Voices from Russia

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dissent Denied: “Emergency” US State Law to Silence Protesters


New laws intended to punish those exercising their constitutional right to disagree with existing legislation and policy will now see possible fines of up to 1 million USD (58.1 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 64.3 million INR. 1.37 million CAD. 1.35 million AUD. 910,000 Euros. 770,000 UK Pounds) in the US state of Oklahoma after legislators rushed “emergency” anti-protest laws into effect. The new laws allow for increased fines on those found guilty in Oklahoma of engaging in protest actions that result in the damage of infrastructure, especially oil and gas equipment. They also include a new wrinkle, in which the state could fine those who support, or “conspire” (in the terms of the bill), with the protest up to one hundred times the amount levied on the guilty party. The new statutes allow fines for up to 10,000 USD (581,000 Roubles. 6,900 Renminbi. 643,000 INR. 13,700 CAD. 13,500 AUD. 9,100 Euros. 7,700 UK Pounds) against anyone found guilty of simply intending to destroy infrastructure. The state can assess fines up to 100,000 USD (5.81 million Roubles. 690,000 Renminbi. 6.43 million INR. 137,000 CAD. 135,000 AUD. 91,000 Euros. 77,000 UK Pounds) if protestors actually do real damage. However, the real kicker is a 1 million USD fine for any person or organisation found to be supporting an activist found guilty, including, ostensibly, human rights groups or medical, legal, and logistical assistance at the protest site.

The laws are in direct correlation with increased attempts across America to stymie any dissent against new petrochemical infrastructure, including pipelines and fracking wells. Considered a major oil and gas transfer hub for much of the USA, Oklahoma has a long history of its state government acting as a front for oil companies. According to The Intercept, the town of Cushing OK (the so-called “Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World”) and surrounding regions saw a striking rise in earthquakes during the fracking boom due to the pumping of a toxic mix of wastewater and chemicals directly into the ground. The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association is a vocal supporter of the new legislation.

Many are suspicious of the loose wording of the new Oklahoma anti-protest laws, however. Doug Parr, a lawyer who has represented several environmental activists in Oklahoma, told The Intercept that the statute’s claims are too broad:

Say they lock themselves to a piece of construction equipment, and a claim can be made that there were damages from that trespass. Does this statute create a civil action for a pipeline company to then go after a person or organisation that posted a bond or helped pay for a lawyer for that civil disobedience? Those organising peaceful actions of civil disobedience can now be heavily penalised if any attendee chooses to take on a solo act, such as spray-painting a message on a wall. Suppose an organisation decides they want to support a perfectly legal, no civil disobedience, action. Somebody in that crowd, who came to the protest at the request of that organisation, then jumps the fence and runs in there, and spray-paints on a storage tank, “This equipment causes earthquakes. Shut it down”. These statutes could be used to attack that organisation and impose financial liability on them.

The Sierra Club’s Oklahoma head, Johnson Bridgwater, pointed out the possibly illegal ramifications of the new laws, stating:

We don’t necessarily know everyone who’s attending the events. There’s a strong and real fear that this could be used as an attempt to crush a group or a chapter of Sierra Club unfairly.

Common Dreams identified 19 new anti-protest bills in the USA, as of April 2. Similar legislation in Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota aims directly at civil disobedience actions that seek to stop or limit the expansion of petrochemical operations. Many see new laws in Minnesota and other states as responses to previous protest actions blocking roads and highways after white police killed unarmed black men and women in US cities. Referring to an earlier high-profile action of civil disobedience seeking to shut down the Dakota Access oil pipeline, the Sierra Club’s Bridgwater observed:

We see all of these bills as nothing more than corporate America being fearful of how successful the Standing Rock protests were.

