October 1, 2014

September: Day by Day. How Russia Unveils its Nuclear Plans

Bohdan Sokolovskyi

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin, has recently promised that by 2020 the Russian Federation will have resumed its nuclear potential. However, it would be nice to clarify what level is meant: that when the Soviet Union signed the relevant agreements, or the level of the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s or 1950s? Such unspecified Rogozin's statement surprises to say the least, and once again proves that the Kremlin policy just cannot do without adventure and bluff. It is no exaggeration to say that here we have the Russian Deputy Prime Minister's amateurishness and being completely misinformed in the military nuclear issues.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy RogozinAlso we can only imagine how misinformed at the same time is the President of the Russian Federation! Note, the country where, in particular, the project of Skolkovo Valley has failed, is already trying to frighten the world with the latest nuclear weapon! This proves once again that the Kremlin has no real analysts, soberly assessing public spending and capabilities for the production and deployment of the latest nuclear weapons. And if such analysts do exist there, they, for some reasons, “do not have access to the body”. And this — at the time when the Russian economy is in stagnation!

Probably, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister hopes for profits from the sale of oil and gas. Does he not remember that such profits are determined not only and not so much by Moscow, and in the first place — by prosperous democratic countries? Now they are joined by China and other nuclear weapons states, and they will not tolerate a new-old armed rival. Ultimately, history has already recorded a recent fact, when the presumptuous Kremlin ordered to make pipelines for the supply of its oil and gas to the West and... miscalculated. The West once carefully “made the USSR addicted to oil and gas drug”, and then having caused a fall of energy-carrier prices, caused an irreparable blow to its economy. Now, on this path, unfortunately, is Russia.

It is obvious that Rogozin was not seriously prepared to publicizing such a declaration, he made ​​it in a hurry, and that is why he yet again demonstrated to the world the Russian thoughtlessness.

It is also clear that the statement was a response to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine V. Geletey's statement about nuclear strikes of the Russians in Luhansk, which helped the same Russians to overcome the psychological barrier in the issue of nuclear weapons. And to the world, it was shown that Ukraine has neither technical capacity nor experts to tell a high-explosive charge from a nuclear one.

Could the world take seriously such a statement of the Kremlin? Of course, it could not.

But Ukraine, unfortunately, has concentrate even more. It actually makes no difference what weapons would be applied against us by Russia-old or new. Anyway the threat does exist! Therefore, Kiev is forced to respond adequately to the Russian nuclear tricks. In this context, it is necessary, first of all, to make impossible any kind of cooperation supporting the Russian nuclear complex. In particular, we should completely block access to the scientific and engineering documentation of relevant institutions in Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, and so on.

The Kremlin Tried to Block the Reverse Supply

Unless the Ukrainian company has signed the Ukrainian gas contract with a gas producer independent from the Russian Federation, the Kremlin's threat regarding its reverse supply will be real.

Now there is an agreement on reverse supply with the Polish, Hungarian and Slovak companies. And even the relevant documents have been signed. This is very right, but at that we should not stop. Now, with the active participation of the European Commission, part of the deal is done — within the framework of the EU legislation has been ensured the transit of gas to Ukraine from European markets. Neither Poland nor Hungary or Slovakia is an exporter of natural gas, or an owner of international gas markets. But they are transiters and consumers of it. They mostly import gas from the Russian Federation. And it is very difficult, almost impossible to prove that the surpluses, re-exported to Ukraine, have non-Russian origin.

In this situation, when the RF blocks reversible delivery, in its own way interpreting the law, we have the only way out — to immediately sign a contract for the supply of gas from non-Russian gas producers. Only in this case, the international community, and most importantly — European lawyers will be able to prove that the Kremlin, as a third party has no right to interfere in any relations of the other two subjects.

The Kremlin Tried to Block the Reverse SupplyMaybe in general it is not bad that Gazprom could not help demonstrating once again its real attitude to Ukraine right now, and not, for example, in November, when it would be impossible to unambiguously decide something with reverse gas supplies. In particular, it would be too late to negotiate and sign gas contracts.

This whole story with blocking of the reverse, once again shows that in relations with the Kremlin, Ukraine should exercise caution and carefully calculate all possible and impossible tricks of Moscow. But in general, it becomes clear once again that it is necessary to do everything to get rid of any exclusive dependence on Moscow.

How the Gas Breakthrough in the Slovak Direction Is Being Made

Only after a certain time ordinary Ukrainians will appreciate the recent real breakthrough, carried out by our state in the gas industry. After all, now has really begun working the reversible circuit of natural gas imports. Thanks to NAK Naftogaz of Ukraine, Government of Ukraine, Slovakia and the EU's leaders, our state is receiving gas through Slovakia. Prior to this, negotiations had been on and off for years, but under the Kremlin's pressure the situation seemed hopeless. Eventually, Europe has given a concrete answer to the Kremlin's “bearish” behavior in the gas issues.

We consume within a year too much gasOf course, now there are talks about the volumes of imports of gas being not enough for our state — 10 billion cubic meters without harm to transit. Really, we consume more than 50 billion cubic meters of gas, and extract 20. But for the beginning it is not bad at all! Ukraine for the first time demonstrates that although it is difficult, we will survive this year without Russian gas.

