Voices from Russia

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






Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Grivna in Free Fall

01 money down toilet


After a short delay, the forex rate of the Ukrainian national currency continues to fall. On Monday, the exchange rate for Grivna to the USD in the interbank market reached 13.22 to 1. The National Bank of the Ukraine (NBU) is finding it increasingly difficult to contain the falling forex rate, as its foreign exchange reserves are on the verge of exhaustion. Back in early August, when the forex rate of the Grivna was rapidly falling, the NBU mobilised a significant part of their reserves to mitigate this process. The NBU explained that it did this “to mitigate the negative impact of situational-emotional factors on the Grivna’s forex rate, and in the absence of actual market participants in the sale of foreign currency”. Moreover, the weakening contributes to a growing demand for foreign currency from Naftogaz, which in September will have to make payments on about 2 billion USD (72.16 billion Roubles. 2.18 billion CAD. 2.14 billion AUD. 1.5 billion Euros. 1.2 billion UK Pounds) worth of Eurobonds.

19 August 2014

Russkaya Vesna


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ex-Ukrainian PM Timoshenko to Go to Germany for Medical Treatment (Ha, Ha… I’ll Betcha it’s Because Things are Going South for the Putsch and Merkel Wants to Save Yuliya’s Bacon!)

00 TImoshenko cartoon. 25.02.14


Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko said that she intended to go to Germany for medical treatment. During a telephone conversation with Timoshenko on Sunday, German Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel invited her to come to Germany for treatment at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. On 11 October 2011, a Ukrainian court sentenced Timoshenko to seven years in prison for having acted in excess of her powers, which resulted in damage to national interests. The court barred Timoshenko from holding public office for three years, and she had to pay a fine of 189 million USD (6.72 billion Roubles. 210 million CAD. 210 million AUD. 138 million Euros. 114 million UK Pounds) in damages to Naftogaz Ukrainy. She also faced charges of financial abuses in the United Energy Systems of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Genprokuratura filed a lawsuit demanding compensation of 19.5 million gryvnia (80 million Roubles. 2.23 million USD. 2.47 million CAD. 2.48 million AUD. 1.63 million Euros. 1.34 million UK Pounds) from Timoshenko in this case. In late December 2011, the authorities transferred Timoshenko from a remand prison to a corrective labour colony in Kharkov Oblast. She fell ill on 18 August 2011, two weeks after her arrest {how convenient: editor}. She insisted that independent doctors look at and treat her. On 9 May 2012, she entered the Kharkov Railway Hospital for medical treatment. The opposition demanded that the government set Timoshenko free so that she could go abroad for medical treatment. Last week, the Rada freed Timoshenko from prison.

25 February 2014

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Methinks that things are going south for the putschists… Yuliya’s going to Germany to escape the consequences of the collapse of the putsch. Yuliya’s a landshark… she wouldn’t leave unless she smelt trouble ahead. I wonder how much of the Ukrainian treasury she’s taking with her. The coup troika (KlichkoTyagnibok, and Yatsenyuk) are the Keystone Cops, Three Stooges, and Cheech n’ Chong rolled up into one sorry-ass package. Yuliya’s getting out whilst the getting’s good. They haven’t nicked Yanukovich, nor have they tamped down the revolt in the Crimea  and Sevastopol. The West is going to regret having backed these idiots… silly wabbits…

Besides, Yuliya needs new Botox injections and plastic surgery. Her greed is only exceeded by her vanity…


