KGB Tightens Screws on Ukraine


In the 1930s Russia robbed Ukraine of its food supplies. The Kremlin deliberately created a food shortage. Ukrainian grain was collected and stored in grain elevators that were guarded by the Soviet army and secret police units (the NKVD, the predecessor of the KGB) while Ukrainians were starving in the immediate area. The result of the man-made famine of 1932-33 was the death of 7 million people. The famine was instigated by the Russians to break the spirit of the Ukrainians and force them into collectivisation and submission to Moscow. “Let us do it again,” Vladimir Putin, a former officer of the KGB, the Soviet Gestapo, and a worthy successor to Josef Stalin, said today.

The criminals who ruled Russia under the Soviet regime, and who bankrupted not only their own country but the whole of Eastern Europe, are still in charge in Moscow. Today, Russia’s state-run gas company Gazprom has cut gas supplies to Ukraine. The cut is the result of Russia’s unilateral decision to raise the gas price for Ukraine from 50$ to 230$ per 1,000 cubic metres of gas. Ukraine, still recovering from 70 years of Soviet occupation, is unable to pay this price and proposed a compromise of 110$, but Moscow wants to punish Ukraine because its politicians are not submissive enough to the Kremlin. Gazprom charges the Moscow-friendly dictatorship in Belarus (another country run by a former KGB agent) only 47$ per 1,000 cubic metres of gas. Armenia and Georgia are charged 110$, Romania 280$ and the EU on average 240$. According to the Kremlin, nations that want to be free have to pay the price of the free nations.

Last week Andrei Illarionov resigned as Mr Putin’s economic advisor. Mr Illarionov, who never collaborated with the former Communist regime, is an honest man. He accused the Kremlin of using gas as “a weapon.” Last week Ukraine, which depends heavily on Russian gas, tried to find a new gas supplier and approached Turkmenistan. Unfortunately, Turkmenistan is also run by former KGB criminals. Gazprom thwarted the Ukrainian plan by buying Turkmen gas stocks itself, at a price of... 65$ per 1,000 cubic metres.

Ukraine is dependent on Russia for 30% of its gas supplies. Western Europe, however, is dependent for the gas that it buys in Russia on pipelines running through Ukraine. Consequently Gazprom cannot simply cut all supplies to Ukraine. It has reduced the supplies to the pipeline by 15%, which is the percentage of the total volume that is used by Ukraine. If it wants to do so Kiev can tap into the Russian supplies to the West in order to secure its own gas supplies. The Russians have warned the Ukrainians that if they do so, they will be considered to be thieves. Western Europe is concerned, too.

Some EU countries rely heavily on Russian gas. Germany, for example, gets about 30% of its gas supplies from Russia, which makes it as dependent on Russian gas as Ukraine. If Kiev uses the gas for its own needs, to prevent Ukrainians freezing to death through Putin’s actions as they starved to death through the actions of his predecessor Stalin eight decades ago, it is Germany that will be left in the cold. On Wednesday EU gas industry experts will meet in Brussels to discuss the crisis.

It is easy to see what would have happened today if the gas pipeline that the Russians and Germans are planning to build on the Baltic seabed had already been completed. This pipeline, which is to be ready by 2010, will enable the Russians to deliver gas directly to Germany, bypassing all countries in between. It will allow Mr Putin to reassert Russian dominance over the whole of Eastern and Central Europe. It is time that the West sees Putin for what he really is: the new Stalin. If the Baltic pipeline gets built it will mean the end of freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe. Again the West, as it did earlier in Yalta, will have sold out the East to the Russian bear.

Today, January 1, 2006, Russia also takes over the chairmanship of the G8 group of industrial nations for the first time in history. This provides Mr Putin, the executioner of Ukraine, with an opportunity to emphasise Russia’s role in international affairs. Though the Russian economy is peanuts compared to those of the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Britain and Italy, it has been admitted into the club of developed democracies because Russia has enough oil and gas to keep Western Europe supplied for years to come. Some US Senators have argued that Russia should not have been allowed in as a member. What is happening today shows that they are right.


More on this topic:

2006: Russia Returns to Dictatorship, 28 December 2005

Prominent Estonians Call for Move Against German-Russian Gas Pact, 28 December 2005

Berlin-Moscow Gas Pact Easy to Thwart... if Balts Have Guts, 21 December 2005

Schröder Exchanges Berlin for Kremlin, 14 December 2005

Looks as though Putin blinked

Chastised Russia all but abandons gas blockade

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Reuters) - Russia was forced to all but abandon a gas blockade against neighboring Ukraine on Monday after European trade partners said their own supplies had been hit and warned Moscow relations would suffer.

State-controlled Gazprom said it would restore full gas supplies to Europe by Tuesday, two days after the gas monopoly stopped supplies to Ukraine when Kiev refused to pay a fourfold price rise.

I would like Mr Belien to

I would like Mr Belien to comment on the impact the demographical collapse of Russia may have on the long-term plans of Putin and his KGB friends.