It is clear, we consume within a year too much gas. By comparison, neighboring Poland (by the area and population nearly equals Ukraine) over a year consumes 14-16 billion cubic meters of gas. While Ukraine consumes 50. Therefore, it is possible to reduce consumption at least to the volumes we produce. And it is necessary to reduce the volume of gas in the total energy balance. And, judging by today's mood and NAK Naftogaz' and the Government of Ukraine's concrete steps, in a few years this can be achieved. Right now we should demonstrate the validity of the reversing circuit. And be sure to emphasize that, in principle, it is technically possible through Slovakia alone to supply up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas. Excluding capabilities of Poland and Hungary.

Of course, on the western border the cost of gas is higher than on the east one. But during the Russian aggression the gas price is not a priority. Especially, when the gas from the West is much cheaper than the one offered to us by Russia.

In response to the specific step of the Ukrainian side on the organization of serious reversible supplies, the Russian Federation, apparently taken aback, only on the 28th of August 2014 managed through the words of the Russian Energy Minister O. Novak (who originates from Donetsk) to absurdly say that in order to guarantee the smooth transit of oil and gas, Naftogaz supposedly has to upload about 10 billion cubic meters of gas in October-November. That is, to increase the volume of gas in the UGS to 25 billion. As if Mr. Minister does not remember that a year ago, both, the Russian and Ukrainian sides were happy with 18-19 billion at the beginning of the heating season.

How Putin Helps to Reform the Ukrainian Economy

On August 23, the speaker of the National Security Council of Ukraine Colonel A. Lysenko said that the Russians had taken away in empty trucks of the so-called Russian humanitarian convoy the equipment from Ukrainian plants in Donbass. Including the cartridge-manufacturing plant in Luhansk and the enterprise “Topaz” which had been manufacturing “Kolchugas”.

Certainly, it is an annoying case, once again confirming the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. I am sure that this fact, like all the others, is detailed in the report and will get a proper assessment. It will also be included in Ukraine's list of claims for reimbursement of expenses caused by the Russian aggression.

At the same time, it should be noted that long ago companies in Ukraine should have been re-purposed. First of all, it concerns the eastern part of the state where the major industrial enterprises were set up for the needs of the USSR, and (for different reasons) remained almost unchanged in independent Ukraine. And they cannot be classified in any way as enterprises with promising technologies.

Our country needs future technologies for its further development. The Kremlin, unfortunately, will continue to be happy with what it will manage to take away de facto from other states — embodied in metal, that is, a priori, not new, yesterday's technologies.

Here Russists somehow lost sight of the experience of the Second World War, when the advanced states after the victory were taking away from Germany people, not equipment. While the Soviet Union, like the current Russian Federation, was taking away equipment with concrete foundations. That is why, in particular, those countries were developing, while the Union soon fell apart.

... The main treasure of our country — the people — have remained. And now from us and the whole democratic world will depend, what we will be able to offer to these carriers of know-how in the form of new, needed by independent Ukraine, enterprises. Of course, this should have been done long ago. But now it so happens that the enemy forces us to technologically upgrade our economy. And even pays for it. At least partially.

Thus, instead of “Topaz”, the cartridge-manufacturing plant, and many other companies, we must have new, high-tech plants of the future. And the products of these companies will be of high demand at highly liquid markets. Possibly, in NATO countries too. And if we now need, for example, cartridges or weapons, they can be got from other countries.

So, no need to be too sad because of the robbery by the Russians of Ukrainian plants. It is unpleasant, but — not a tragedy!

How the German RWE Lost the Right to the Reverse

RWE Lost the Right to the ReverseThe German Government's permission on the sale of a subsidiary of RWE to a Russian oligarch close to V. Putin confirms that in the future (in particular, from the heating season 2015-2016 on), the company cannot be considered not dependent on the Kremlin, and therefore cannot be a supplier of gas to Ukraine by the reverse circuit.

The already signed contracts should be immediately revised and the RWE should never again be considered as a potential supplier or even a partner. No need to quarrel, but it should be remembered that the Germans agree to compromise for the sake of their own interests.

All this once again proves that Berlin will side with the Russians in any dispute of the Russian Federation with Ukraine. To Germany, Ukraine is not, was not and never will be a priority. In particular, when is touched upon the question of relations with Russia or its representatives. For many reasons. But, first of all, when it comes to German pragmatism and German confidence in their geopolitical power. We, Ukrainians, unfortunately, in German eyes are “younger brother of Russians”. Although this is not objective, but it's more convenient to Berlin. And in particular, it should have been taken into consideration during the German female-leader's visit to the banks of the Dnieper.

Apparently not accidentally the information about the permission to sell a subsidiary of the RWE appeared on the day of Merkel's emergency visit to Kiev. Of course, it's too late to seriously change the agreements with Federal Chancellor of Germany. At the same time, it could have been assumed that the key Ukrainian interlocutors in the dialogue with A. Merkel would touch upon the subject. However, Ukrainians have to understand that for Germans the main priority is the German national interest, rather than the Ukrainian or any other. This is normal by European standards.

And this is how should think our leaders, where it comes to the Ukrainian national interest. And this is how should be perceived the German (read the EU) sanctions against Russia. This hardly noticeable fact of energy trade shows that in the current confrontation with the Russian Federation Ukrainians should mostly rely on themselves and not on someone else's help. No matter how obvious it is, in particular, from the point of view of international law.