Thursday, January 19, 2006

Passing More Gas. . .(ha ha ha)

A deal that

A) is a betrayal of OR promises for a crusade against corruption and for transparency by involving as corrupt and untransparent an entity as RosUkrEnergo;

B) that gives what is essentially a monopoly to sell natural gas in Ukraine to Gazprom (since Gazprom more or less controls RosUkrEnergo);

C) that assists Gazprom in its effort to acquire the exclusive right to market Central Asian natural gas;

D) and that locks Ukraine out of seeking Central Asian partners in an effort to secure an energy supply with greater autonomy from Russia;
E) and that locks the price charged Gazprom for natural gas transit through Ukraine while giving Gazprom the right to renegotiate and raise the price of gas,


It may be the best deal that could have been hoped for in the situation (although I favored the risk of taking the dispute to an international court), but if that is so, I wish that Yushchenko would now behave more like Yekhanurov is these days.

That is, I wish the president would say things admitting that, while he felt there was no other way out of the impasse, this is not a good deal for Ukraine, and that Ukraine was bullied. I wish he would stop pretending, would stop playing the gentleman, would stop pretending that there is anything like a global free market in energy, and like he did during the OR, I wish that he would talk a lot more like a populist, that he would be more combatative, and in the end, would be more leaderlike. It would be so much more leaderlike and honest and admirable for him to say, "Look, this is the best we could do. This is not a good deal for Ukraine; we did what we could, but we were bullied, backed into a terrible corner."

I may not agree that such is the best that could have been done, but I would admire Yushchenko a great deal more (and so would some of the family with whom I have talked recently in Pidhajtsi), if this was his official line, and not his current defensive one. These are my same old problems with Yushchenko; see this
here. In the end, I hope as I have before, that he will prove the wiser and that I am just an uppity populist always looking for a fight. . .

But like the Socialists (who are emerging once again, as they have in the past, as my favorite overall party in Ukraine, and the more so as they continue to reform their ideology and positions to further resemble a real Social Democratic Party), I did not at all agree with the moves of other supposedly sincere populists to dismiss the government over the gas row. Criticism is indeed deserved, but not to the point of further destabilizing the orange government and of working with anti-orange forces within the country against the YuGov.

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