Russia-Ukraine: Moscow wins PR-war in gas conflict

Robert Amsterdam illustrates how Russia is winning the PR-war in the ongoing gas conflict with Ukraine.


  • valentine akishkin


    Presently, the economic situation in the Ukraine is such that there is no extant affordable price that the country could pay for its gas supplies. With much strain the Ukraine managed to scramble up 1.5 billion dollars and left an outstanding 614 million dollar debt to “Gasprom” for gas supplies in 2008, and that, when the price was slightly over a third of the European.

    Today, the Ukraine is standing on the doorstep of complete financial and economic collapse, exacerbated by the hapless popularity of its president whose rating is nearing President Bush’s “shoe tossing” stance. The collapse of the so called “Orange” coalition is an obvious and indisputable fact and there is no need of any external nudging of which Russia is so often unfairly accused. There is enough folly inside the country to serve the purpose without anybody having to bestow more confusion from aside. Politically, the country is split among groups of warring coalitions none of which have the upper hand or a consolidating idea, and this state of affairs has become a perfect environment for anarchy and arbitrariness.
    The “Gasprom’s” proposal of a 50% discount compared to European prices was turned down as was the salvaging offer of counting the gas debts of 2008 towards a prepayment for transportation expenses for gas intended for European consumers.
    Russia has been often intensively criticized for making exceptionally low prices for former Soviet republics; the Ukraine was always on this short list, although President Yushenko has tread on Moscow’s heels too many times.
    The rein of the “Orange” coalition has committed the Ukraine to political confusion, confrontation, and economic turmoil. Irresponsibility and nihilism have become the main traits of today’s Ukrainian policy. The country has been left without any accreditation that could be recognised as a consolidating factor capable of blending a politically disunited country.
    I fear that very few realize how godforsaken the situation may become should the disruptiveness of the present situation not be dealt with adequate care and attention. Defining the problem as a “row” between Russia and the Ukraine, as it is has been stated in western media, makes things look uncivilized and urges us to forget where the sponsors of “Colour” revolutions come from and what caused the world crisis and consequently affected so drastically the situation in the Ukraine. It was definitely not Russia that has been subsidizing the Ukraine economy with dirt cheap gas prices ever since the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

  • Russia wants to charge European prices for gas while paying sub-European transit fees to transport that gas over 950 km of Ukrainian territory.

    If Russia pays Ukraine only $1.7/Mcm/100 km for transit — while Europe charges up to $3.5/Mcm/100 km — then why should Ukraine pay Russia the average European rate for its gas, $418-$450, as Russia insists?

    Besides, everybody knows that the fall in oil prices will entail a corresponding fall in natural gas prices.

    Undoubtedly, Ukraine should pay European rates for gas. Reciprocally, Russia should pay European rates for transit.

    But why pay more if Russia doesn’t?

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