Sunday, November 23, 2008

What’s up, Ukraine? (15-22 November 2008)

Eternal Memory. Ukraine commemorates the 75th anniversary of Holodomor.
On 22 November Ukraine marked the anniversary of the start of a Soviet-era artificially organised famine – Holodomor – that killed millions of people in Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan in 1932-33. The terrible cruel famine had a goal to force peasants to join collective farms. As a "breadbasket" of the Soviet Union, Ukraine suffered the most. Holodomor killed from 3 to 10 million of people. "This was not death through hunger – this was murder of people through hunger," the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko said in his speech. Among the guests at the event were President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers, President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili, speakers of foreign parliaments, representatives of international organizations, foreign state officials, and diplomats.

Parliamentary holidays. The Parliament of Ukraine (Verkhovna Rada) decided to make a break until the 2nd of December.
On 20 November Ukrainian MP’s were supposed to elect new Speaker, following the dismissal of Arseniy Yatseniuk. But that didn’t happen. Instead, the plenary was closed and a new one was scheduled on 2 December.

“Topping” for crisis. The price of Russian gas for Ukraine may be more than $400 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Ukraine received an answer from the Russian authorities for non-friendly statements and media interviews. The President of Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev said that if Ukraine does not repays the $ 2.4 billion debt, direct gas supplies to Ukraine will be cut off. The Head of Russian gas monopoly Gasprom Alexei Miller added also that the price for natural gas for Ukraine may rise from the current $179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters to over $400.
Naftogas Ukraine (“Oil and Gas of Ukraine”) company rejected the mentioned amount of debt, and said in a statement on Friday there is actually $1.267 billion of debt, but it is owed not to Gazprom, but to an intermediary company RosUkrEnergo. “Naftogaz Ukrainy points out that in 2008, the only supplier of natural gas imported to Ukraine is RosUkrEnergo Company,” press service of Naftogas Ukraine informs.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko previously declared that Ukraine had reached an agreement with Russian Federation to switch to market gas prices step by step during next three years. The Head of Naftogas Ukraine Oleg Dubyna predicted that the gas price for Ukraine will not grow more than to $250-300 for 1,000 cubic meters.
The President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko has immediately accused Tymoshenko in “irresponsible actions” that permitted the accumulation of the debt. “I want to warn that such practice leads to colonization of Ukraine,” he declared at the country’s Security Council meeting on 21 November. One should fight corruption in the gas sphere, and move to transparent contracts, not to transfer all the responsibility to Government”, answered Yulia Tymoshenko the same day, being with official visit in Sweden.

The ghost from Kiev. Viktor Yanukovych visited Moscow.
The Party of Regions has almost ruined a years of work of its PR officers to eliminate the party's strictly pro-Russian image on the West. On 20 November the Head of the Party Viktor Yanukovych visited Moscow to take part in the 10th Congress of the United Russia party and to meet the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

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