8 May 2017

Sputnik International



Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Belarus Blocked Transit of Gas from Lithuania to the Ukraine

00 natural gas pipeline. 240615


On Thursday, Indra Milinene, spokesman for GTS Klaipedos Nafta, told BNS that Belarus didn’t allow transit of gas from planned LNG terminals to the Ukraine, “Both we and the Ukrainian side are interested in this, we see that there are opportunities for coöperation, but the Belarusian side refused us. We’ll make every effort to deliver LNG to the Ukraine, which, for its part, is also looking for coöperation from Belarus. We could deliver about a billion cubic metres of gas a year to the Ukraine. The Klaipeda LNG terminal could ship the gas through Belarus for transhipment to the Ukraine”. In mid-April, Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis claimed that a Poland-Lithuania gas pipeline could supply gas to the Ukraine. Lithuanian Ministry of Energy is developing changes in energy laws, which will allow Statoil to import gas and sell it whilst it’s still at sea, and not in the pipeline. As we reported earlier, on 4 June Hungary resumed pumping gas to the Ukraine.

21 June 2015

MIG News



This is tied in with John McCain’s vacuous boasts about supplying European and Ukrainian gas needs with notional American supplies. Firstly, American demand totally consumes American production. Secondly, American production has plateaued, and many jurisdictions now ban fracking, which will further reduce production. Thirdly, the storage and transit infrastructure isn’t in place. Fourthly, the drop in oil prices means that energy conglomerates have less to invest in exploration, exploitation, and infrastructure. In short, the Balts and Ukrops are grasping at flimsy reeds.

Now, Belarus bans transit shipments… without which, the American plans fall into the gutter. Aleksandr Grigoryevich has obviously decided that the Ukrops and their Anglo American sugar daddies are going to lose the war. The only way to secure the Belarus gas route is to invade… but Belarus has guarantees from Russia, with Russian forces permanently stationed on its territory. If there’s any chance at all of conflict… it’s here. Yes… the Americans could get desperate if their greedster oligarch paymasters get antsy enough. THIS is where there’s the greatest danger… note well that the stupid American media says nothing of this. It tells you much of their intelligence, doesn’t it? It’s why I hold Dreher, Freddie M-G, Serge Schmemann, Terrence Mattingly, Sofia Kishkovskaya, and Potapov in such contempt. They’re willing whores of the media machine… sworn to tell you untruth, the whole untruth, and nothing but untruth… or they don’t collect their pay packet.

America has never hesitated to go to war over energy in the last 25 years… ponder that… ponder Belarus’ intent to defy the USA. It’s a meaty thought, isn’t it?


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

DNR Mintrans Projects Construction of Natural Gas Supply Grid in Debaltsevo

00 railway debaltsevo. dnr. donetsk pr. 10.06.15


The DNR Ministry of Transport (Mintrans) began work on extending the natural gas supply grid to Debaltsevo, with contractors following plans for construction of a consumer supply grid. A Mintrans source said, “The DNR Mintrans drafted a plan for the construction of a natural gas supply grid in Debaltsevo. We’ll lay an underground pipeline parallel to the Uglegorsk-Debaltsevo rail line”. Mintrans plans for this work to take place in three stages. Firstly, it’ll build a high-pressure gas line. Then, it’d lay medium pressure pad tracks through the city. Lastly, it’d repair and construct consumer distribution systems and install gas control and distribution points. Our source noted, “We plan to convert 54 boilers to natural gas. The end-point of the high-pressure gas supply pipeline would be the locomotive depot in Debaltsevo. Our intent is to connect the projected gas supply pipeline to the existing aboveground pipeline near Kayutino”. Donetskoblgaz will carry out this work. At present, there’s no fixed starting-date or budget estimate for the project.

Debaltsevo is the largest railway junction in the DNR, connecting in multiple directions. Its railway depot repairs wheel-sets, manufactures rolling stock, and has an automated control system in its marshalling yards. Despite its strategic importance, the city didn’t have connections to the natural gas supply grid. DNR forces liberated Debaltsevo on 18 February. When the junta militants retreated, they did their best to sabotage communications and transportation lines, including the railway junction. The heavy fighting destroyed some 80 percent of the buildings in the city. The DNR has made restoring public utilities in Debaltsevo one of its priority tasks.

