic games with corrupted Kiev authorities will unavoidably end up with another humiliation for Russia.


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