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Monday, 24 February 2014

Medvedev Doubts Legitimacy of New Ukrainian Government

00 Potemkin Village. 24.02.14


On Monday, Chairman of the Government Dmitri Medvedev said that “substantial doubts” existed over the legitimacy of the new acting government in the Ukraine. Medvedev attacked the swift recognition of the new authorities in Kiev by a number of Western governments, describing the régime as the unconstitutional outcome of an armed uprising, saying, “Strictly speaking, there’s nobody to speak with over there. The legitimacy of a whole range of organs of power working there raises substantial doubts. Some of our foreign partners think otherwise. I don’t know what constitution they’ve read, but it’s aberrational when you describe as legitimate something that’s the result of an armed uprising”. Moscow moved to formulate a clear diplomatic position on the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who was pro-Russian, following days of deadly clashes between police and anti-government rioters in Kiev that left nearly 100 dead. President Vladimir Putin has yet to make any public pronouncements on the change of government in the Ukraine. Medvedev said that Russia would adhere to all existing agreements with the Ukraine, including those on energy, noting, “We don’t co-operate with a specific set of people, or specific personalities, these are interstate relations. We’re neighbours, we’re nearby states, and we can’t get away from one another”.

On Monday, the acting Ukrainian energy minister told Reuters that he hoped the price it pays for Russian natural gas imports would remain unchanged despite the change of government. Gazprom agreed with Naftogaz Ukrainy in December to slash the price that Ukraine paid since 2009 by about one-third, from about 400 USD (14,200 Roubles. 443 CAD. 443 AUD. 292 Euros. 241 UK Pounds) per 1,000 cubic metres (35,315 cubic feet) to 268.50 USD (9,525 Roubles. 297 CAD. 297 AUD. 196 Euros. 162 UK Pounds) per 1,000 cubic metres. This followed Yanukovich’s rejection of an association agreement with the European Union in November in favour of closer ties with Moscow, the event that triggered the street protests in Kiev. More than half of the 55 billion cubic metres (1.943 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas consumed by the Ukraine each year comes from Russia.


On Monday, Konstantin Dolgov, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID) Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law, said that Moscow would closely scrutinise a Ukrainian draft law banning Russian as an official language. The legislative proposal follows the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich over the weekend and already aroused concerns that a surge of nationalism in the former Soviet nation could unfairly marginalise the substantial ethnic Russian community. Dolgov said, “Any political reforms, including constitutional reforms, must take into account the interests of all Ukrainian citizens”. On Sunday, Ukrainian media reported that the Rada was considering a draft law establishing Ukrainian as the only official state language. Currently, Russian is an official language in oblasts where at least 10 percent of the population is Russian-speaking. Just under half of Ukrainian oblasts meet that standard. The country is split between the Ukrainian-speaking West and the Russian-speaking East, although many speak both or a mixture of the two known as “surzhik”.

Yanukovich’s base of support was in the East, whilst the protest movement, which also includes a notably rabid nationalist element, drew most of its impetus from the West. Yanukovich, who won the presidency with 48.9 percent of the vote in 2010, had a poor command of Ukrainian. In December, Yanukovich agreed to a financial aid package from Russia to defuse the crisis in what was widely seen as a foreign policy coup for Moscow. With Yanukovich’s removal from power, Moscow signalled that it might shelve that deal, and Western leaders scrambled Monday to assemble a replacement.


On Monday, the MID said that the new Ukrainian government aims to use “dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods” to suppress opposition in disloyal regions. The MID expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the Rada’s actions, saying that lawmakers “churn out ‘decisions’ and ‘laws’, including those designed to infringe on the rights of Russians and other national minorities in the Ukraine. [The new leadership] aims to use dictatorial and sometimes terrorist methods to suppress disloyal citizens in various regions of the Ukraine. Some want to introduce an almost complete ban on the Russian language, bring about lustration, abolish parties and organisations, close disloyal media, and drop restrictions on dissemination of neo-Nazi ideology”.

The MID also expressed its “extreme concern” about recent “armed clashes between aggressive youths [or] militants from ultra-right nationalist organisations and security forces defending peaceful citizens and the interests of the state. These militants refuse to disarm; they refuse to leave the streets de facto under their control, to free administrative buildings, or to stop the violence”. The MID also called for constitutional reform in line with the recent reconciliation agreement signed shortly before the Rada impeached Yanukovich, observing, “It’s evident that for reform to be successful all political forces and all regions of the country should take part; then, they should put it up to a vote in a nationwide referendum”.

 24 February 2014





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