9 June 2015

DAN Donetsk News Agency


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Ukrainian Economy in the Shitter… The Truth About Russian Gas Shipments to Novorossiya

00 gas pipeline. russia. 19.02.15


A brief article published by The Financial Times suggested that fresh data published on Wednesday provided a new testimony to the depth of the abyss that the Ukrainian economy was rolling into, noting, “The Ukrainian economy is in tatters. New data out today underscores the extent of the Ukraine’s economic carnage”. Specifically, it said that industrial production collapsed by nearly one-fifth just in January, and was now down 21.3 percent versus the same period of 2014. The FT wrote, “Economists ‘only’ expected a 15 percent month-on-month contraction in industrial production. Disrupted transportation infrastructure, rocketing energy costs, and fuel shortages clobbered industrial production, along with a collapsing currency and outright civil war in the Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartlands (sic). […] This is just the latest grim data point for the Ukrainian economy, which the IMF estimates shrank by about 7.5 percent last year. The last quarter was particularly grim, with GDP contracting a staggering 15.2 percent from a year ago”. FT said that unless the recent cease-fire holds and Kiev receives hefty slugs of western aid soon, 2015 might prove almost as gloomy.


On Thursday, citing Magyar Minister-President Viktor Orbán, Bloomberg reported that Hungary wouldn’t resell Russian natural gas to the Ukraine. Orbán also said that Hungary wouldn’t support the EU’s initiative to create an energy union, saying, “The plan would require involving the EU in bilateral relationships. For us, this would be abdicating our sovereignty”. Hungary is also going to sign a new gas deal with Gazprom, which would stipulate Russian natural gas supplies for five years, and Gazprom is ready to increase gas storage volumes in Hungary. Currently, Hungary pays 260 USD (16,094 Roubles. 1,625 Renminbi. 16,152 INR. 325 CAD. 332 AUD. 228 Euros. 168 UK Pounds) per 1,000 cubic metres of gas compared with an estimated 270 USD (16,714 Roubles. 1,688 Renminbi. 16,772 INR. 338 CAD. 345 AUD. 237 Euros. 175 UK Pounds) average in Europe. Experts polled by TASS said that Gazprom might agree to Hungary’s proposal to sign a short-term gas deal along with extending a contract on Russian natural gas supplies to Hungary, which expires in 2015. A source close to Gazprom told TASS that the negotiations on extending Gazprom’s gas contract with Hungary are now at an initial stage; they’d take into account the wishes of both parties, as well as the parameters agreed during President V V Putin’s visit to Hungary. During Putin’s visit to Budapest on 17 February, the sides agreed that it was possible to give up the “take or pay” principle in gas supplies and reduce the volume of obligatory gas intake under the contracts.


On Thursday, Gazprom CEO A B Miller said, “In line with currently-acting sale and purchase agreements between Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy, starting from 16.00 MSK (05.00 PST. 08.00 EST. 13.00 UTC. 23.00 AEST) 19 February 2015 Gazprom will supply 12 million cubic metres of gas a day to the Ukraine, via gas measuring units at Prokhorovka and Platovo”. Earlier, Chairman of the RF Government D A Medvedev gave orders to provide assistance to Debaltsevo and other places in Novorossiya facing a humanitarian crisis. Medvedev said, “There’s still another problem about gas supplies… by decision of the Ukrainian authorities, in any case, by a decision that hasn’t yet been cancelled, and as a result of their actions, gas isn’t supplied to many populated areas [in Novorossiya]. Despite the need for gas supplies, this isn’t taking place. I’d like the Energy Ministry to prepare proposals jointly with Gazprom on providing humanitarian aid gas supplies for the needs of these regions, unless someone takes urgent measures for their provision with gas using the customary scheme”. Meanwhile, Medvedev aide Natalia Timakova said, “Gazprom will supply gas to [Novorossiya] as humanitarian aid on a commercial basis. We’re determining the sources of financing”. A source familiar with the situation said financing would most likely involve a loan.


On Thursday, I V Plotnitsky, Chairman of the LNR Government, told the media that Russian gas has started flowing to the LNR and DNR, saying, “The gas is flowing, everything’s fine. No problems at the moment”. As Kiev discontinued gas supplies to the region, without emergency supplies, neither the LNR nor the DNR had enough gas to last until Friday morning.

19 February 2015


Sputnik International





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