Demographical collapse of Russia feeding Putin's strength

I'm not an expert on the subject, but it would seem to me that this "demographical collapse" lends strength to Putin's hold on power.

Less than 20 years ago, the U.S.S.R. was one of two superpowers dictating world politics. Today, The Russian Federation must still be reckoned with, but is nowhere as influencial as it used to be. 3 of its former holdings are now members of the European Union as are 5 other territories that used to be part of the Warsaw Pact. 2 other territories are short-listed for membership with another 2 actively campaigning to be a member of this Western political Union. 10 of these countries are members of NATO.

Russians are a proud people with a proud history. Don't you think a good percentage of them (I won't get drawn into a discussion about real or made-up majorities) enjoy having a leader interested in making them matter again?

Lord, grant me the strength to change the things I can;

the serenity to deal with the things I cannot change;

and the wisdom to know the difference.

Important difference

The gas in question is from Russia. The grain was Ukraines.

And yes, if Ukraine taps gas destined for West-Europe, that would be plain thievery. They could increases taxes on gas transportation (and they could be just as blatantly unfair as Russia is) unless they signed international agreements not to.

Stopping the new pipeline will do little to promote freedom and prosperity in Ukraine. On the contrary, it will still keep the country at mercy from international players and it will continue the 'walloonisation' of its economy : below market energy prices will effectively serve as a subsidy and incentive to NOT reform their economy.

Instead Europe could do something very different : it could offer to buy the gas from Russia itself at market price and resell it at a discount to Ukraine. By agreeing from the start on a timetable for cutting that discount it would give Ukraines economy time to adapt, remove that bargaining chip from Russia permanently and entrench Ukraine inside the European economical community.

Russian Gas, Russian property, Russian price setting.

Thing is Russian gas; their gas & their right to price it anyway they like.
Its up to other gas-producers to fill in the marketgap if the Ukraine refuses to pay.
How have the relations been between Orange Ukraine and Russia? Has the Ukraine been pointing towards the EU & NATO whilst degrading Russia's status?
One always has to remember that they're not alone, they have neighbors and if you piss them off you pay the price. So question is: was this unprovoked?

My guess the stand-off will either force the Ukraine to diversify their sources further away from Russia or they're just having a pissing contest before a final agreement is reached.

Screws on Ukraine


A very selective outcry from a cold-war veteran ?
Is there any European energy supplier that would help out below normal market prices? Gazprom/Putin are not different from our own European commercial and political "crooks".

Ed Tindal

Re: Screws on Ukraine

Ed Tindal wrote:

> Is there any European energy supplier that would help out below
> normal market prices? Gazprom/Putin are not different from our
> own European commercial and political "crooks".

Ed, the problem here is that (as was pointed out in the article) Soviet Russia robbed and occupied a lot of countries for almost a century. Ukraine horribly suffered under Soviet rule. My country, Hungary, also suffered being a Soviet satellite state. We are still licking our wounds. The very minimum the Russians (since they dominated the USSR) should do is not to suffocate the ex Soviet or satellite states. Just a thought: Germany has special responsibility for the world's Jewry. And they are doing a fairly good job. Russia also has a special responsibility to those countries which it either devoured or kept in the Soviet prison. Instead helping these countries (and earning some positive feelings in the newer generations), they try to play the old power politics.

I hope that Ukrainians will strenghten their resolve to get on the American (and not EU) orbit. This is an omen for every single country which depends on Russian resources. And this is especially a big red warning for ex Soviet and satellite states. Diversify. Depend less on the Russian Bear. You cannot afford it. Don't even dream about atonement from the Russians for their crimes. Of course, I am not talking about the common people. They suffered as much as everybody else. It won't work. Russian politics, it looks like, is still wired to the Soviet tunes. Instead, realize who is your true friend. Hint. It has 50 states. Ensure that there are as many US bases in your country as possible. Consider it as your life insurance.


If there are debts to be settled

That should be done through an open (multilateral) arbitration, not through underhand energy deals.

For one, such a method would allow closure which is both important for the victim (so that it does not perpetually shed any responsability by referring to an earlier event) and for the perpetrator (who has the right to know that at a certain time its debts are settled)

It is politics, stupid

Am I "very selective" because I say that Gazprom is selective, charging Ukraine $230 and Belarus $47 for the same amount of gas?
Gazprom/Putin is fundamentally different from "our own European commercial crooks."
Putin is not a free-marketeer, he is a stalinist. Gazprom is a state company, controlled by former KGB people. Politics, and not economics, determine Gazprom's prices.
If Gazprom charged market prices, Belarus would have to pay $230 as well. If the situation were the reverse and Belarus were a democracy, while Ukraine was governed by the mafia (the former KGB people), Gazprom would be charging Ukraine $47 and Belarus $230. Do not deceive yourself. Russia is not a market economy and Putin has no intention of turning it into one.

Are we confident that he has

Are we confident that he has not a single intention of turning Russia into a market economy?
Reminds me of Rawls. What are we to do then?